How does EAP Increase Employee Productivity?

How does EAP Increase Employee Productivity?


In recent times, companies are actively investing in their employee s well-being and health (Ton, 2014). About 90% of the companies in the United States use corporate wellness programs which include basics of health monitoring, exercises, and training workshops to enhance well-being (Wieczner, 2013). Wondering why there is such an increase in their prevalence? It is due to the growing rates of physical and mental health issues. Subsequently, a decrease in the rates of employee’s health and well-being reflects in the increase of insurances whose costs are is borne by the employers.

A metanalytic study reported that every $1 spent on wellness programs saves $3.27 in costs for health care as well as $2.73 in costs for absenteeism (Baicker et al. 2010). Even though these gains are significant, they overlook an important category of functional advantages from spending in employee health and wellbeing- employee productivity. Management scholars further argue that healthier employees are not just less absent and less expensive, but also they are more productive (Odegaard & Roos 2014).

There is no doubt that employees who are engaged at their job perform comparatively better than those who are not. It is difficult to engage at work when going through physical or mental ill-health. Even something mild such as a cold can be disturbing productivity and significantly reduces employee’s energy and focus levels. More chronic or long-term conditions such as stress are much worse in influencing employee productivity.

There are two ways in which employee productivity is affected by employee wellness programs:

capability and job motivation. The increase in productivity among employees is observable from two evident characteristics of already existing health problems and improvement of health conditions during the wellness program.

Following the above mechanism, there are four employee types that can be categorized who are likely to have productivity gains. Employees can be divided into two groups-

Pre-program employee health

  1. Healthy and
  2. Having health issues

Employee health improvement through the wellness program

  1. No improvement and
  2. Improvement

This gives us four employee types who may increase productivity due to motivation gain from job satisfaction. It is notable that even healthy employees have room for health improvement (Gubler et al., 2018).

The first way employee wellness programs may improve motivation and subsequently, productivity is by showing the employer’s interest in their employee’s wellbeing and health, this also spans social, physical, and psychological aspects (Grant et al. 2007). Investing in corporate programs in order to improve employee wellbeing improves employee’s attitudes towards the organization, as it tells the workers about the organization’s concern for their quality of life at work and outside work.

Organizations offer wellness programs to all employees without learning that who might benefit. Sometimes, even employees cannot predict if they will benefit from the wellness. Thus, all the employee participants notice the increased support from the organization and feel motivation gains by job satisfaction.

While some employees improve their productivity, other employees who discover their ill-health are more likely to increase their motivation compared to their healthy colleagues. The main aim, among others, of the wellness program, is to assist employees to recognize and pay attention to their problems.

These employees, whether they improved significantly from the wellness program, may have a grown feeling of gratitude for their employer for providing them with this service. As this service being helpful and valuable for the employees, they might be inclined to reciprocate to their employer (Bartlett & DeSteno, 2006). When employees receive such a benefit, they may strive to reciprocate to the organization back. A natural way to do this could be by increasing their productivity.

Another way employees can increase their productivity through wellness programs is by improving their wellbeing and successively strengthening their capabilities. If an employee was unaware of an existing health concern, the wellness program can help them identify it and further improve it. If an employee was already acknowledged about their health issue, the wellness program can help them focus on their condition and nudge them to improve it through action. The wellness program can benefit all employees in making positive changes in their lifestyle via many behavioural methods.

The program first creates solid improvement plans aiming to enhance health behaviors. Secondly, the program gives efficient reminders that build healthier lifestyle practices (Calzolari & Nardotto, 2017). The type of employees who may have the highest productivity gain is those who improve their health problems due to significantly improved capabilities.

It is highly encouraged to build a healthy workplace culture where all the employees have a heightened sense of wellbeing. This will make them more engaged at work as well as prosper in various aspects even outside the organization.

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Attridge, M. (2019). A global perspective on promoting workplace mental health and the role of employee assistance programs. American Journal of Health Promotion, 33(4), 622-629.

Bartlett MY, & DeSteno D (2006). Gratitude and prosocial behavior helping when it costs you. Psychological Science, 17(4): 319-325.

Calzolari G, & Nardotto M (2017). Effective reminders. Management Science. Forthcoming.

Grant AM, & Christianson M, Price R (2007). Happiness, health, or relationships? Managerial practices and employee well-being trade-offs. Academy of Management Perspectives, 21(3): 51-63.

Gubler T, Larkin I, & Pierce L (2018). Doing well by making well. Management Science, 64(11), 4967-4987.

Odegaard F, & Roos P (2014). Measuring the Contribution of Workers Health and Psychosocial Work Environment on Production Efficiency. Production and Operations Management 23(12): 2191-22.

Baicker K, Cutler D, & Song Z (2010). Workplace wellness programs can generate savings. Health Affairs, 29(2): 304-311.

Ton Z. (2014). The good jobs strategy: How the smartest companies invest in employees to lower costs and boost profits. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Wieczner J (2013) Your company wants to make you healthy. Wall Street Journal (April 8),



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