An Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is a program that an organization implements to ease some of the personal problems faced by its employees. An employee assistance program is largely voluntary, in that it is not mandatory either for organizations to implement it, or for very employee to avail it.
History of EAP
In the US, employee assistance programs started in the decade or so following the Great Depression, when alcoholism was a common phenomenon among the workforce of various levels. What started as an effort to help such employees overcome their habit-related problems evolved into a full-fledged program that some organizations took seriously and implemented.
During the evolution of the employee assistance programs, organizations started realizing that apart from alcohol, there was a diverse range of problems that employees were prone to facing, which was coming the way of their efficient performance at work. This is what gave way to a formal employee assistance program. Some of the employee issues employee assistance programs come up against include marital discord, sickness in the family, a mentally challenged person in the family, substance abuse, drug addiction and so on.
Puts employees on the path to correction
What an employee assistance program does is that it offers professional guidance to such employees in the form of counselling. This helps them come to grips with the problem. Employee assistance programs are based on the understanding that once an underperforming employee’s emotional problems faced outside of work are taken care of; such employees can become better contributors to the organization, because the stumbling block to their performance is removed.