Organizations Expand EAP Offerings to Help Employees Deal with Coronavirus Losses (i4cp login required)

Productivity

More than half
(57%) of the diversity and inclusion (D&I) leaders surveyed by the
Institute for Corporate Productivity (i4cp)
say that ramping up communications
to heighten awareness of Employee Assistance Program (EAP) offerings is a strategy
their companies have implemented to prepare for deaths due to COVID-19. 

Last week began
with worldwide losses due to the coronavirus pandemic totaling more than
116,000 people.  

And in a Monday
morning news conference, Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York announced that the
number of lives lost in his state due to COVID-19 had reached more than 10,000—about
5x the number of those who perished on September 11, 2001.  

Those are sobering
statistics.  

To ensure that
their workforces have support when family members, friends, co-workers or
others are lost, D&I leaders surveyed also reported:

  • 25%
    of organizations have moved to expand EAP assistance to offer longer-term
    bereavement counseling and follow-up for employees.
  • In
    some organizations (18%), formal procedures are already in place to reach out
    to employees who have suffered a loss.  

An
all-that-apply response option means total exceeds 100%
 

Notably, only 10%
of surveyed leaders reported that they hadn’t addressed the issue yet, although
they had held initial discussions to plan their efforts. Some other strategies
companies are leveraging to help their employees during times of loss and
bereavement caused by the pandemic: 

  • Using
    established communications policies to inform workers about losses within the
    organization
  • Establishing
    an online ERG or support group for employees who’ve lost loved ones,
    co-workers, or others
  • Training
    team leaders to provide bereavement counseling
  • Training
    team leaders to provide trauma counseling

Recent research by
i4cp into considerations related to diverse employee communities has confirmed
that many companies are tapping their ERGs to help with communications related
to COVID-19 and to strengthen engagement among their members during this
uncertain period.

The groups also
offer established resources organizations can leverage in times of loss. ERGs
can be especially powerful in this role because of variations (cultural,
geographic, etc.) in customs and views about death. Their interventions can
offer support from established and trusted colleagues at times when emotions
and feelings of vulnerability are heightened.

In companies
choosing to establish new ERGs or support groups for those suffering losses, it
is important to note that individuals who haven’t lost others have,
nonetheless, lost the security of life-as-usual, the ability to attend
religious or other supportive gatherings, and more. Flexibility should be
applied in thinking about loss and the kinds of groups needed to help employees
adjust to an abruptly altered world.

Other survey
questions explored organizations’ use of skills inventories as tools to help
redeploy talent in response to the pandemic and asked about support for parents
with young children in their care.

Download
the full survey results
 — due
to the current global health and productivity crisis affecting everyone, i4cp
is making all related ongoing research publicly available.

We also
encourage you to visit
i4cp.com/coronavirus for other employer resources including discussion forums, next
practices, useful resources, and more.

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