Canadian HR Reporter

March 2020 CAN

Canadian HR Reporter is the national journal of human resource management. It features the latest workplace news, HR best practices, employment law commentary and tools and tips for employers to get the most out of their workforce.

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Page 24 of 47 25 more conscious and (hopefully) accepting of people with mental health issues in the workplace. While we are seeing a positive movement toward the inclusion of mental health options in employee services, the real debate is what companies are willing to pay for them. When you reflect on the high premiums for what are supposedly "must-have" benefits — in contrast to what mental health services cost — it is baffling that many organizations give EAPs so little consideration. Despite the progress in destigmatizing mental health, EAPs are often thought of as an add-on that is not as highly valued as more traditional benefits (such as medical, dental or vision plans). Finding the value in an EAP Employers might wonder if an EAP really does help employees and their families and how it can also impact the organization. In reality, an EAP can make a significant difference in people's mental health and, therefore, positively impact absenteeism and presenteeism rates, productivity and your bottom line. professional counsellor of employees' choosing, you may decide to offer less conventional services and practices that have additional proven benefits: mental health breaks, mindfulness, meditation, massage therapy, acupuncture and the like. A quality EAP will also consist of services designed specifically for the employer as they are often overlooked when an EAP is designed. Organizational services include key management consultations (access to senior mental health experts), monitored referral programs and wellness initiatives. These types of services are becoming a regular part of EAP plans that employees will appreciate. In turn, they will ultimately translate into increased productivity among the workplace by helping to address and manage any mental health issues that were previously hindering attendance and focus. In general, it is a very positive sign that employers are aligning to help break the stigma regarding mental health. As awareness grows and becomes more mainstream, it makes everyone Deloitte recently looked at a group of Canadian companies providing three years' worth of data around mental health initiatives and found a return of $1.62 for every dollar spent. For those employers with programs in place for more than three years, the median yearly ROI was $2.18. When comparing what EAP service providers offer, remember that the most value will likely come from those that extend help equally across the board. Regardless of the specific mental health issue or diagnosis, choosing services with a wide range of options may be the most beneficial to employees. Some individuals appreciate newer technology tools, while others will maintain that face-to-face counselling While technology may be effective as a supplemental option, ideally, it should not replace actual counselling services, which have a greater human connection. is the most effective for them. While technology may be effective as a supplemental option, ideally, it should not replace actual counselling services (which have a greater — and, arguably, more effective — human connection). It is encouraging to see the accessibility of mental health services increase through the rise of technology, but it is important to examine and distinguish between offerings to ensure a continually high level of quality services for employees and their families in the workplace. CHRR Charles Benayon is the founder and CEO of Aspiria in Markham, Ont. For more information, visit

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