The EFAP evolution

Employee and family assistance programs are adapting to better meet employee needs
By Barb Veder
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 08/08/2016

The workplace is changing, shaped by various trends that include shifting demographics, the increasing use of technology and a global sharing economy that reaches across borders for resources. The impact on employees is both positive and negative: They may enjoy greater flexibility in working arrangements and better tools to enhance capabilities, but also experience higher stress. 

Employee and family assistance programs (EFAPs) are evolving as a result of these workplace changes, as well as a new perspective on their purpose. Employers have become more aware of the cost of both absenteeism and presenteeism and have begun to view EFAPs as a preventative measure that can help lessen their impact. Every dollar invested in an EFAP provides more than eight times the return on investment (ROI) in terms of both improved productivity at work and reduced rates of employee absence, according to the 2014 Morneau Shepell study Return on Investment for Employee and Family Assistance Programs.

Identifying appropriate support services
An effective EFAP — one that provides the greatest benefit to employees and maximum ROI — is tailored to a particular organization and evolves over time. While certain core elements of the EFAP may be standard, such as professional counselling and family support, other services can be much broader. Organizations can work collaboratively with their EFAP to ascertain the specific needs of their workforce.