Feb 20, 2017 12:30 PM

Searching for a New EAP? Here Are 4 Questions to Ask Every Vendor.

You’ve decided your company’s current employee assistance program just isn’t cutting it. Maybe the EAP vendor let you down when you needed it most, during and after a traumatic workplace event. Maybe you’re not confident your EAP is giving your company the most value for its money.

Whatever triggered your EAP shopping, how can you be sure your next EAP will be truly worth the investment, not just empty promises under a different brand name?

To help EAP shoppers like you, we recently published an 11-point checklist of the key qualities to look for in your next EAP. (Follow that link for your free copy.) In this ebook, we help you compare EAP vendors in four important areas.

If your company is kicking off a search for a new vendor, before you issue that RFP, make sure it asks these four key questions:

  1. Can you provide examples of traumatic workplace incidents when you helped companies respond effectively?

An EAP can be so much more than a voice on the phone. Its true value becomes apparent when the worst occurs at your workplace — the death of an employee, a natural disaster, a robbery, a workplace violence incident, etc.

These are the times when your workforce is stressed and confused, and morale is low. Your managers and HR team members are under duress as well, often overwhelmed and desperately in need of compassionate, calm, and competent assistance.

A competent EAP will step forward with a timely, well-organized on-site response, sending a team of trained specialists to counsel your employees and advise your management team. And the response will last well after the initial incident. A good EAP will continue its work with your employees and managers until everyone is ready to return to a productive “new normal.”

  1. What does your standard reporting package include? Does your utilization reporting adhere to the EAPA standard?

You’re reluctant to spend money on an EAP your employees don’t use, but it can be exasperatingly difficult to get useful utilization numbers out of an EAP vendor. Some vendors inflate their metrics by including interactions like visits to their websites or mandatory group training sessions.

What really matters is meaningful one-on-one interactions between your employees and expert EAP counselors. The International Employee Assistance Professionals Association (EAPA) says, to be reportable, interactions should include “a comprehensive assessment” and “a plan of action.”

Just as important though are the results of those interactions. Make sure your EAP is reporting long-term outcomes, as well as accurate utilization metrics.

  1. Can you integrate your EAP services with our other benefit providers?

These days, you and your employees need all the help you can get controlling the ever-escalating cost of health care. Your benefit plans — health insurance, disability, prescription drug plans, and your EAP — must be able to work together to eliminate redundancies and steer your employees toward the most effective, affordable and efficient care.

As you search for an EAP, provide vendors with a list of your other benefit providers. Ask if they can integrate their services with those partners and, if so, how.

  1. Can you grow with us as we expand into new geographic regions and even go global?

You want to offer the same package of benefits to your organization’s employees wherever they’re located.

To serve the needs of a growing company, an EAP should have a flexible network of affiliates spread around the world. It should employ counselors with the linguistic and cultural knowledge to help your employees cope in whatever far-flung regions they find themselves, in the United States and around the globe.

Business is rarely just local anymore. Your EAP shouldn’t be either.

Get the Complete Checklist

These are just some of the highlights of our recent ebook for EAP shoppers, “Time to Change Your EAP Provider? Key Qualities to Look for in your Next EAP.” For a complete discussion of the questions to ask in each of these four areas, follow the link for your free copy.

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