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Apr 25, 2017 bjohnson

Is Your Employee Assistance Program Keeping Up With the Times?

staff supported by an employee assistance program

Most companies offer an employee assistance program (EAP) to help supplement a standard benefits package. In the US, around 97% of large companies have EAPs (vs. 80% of mid-sized and 75% of small organizations). Dating back to the 1940s, they were originally designed to provide resources to alleviate personal and workplace issues for public sector employees, specifically to improve job performance. The focus of EAPs has evolved and expanded from mental health support to a wider range of assistance services—as other issues affecting employee well-being and work productivity have been identified over the years.

Today’s standard employee assistance programs offer assistance for a variety of personal and workplace issues (e.g., mental health, financial, and legal support services).

Some offer more assistance services than others, as not all “off the shelf” EAP packages are created equal. Your company’s EAP should address current, common needs to maximize its value to your employees and business.

With more and more companies offering unique perks to attract, retain and keep employee productivity high, offering the right blend of benefits has become an art form—an important one. Offering comprehensive top-notch benefits and unique services is something employees absolutely want from employers. According to Metlife’s 2017 benefits trends, 59% of employees say that health and wellness benefits are important for increasing loyalty to their employer, and 40% of employees say that a wider selection of employer benefits would increase their loyalty.

4 out of 5 employees prefer new or additional benefits over a pay increase.
Glassdoor Employment Confidence Survey (2015)

Enhancing the Value of an Employee Assistance Program with Identity Protection

An often overlooked benefit to include in many employee assistance program packages is identity protection services. With identity theft continuing to rise (the number of identity fraud victims is at its second highest level in six years), it has become a widespread concern that negatively effects a large number of people worldwide. Recent research from the Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC) takes a deep dive into the complexities of not only the financial hardship, but the emotional and physical stress identity theft victims have reported. 22% of identity theft victims reported missing time from work and less than 9% say their employers were supportive. The bottom line is that identity theft, in its many forms, is a growing issue and its effects can negatively impact employee productivity and overall business performance.

A good case study to consider is the US’s Office of Personnel Management’s (OPM) 2015 agency data breach, which affected 22.1 million people and cost tax payers $133 million and counting. Although OPM offers an EAP to its employees, it did not have identity protection services put into place. Only after the data breach did they offer this benefit to its employees and consultants, but for many affected it was too little too late.

“There’s an interesting discussion I heard from OPM that they should offer [lifetime identity theft protection] as part of federal benefits, because of the kinds of data that they mandate that we provide to them when we sign up for service in federal government. I thought that was a great idea; I think they should look toward providing this as a benefit, just like health care that they provide for federal employees.”
Barron-DiCamillo, CTO, Strategic Cyber Ventures

Business Advantages of Offering Identity Protection to Employees

Because of a data breach’s widespread impact on both an organization’s performance and its employees, it may be in your business’s best interest to offer identity protection services–whether included in an employee assistance program bundle or separately. With EAPs’ focus on improving and sustaining employee productivity and job performance by providing valuable assistance, including identity protection services makes good business sense. For an average-sized company (10,000 employees), a single data breach can result in 39, 736 lost productivity hours, costing a company $1,819,932 annually. With a people-first approach, Generali Global Assistance Identity Protection Services offers not only preventative components such as technology and identity monitoring, but also award-winning theft resolution services that provide employees with the assistance and peace of mind they need. This comprehensive service allows employees to take less time off from work if they do fall victim to this crime, stay focused while on the job, and better relax outside of the office.

Adding value-added products and services to your employee benefits can have positive returns, increasing wellness and ultimately work performance that contributes to your company’s overall business goals. Request a demo to learn how your organization can easily integrate identity protection services into your EAP benefits package.

Published by bjohnson April 25, 2017