Younger workers are generally very comfortable with technology and it is foreseen that technology will transform the EAP market and the way programmes are delivered in the next few years. The future will certainly see interventions being undertaken via online technology, with access to programme resources becoming increasingly accessible online.
At the same time the open-minded perception toward mental health held by younger employees unlocks the opportunity to reach young employees with EAP services—particularly with regard to mental health. Younger employees seem to worry less than older employees about the stigma when asking for help on mental health and substance use issues, and appear to approach EAPs the same way as the other resources they need to achieve success in their jobs or resolve relationship issues.
New generation promotional materials
EAPs are redesigning Web sites, posters, brochures, wallet cards, and other printed material to be more appealing to younger workers. They are using streamlined fonts, brighter colours, more modern design, and more contemporary messages. 1
Reaching the ‘Facebook Generation’
Contemporary strategies to ensure EAP information is reaching the ‘Facebook Generation’ should ideally include online and social media platforms.
Further online resources could include:
- online, interactive assessments of drug and alcohol use;
- online, interactive assessments of stress levels and depression;
- online, interactive scenarios that teach managers to assess troubling employee situations, including when to refer to EAP or contact human resources;
- email campaigns to regularly communicate and promote EAP services available
- webinars and podcasts to educate in line management and employees on various subjects;
- text messaging to facilitate communication among subscribed members.
Now more than ever, EAP providers can offer convenient service delivery options to get plan participants the help they need. Managers, meanwhile, also benefit from EAPs through access to expert advice to help develop employee policies, diffuse real-time problems and keep the workplace safe.
Access to online services and apps
Both Generation X and Millennial employees reject the idea of a contact phone number being the only point of access to services. Mobile devices running iOS and Android now account for a growing percentage of the way most people experience the Internet. What if the integration of technology with EAP services is geared toward making access to EAP information easier and streamlining customer service?
- Consider apps that will allow people to schedule appointments without having to call the EAP, increasing the chance that a younger person would utilize the EAP.
- Consider chatbots* that are developed to directly answer the frequently asked questions (FAQ) that employees have regarding EAP services, or even the questions that qualify their need to meet with an EAP professional and that may never be asked because they need to take the time to search through website content or phone someone for an answer.
- Consider introducing anonymous feedback surveys to assess how useful employees found the service.
*A chatbot (also known as a talkbot, chatterbot, Bot, chatterbox, Artificial Conversational Entity) is a computer program which conducts a conversation via auditory or textual methods. Such programs are often designed to convincingly simulate how a human would behave as a conversational partner, thereby passing the Turing test. Chatterbots are typically used in dialog systems for various practical purposes including customer service or information acquisition. 2
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