Instant Insights / Mental Health Awareness Month

Employee mental health is becoming an important issue for employers, and one of the ways to help workers is through their employee benefits packages. Here we look at trends, build awareness, and share ideas for benefits managers and brokers.


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A number of years ago, BenefitsPRO (then known as Benefits Selling) published an article titled: “EAPs: the secret weapon.” The gist was captured in the lede: “Employee assistance programs are often overlooked by benefits brokers, but they can be a valuable sales tool that cements your relationship to your client. Of all the benefits available to independent brokers, the employee assistance program seems to be the most neglected.”

Back then, part of the problem when it came to to brokers and EAPs was the dearth of solid evidence on the efficacy of EAPs regarding key workplace outcomes such as productivity, engagement, etc. Today, we have ample evidence to support the correlation, but the problem now is the emphasis among purchasers on reaching more people at lower costs, which is problematic on several levels. It focuses on utilization versus outcomes, where the latter is a far more meaningful indicator of ROI, and it squeezes both EAPs and brokers who have the narrowest of margins to work with.

It’s no secret that “traditional” EAPs are under threat from large outfits that offer low cost, low touch solutions or technology solutions promising higher utilization, but at a significantly higher price to employers.  In order to bring EAPs in at the lowest price points, many of the leading providers have shunted their services to phone lines or online self-service websites where users are offered little support or guidance.


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