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Assist your team with those New Year’s resolutions

With the holiday season in the rearview, many of us are now reflecting on the changes that we want (or need) to make in 2017.

What’s on your New Year’s resolution List?

A Marist poll found that losing weight, exercising more and being a better person topped the list for 2015. Other resolutions included stopping smoking, spending less, saving more and using time better.

Not many surprises on that list, right? Given the stressful and hectic lives we all lead, it’s no wonder that lifestyle and wellness goals are ever-popular resolutions.  Still, most of us fail to stick to our New Year’s resolutions. Why? Because change is hard!

But what if there were a way managers and employers could increase their employees’ chances of success? Better yet, what if your business could offer this assistance at no cost to the employee and the employee’s household members? Well, that’s exactly what an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) does.

An EAP is not a health care plan. It’s a program that you offer to your employees and their household members. It helps connect them to a wide range of services that they can use to get answers to questions and help when facing life’s challenges, no matter how big or small.

Let’s take a look at how offering an EAP can make four common resolutions more achievable:

1. I want to be more responsible with my money.

Anthem’s EAP offers access to a certified credit counselor. Employees can get unlimited telephone consultations to go over anything from budgeting to retirement planning to taxes. It also provides 30 minutes of time to talk to an attorney about legal matters, such as wills and estate planning. If more time is needed, they can get discounts on future meetings.

2. I want to have more time in my day.

An EAP can’t turn back time or make the days any longer, but it can function as a personal assistant to help your employees more quickly resolve common life and parenting issues.  For example, EAP offers lots of easy tools that can help employees find daycare for children and elder care for parents. It also can help employees search by zip code to find nearby adoption agencies, day care centers, summer camps and more.

3. I want to have less stress.

Face-to-face counseling with local licensed mental health professionals (psychologists, social workers, etc.) is available as a part of EAP.  Importantly, your employees can first turn to their EAP for mental and emotional help without having to tap into their medical benefits. This is a benefit that is especially appreciated by those with high-deductible health plans.

4. I want to quit smoking.

Employees and their household members can sign up for online education and speak over the phone with a trained tobacco cessation coach.

All of these great, life-improving programs directly benefit the employee and their family members.  However, if you think an EAP is only for individuals, think again. EAP programs are also a great resource for the entire business, providing managers a place to turn when they need help with personnel issues, workplace policy consultation and general management questions.

Enhancements available to a basic EAP can help supercharge your human resources staff and policies.  For example, enhanced EAPs offer unlimited manager/supervisor consultations to help the management team with employee concerns; timely support for critical workplace incidents such as death, injury or traumatic events; and quarterly electronic newsletters with articles to support workplace wellness programming.

Organizations with an effective EAP report workplace morale and productivity benefits, including lower disability claims costs, decreased turnover and fewer absences.  Best of all, EAP programs are valued and appreciated by employees.  In fact, 90 percent of those who used Anthem’s EAP said they were satisfied with the program, and 92 percent said they would recommend the EAP to a colleague.

Key Takeaways:

If you already have an EAP program, be sure you’re effectively communicating its many benefits.  Often employees will mistakenly view their EAP solely as a crisis intervention service, rather than the well-rounded personal assistant it can be.

If you don’t yet have an EAP program, talk to your health insurer or insurance broker about adding one to your business.  The benefits can greatly outweigh the cost and will be there for everyone throughout the year – no matter how their New Year’s resolutions are holding up.

Note: The features and benefits described above are available in EAP plans offered by Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield. Other companies offer EAP programs and included benefits may vary. Businesses are advised to shop around to find an EAP solution that best fits their company.  A list of features to look for in an EAP can be found below.

What to look for in an EAP

    • Gives your employees and their household members access to many licensed mental health professionals
    • Offers services like legal/financial consultations and a website with lots of helpful information
    • Will help you respond to a traumatic workplace incident and conduct a critical incident debriefing
    • Has experience and expertise dealing with substance abuse issues. Make sure this includes options to understand the impact the abuse is having on the employee and the company
    • Gives employees access to work/life information, referrals to mental health professionals and crisis assistance 24/7, 365 days a year
    • Follows strict confidentiality rules to protect your employees’ privacy


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Nobile is a 20-year veteran of the insurance industry whose experience includes time with Rush Prudential Health Plans, Aetna, and United Healthcare. Prior to joining Anthem, Nobile served as the Director of Sales and Account Management for the Midwest region at UniCare, a health benefits company based in Chicago and owned by Anthem’s parent company and also ran UniCare’s Eastern Region with offices.

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