Employee assistance programs (EAPs) have become somewhat of a workplace panacea. Organisations often turn to them to support staff where they could be considered as having a corporate social responsibility to their employees. However this can lead to an expectation on an EAP to provide whatever the client requests. This includes specialist outplacement services and career transition support following redundancies.
An EAP varies by provider. Generally they are designed to help employees cope with emotional, personal or professional problems. In an increasingly complicated and challenging world, this type of support offered by employers can help:
- Employees maintain their wellbeing.
- Organisations protect and maintain productivity and performance.
- Reduce the risk of workers’ compensation and unfair dismissal claims, turnover and formal complaints.
Support tends to comprise of short-term, one-on-one confidential counselling. The issues employees may be suffering from can range from minor issues such as low mood and worries to more complex issues such as anxiety disorders, depression and acute stress. These could be as a result of problems in the workplace or at home. The aim is to help employees deal with these issues and get back to leading happy and productive life at home and work.
Outplacement has become an add-on to EAP counselling
However, in recent years some EAP providers – often responding to client requests – have begun to include a range of services beyond their core provision of counselling. Some have begun to offer specialist outplacement to help employees’ career transition following redundancies.
It’s easy to understand why this service model is attractive to organisations who are downsizing. A ‘one stop support shop’ reduces the need for a range of suppliers and the corresponding contract negotiation and administration.
But should outplacement be within the realm of an EAP?
EAPs are primarily associated with mental health issues
Rightly or wrongly, EAPs tend to be viewed as an emotional support for managing mental health issues. This potentially limits people’s use of broader EAP services and shapes attitudes to their use.
Of course, redundancy – whether expected or sudden – can cause huge emotional uncertainty, stress and anxiety. It can also make existing mental health problems worse. Job loss can mean a significant loss of identity and may impact self-confidence.
Can a counselling service meet the practical needs of an individual looking for job search support make their return to as quick and easy as possible?
Outplacement offers emotional and practical job search support
An EAP provider specialises in providing emotional support, and can step in when someone needs help with dealing with grief of job loss.
However, an outplacement provider – as well as providing emotional support to help people cope with career change – can also assist the individual with the practical aspects of returning to the workforce after redundancy.
The best companies will have a range of expert career coaches to match individual participant needs. Each coach will have the expertise regarding employment trends and local job markets to work effectively with employees as they begin to make decisions about which career direction to take next.
Specialised outplacement coaching
The type of job search assistance an outplacement consultant can provide includes:
- Identifying career goals.
- Developing a job search strategy.
- Writing resumes, cover letters, LinkedIn profiles and selection criteria.
- Preparing for interviews.
- Networking to access the ‘hidden’ job market.
- Investigating training options.
- Planning for retirement.
By helping people to take control of their situation and make concrete progress towards their career goals, an outplacement provider can assist the separated employee to quickly rebuild their confidence and return to the workforce.
Outplacement is easy to access
Like an EAP, outplacement support is available to staff free of charge. The fees are met by the employer. This can potentially reduce the barriers to accessing support among individuals who might not otherwise have sought assistance from a career counselling service due to the cost.
Can an EAP meet employees’ career transition needs?
Is your business considering using an EAP provider as part of a redundancy strategy? Look a little deeper at their purpose and objectives and assess whether they are the best support option for staff during this time of personal and professional change. Do they really meet the career transition needs of your employees? Outplacement services may be the better choice.
Book a free outplacement consultation
Book a free, no obligation and confidential 30 minute outplacement consultation with one of our team. We can answer your questions about what is the best solution for your employees. Call 1300 191 131 or use our online booking system.