Why Your Restaurant Needs an Employee Assistance Program

Employee Assistance Programs (EAP) are supplemental health insurance programs that change lives and save businesses. They come at no-cost to employers through EAP vendors who are part of comprehensive health insurance plans that include a wide variety of services for employees. Those can include family or financial problems. Others include drug or alcohol problems. In either case, EAPs help abate problems before they infect the workplace.

That’s just one reason why your restaurant needs to add an EAP to its benefits. And there are plenty more.

Aside from the cost-benefit analysis that many business owners will calculate, there are incalculable benefits to providing your employees with the assistance they need. First and foremost is boosting the morale of your staff. Employee morale is an integral part of building an effective and easily manageable team. It’s also a large part of avoiding a destructive work culture. A team with low morale is also an unproductive one. That is something every business owner needs to avoid.

Second, EAPs can save businesses money by allowing them to divert money they would otherwise spend on health insurance benefits. If you own a small business, you probably don’t have money to purchase a health care plan that covers depression or other psychological disorders. EAPs often cover depression, and offer employees a safe, secure way to deal with their problems. This allows managers to get back to running the business, rather than playing multiple roles of friend, confidant, and disciplinarian.

Third, EAPs provide consultation back to the business where the employee works. If you suspect there is an abusive culture brewing in your business, EAPs will help you find and eliminate the threat. EAPs also help establish relationships with treatment facilities and resources, and provide a network to maintain those relationships. This helps streamline the process for employees seeking assistance, and can help them return to work sooner.

Working in the restaurant industry can be tough on both the body and mind. The long hours, repetitive tasks, the brutalizing competitive atmosphere and the stress associated with such an environment can take a toll on one’s health rapidly if they are not dealt with in a healthy way.

There have been countless culinary careers derailed by stress and unhealthy ways of coping. For example, in 2015, Michelin stared chef Homaro Cantu took his own life in his Chicago home seemingly because he took on too many projects, as a New York Times article about his life and death asserts.

One of the biggest benefits to a business is a happy workforce. Without one, productivity and performance decline. Adding an EAP to your benefits package can help your business in ways few benefits can—by dealing with the source of your employee’s problems that may affect their performance.

If you’re interested in adding an EAP to your health insurance coverage, contact businesses such as SelfHelpWorks or Health Advocate.  The Society for Human Resource Management also has a list of EAP vendors to choose from.


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