Announcing The Launch of Realyze™ – A Targeted, Proactive Solution To Employee Behavioral Health Conditions

For immediate release April 25, 2019

Marietta, GA: Espyr today is launching REALYZE, an innovative behavioral health solution that packs a one-two punch for employers. First, REALYZE identifies employees who have or are on the verge of having conditions like depression, stress, anxiety, PTSD or substance abuse. Then, it provides a proactive outreach ensuring at-risk employees are engaged with the appropriate behavioral health solution.

One in five adults will suffer some form of mental illness in a given year. For employees in high-stress jobs, that number can go much higher. For various reasons: the stigma of mental illness, denial or simply not knowing where to turn, the majority of those affected will not seek help. That’s bad news for productivity, absenteeism and employee turnover if you’re an employer.

“Employers are becoming increasingly aware of the impact of employee behavioral health problems, especially those employers in high stress occupations,“ according to Espyr CEO, Rick Taweel. “Employers need a simple, effortless solution that will proactively engage troubled employees and align them with the most efficient and effective services. With REALYZE, in many cases those services may be the employer’s existing wellness programs. REALYZE will actually make their wellness programs more effective and improve their return on investment.”

REALYZE starts with a clinically validated online behavioral health risk assessment. Employees with moderate-to-high-risk assessment scores are contacted by a licensed behavioral health professional, a REALYZE Guide, who reviews the assessment result with the employee and may provide further assessment. The Guide then connects the employee to the appropriate behavioral health service, which could be the employer’s existing wellness programs, other behavioral health solutions provided by Espyr, community behavioral health programs or the employer’s health plan if long term counseling is needed. The Guide remains involved throughout the process, ensuring employees stay engaged, conducting follow-ups and increasing the likelihood of successful outcomes.

About Espyr: Espyr is a leader in behavioral health. We provide a continuum of behavioral health care from acute and chronic health conditions to leadership development, all designed to help people and organizations reach their full potential. For more information go to espyr.com.

Contact: Jeffrey Joo

Jjoo@espyr.com

678.324.4177

 

Health and Wellness: Revealing Trends In Benefits

The numbers don’t lie. The inclusion of new, innovative health and wellness offerings and initiatives as part of a company’s benefits package is increasing dramatically. In a survey by WorldatWork, the leading nonprofit professional association in compensation and total rewards, 900 respondents across the country described some of the ways companies in 2017 are taking better care of their employees than they were in 2016. In this article, we’ll take you through the most impactful changes.

Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) – Up 20%

According to the WorldatWork survey, 80% of the respondents’ companies offered an EAP in 2016. In 2017, that number went up to 96%. This should not come as a surprise. A comprehensive EAP program, implemented correctly, can improve employee retention, reduce absenteeism and help produce a happier, more productive workforce. Increasingly, employers and employees are recognizing the value – even as a recruiting tool. On their 2018 list of ten perks that attract and retain employees, BenefitsPro.com places EAPs just behind Snacks and Coffee, Flexible Work Schedules and Working from Home.

Behavioral Health Plans – Up 17%

Offered by 78% of the surveyed companies in 2016 and 91% in 2017, behavioral health plans and services are quickly becoming the norm. While engagement in these plans has been an issue historically, it’s important to have the resources in place for those who might need them. The other good news? More companies are making efforts to demystify these programs and remove the associated stigma. By making behavioral health part of a company’s culture and involving senior leadership, more and more employees are taking advantage of these services.

Another trend that will help: an increase in coaching vs. counseling. While the best coaches receive training and education comparable to counselors, the idea of coaching is something that is inherently more approachable.

Wellness Incentives – Up 18%

By providing rewards other than wellness itself, incentive programs can be very effective, and have increased in use from 56% in 2016 to 66% in 2017. Incentives could be anything from blue ribbons to free or subsidized health club memberships, often landing somewhere in the middle – cash, gift cards, event tickets and health insurance discounts.Fitness class

When combined with simple, short-term prizes, wellness incentives provide employees with enough motivation to get the wellness ball rolling until they begin to feel the internal benefits of a healthy lifestyle.

Outcomes-Based Wellness Programs – Up 33%

All wellness programs are, of course, outcomes-based in that they hope to achieve better health outcomes for as many employees as possible. Outcomes-based wellness programs, however, are simply incentive-based programs designed to achieve a certain outcome, like not smoking or losing weight.

According to WellSteps, an employee wellness solutions company, an outcomes-based wellness program will increase program participation and effectiveness. A combination of data feedback and healthy activities can encourage desired health behaviors while giving employees many different ways to qualify. If you treat people with respect and don’t force them to participate, WellSteps points out, your employees will love your wellness program and employee morale will get a big boost.

Health Coaching – Up 14%

As mentioned earlier, counseling can still carry a stigma that keeps some people with behavioral health issues from seeking help. Also, people may need advice, direction or just someone to talk to, and don’t have the need for formal counseling. This is where health coaching can help. With more of a positive connotation than counseling, more employees will seek the help they need.

And it’s working. According to the International Coaching Federation, 86% of companies who implement a coaching program feel the ROI was valuable.

Financial Wellness Services – Up 10%

In their 2017 survey on corporate health and well-being, Fidelity Investments® and the National Business Group on Health® revealed 84% of companies now offer financial wellness services, such as access to debt management tools or student loan counseling, an increase from 76% in 2016. As more employers recognize the impact of financial wellness on employee health, a growing percentage of companies are expanding their well-being programs to include employee financial security.$100 bill puzzle

As programs, services and offerings continue to evolve, employers are embracing a broader definition of well-being, one that leads to increased participation and engagement among their workforce – and greater productivity. “Today’s programs take more of a ‘health meets wealth’ approach,” said Adam Stavisky, senior vice president, Fidelity Benefits Consulting. “They reflect a blend of financial, physical and social/emotional programs to provide maximum support for members.”

If you’d like to learn how your company can catch up to the trends in wellness – and improve the happiness and productivity of your workforce – call Espyr at 866-570-3479 or click here.

Health and Wellness: Is Your Company Keeping Up?

The numbers don’t lie. The inclusion of new, innovative health and wellness offerings and initiatives as part of a company’s benefits package is increasing dramatically. In a survey by WorldatWork, the leading nonprofit professional association in compensation and total rewards, 900 respondents across the country described some of the ways companies in 2017 are taking better care of their employees than they were in 2016. In this article, we’ll take you through the most impactful changes.

Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) – Up 20%

According to the WorldatWork survey, 80% of the respondents’ companies offered an EAP in 2016. In 2017, that number went up to 96%. This should not come as a surprise. A comprehensive EAP program, implemented correctly, can improve employee retention, reduce absenteeism and help produce a happier, more productive workforce. Increasingly, employers and employees are recognizing the value – even as a recruiting tool. On their 2018 list of ten perks that attract and retain employees, BenefitsPro.com places EAPs just behind Snacks and Coffee, Flexible Work Schedules and Working from Home.

Behavioral Health Plans – Up 17%

Offered by 78% of the surveyed companies in 2016 and 91% in 2017, behavioral health plans and services are quickly becoming the norm. While engagement in these plans has been an issue historically, it’s important to have the resources in place for those who might need them. The other good news? More companies are making efforts to demystify these programs and remove the associated stigma. By making behavioral health part of a company’s culture and involving senior leadership, more and more employees are taking advantage of these services.

Another trend that will help: an increase in coaching vs. counseling. While the best coaches receive training and education comparable to counselors, the idea of coaching is something that is inherently more approachable.

Wellness Incentives – Up 18%

By providing rewards other than wellness itself, incentive programs can be very effective, and have increased in use from 56% in 2016 to 66% in 2017. Incentives could be anything from blue ribbons to free or subsidized health club memberships, often landing somewhere in the middle – cash, gift cards, event tickets and health insurance discounts.

When combined with simple, short-term prizes, wellness incentives provide employees with enough motivation to get the wellness ball rolling until they begin to feel the internal benefits of a healthy lifestyle.

Outcomes-Based Wellness Programs – Up 33%

All wellness programs are, of course, outcomes-based in that they hope to achieve better health outcomes for as many employees as possible. Outcomes-based wellness programs, however, are simply incentive-based programs designed to achieve a certain outcome, like not smoking or losing weight.

According to WellSteps, an employee wellness solutions company, an outcomes-based wellness program will increase program participation and effectiveness. A combination of data feedback and healthy activities can encourage desired health behaviors while giving employees many different ways to qualify. If you treat people with respect and don’t force them to participate, WellSteps points out, your employees will love your wellness program and employee morale will get a big boost.

Health Coaching – Up 14%

As mentioned earlier, counseling can still carry a stigma that keeps some people with behavioral health issues from seeking help. Also, people may need advice, direction or just someone to talk to, and don’t have the need for formal counseling. This is where health coaching can help. With more of a positive connotation than counseling, more employees will seek the help they need.

And it’s working. According to the International Coaching Federation, 86% of companies who implement a coaching program feel the ROI was valuable.

Financial Wellness Services – Up 10%

In their 2017 survey on corporate health and well-being, Fidelity Investments® and the National Business Group on Health® revealed 84% of companies now offer financial wellness services, such as access to debt management tools or student loan counseling, an increase from 76% in 2016. As more employers recognize the impact of financial wellness on employee health, a growing percentage of companies are expanding their well-being programs to include employee financial security.

 

As programs, services and offerings continue to evolve, employers are embracing a broader definition of well-being, one that leads to increased participation and engagement among their workforce – and greater productivity. “Today’s programs take more of a ‘health meets wealth’ approach,” said Adam Stavisky, senior vice president, Fidelity Benefits Consulting. “They reflect a blend of financial, physical and social/emotional programs to provide maximum support for members.”

If you’d like to learn how your company can catch up to the trends in wellness – and improve the happiness and productivity of your workforce – call Espyr at 866-570-3479 or click here.

 

 

 

What Makes Healthy Companies Healthy?

Most of us spend more time at work than we do at home and research has proven that the modern workplace is not the healthiest place. Due to too much time sitting at a desk, eating poorly and the constant stress, today’s employees suffer from back pain, weight problems and a variety of stress-related disorders, among many other maladies.

Entrepreneur.com recently explored what makes a healthy company healthy for their article, “How the 100 Healthiest Companies in America Handle Wellness Differently Than You Do.” Tapping into an annual report of the “Healthiest 100 Workplaces in America” done by health analytics software company Springbuk, they noted some characteristics that healthy workplaces had in common.

Wellness needs to be a core value

Healthy companies emphasized wellness as a core value. Entrepreneur.com noted a difference between those companies creating a wellness program because it’s trendy versus prioritizing employee health. If wellness isn’t a core value, it will be pushed to the side and forgotten when times get tough.

“…healthy employees are more creative, passionate and productive….”

One company on Springbuk’s list, The Starr Group, a Milwaukee-based insurance and risk solutions company, incorporated health and wellness into its core values, mission and vision. “We have experienced first-hand that healthy employees are more creative, passionate and productive, which equates to better customer service and retention, as well as a more profitable company overall,” said Mary Starr, EVP .”

Health is about more than the physical body

Health of the mind and the body are tied together. A person can run marathons and eat healthy, yet derail his or her overall wellness by not taking care of the mind.

“…29% of those with a medical disorder had a comorbid mental health condition…”

Unfortunately, Springbuk’s report found that just 8.5% of the 8,000 companies analyzed focus on mental health. A wellness program can’t be completely successful without supporting employees’ mental health, as well as physical health.

Our experience at Espyr has shown that mental health is a greater concern than many may think. Mental and physical health often go hand-in-hand. According to the National Comorbidity Survey Replication (NCS-R), more than 68% of adults surveyed with a mental disorder had at least one medical disorder. And 29% of those with a medical disorder had a comorbid (the presence of two chronic diseases or conditions simultaneously) mental health condition.

Workplace stress is a real issue when it comes to mental health. In their 2017 Work Health Survey Report, Mental Health America reports:

  • 80% of employees stated that workplace stress affected their personal relationships
  • 35% of employees “always” miss 3 – 5 days of work a month because of workplace stress

Fortunately, research also shows that instituting the proper wellness initiatives focusing on both physical and mental health – from exercise facilities to naps to a comprehensive EAP (Employee Assistance Program) – leads to healthier employees and a healthier bottom line.

Entrepreneur.com went on to provide a couple of great ideas to get employees on board:

Take advantage of wearables

As part of a university study, Buffalo, N.Y.-based insurance firm Walsh Duffield started offering wearables to employees. The program allowed employees to gain a deeper understanding of their wellness level and helped land Walsh Duffield at No. 42 on Springbuk’s list.

“Pre-wearables, people weren’t able to see how simple movement translates into success,” said wellness coordinator Courtney K. Moskal. “People are now more motivated to take that extra lap around their neighborhood after work to reach their goal and understand what it might take to maintain or lose weight.”

While some startups can’t afford to buy top-of-the-line wearables, there are affordable alternatives. Almost every smartphone, for instance, has a built-in pedometer or allows you to download one for free.

Offer the right incentives

Not everyone is athletic or into fitness, but they can still participate in wellness programs. They just need a bit of incentive. The best corporate wellness programs offer a wide range of incentives to get employees moving.

To get employees to reach fitness goals – miles walked, steps or hours in the gym — some companies offer insurance premium reductions, some give cash and some offer gift cards.

Some companies, like San Francisco-based health coaching platform Optimity, let employees choose their own motivation to exercise. “We provide a full catalog of gift cards — Starbucks, Amazon, Sephora, Target, etc. — as well as customized rewards like trophies, company swag, paid days off and health-spending account contributions,” said CEO Jane Wang.

Entrepreneur.com found that wellness initiatives are paying off for those companies who approached wellness the right way. Of the companies that track financial ROI, more than one in 10 reported seeing $2 to $3 back on every dollar they invested in employee health.

If your company is developing a wellness program and you want to be sure that you have the right EAP component, call Espyr anytime at 866-570-3479 or click here and we’ll follow up with you.

The Benefit That Retains Talent and Cuts Cost?

You’re In For A Surprise. It’s always a challenge to attract and retain good employees. But in times of high employment – like today – the challenge is even greater. Of course, in any economy, you’re still limited in terms of benefits; when it comes to salaries, health insurance, 401(k) matching and the like, there’s only so much money in the bucket.

Fortunately, there’s one often-overlooked benefit that can provide a true retention and recruiting advantage over your competition – a comprehensive EAP (Employee Assistance Program). That’s right. A comprehensive EAP, implemented correctly, can yield surprising benefits, including decreased healthcare costs, reduced absenteeism and a happier, more productive workforce. Increasingly, employers and employees are recognizing the value; on their 2018 list of ten perks that attract and retain employees, BenefitsPro.com places EAPs just behind Snacks and Coffee, Flexible Work Schedules and Working from Home.

The Behavioral Health Drain

Everyone understands how physical illness in the workforce can lead to employee and employer hardships, financial and otherwise. In much the same way, behavioral health issues can be a huge drain on productivity, as well as overall healthcare costs. Of the 1,500-plus workers interviewed by the American Psychological Association (APA) for the 2016 Work and Well-Being Survey, one in three reported being chronically stressed on the job, and less than half of the respondents felt their company supported employee well-being.

Not All EAPs Are Alike

Any EAP can address behavioral issues, but a comprehensive plan can do more, and do it better. Some leading edge EAPs, for example, are using data analytics to proactively address behavioral health issues, which leads to increased employee engagement and reduced healthcare costs. Addressing the issues, though, is more than a trend; it’s a necessity. “Employers who understand the link between employee well-being and organizational performance,” says David Ballard, PsyD, MBA and head of the APA’s Center for Organizational Excellence, “are best positioned for success.”

But beware of the “free” EAP. While the goal of any EAP plan is to improve employee wellness by helping them deal with personal and work problems, not all plans are alike. Most of the free add-on plans offered by health insurance companies and brokers, in fact, contract with third-party providers with limited offerings and a reduced level of service. Employee care is not a priority; checking off the EAP box is. In addition, these plans are never truly free; employers are paying premiums as part of their overall package.

A comprehensive EAP plan offered by a specialty vendor is a very different animal. These providers are true partners in the behavioral health of your employees. They’ll help you with program marketing and employee awareness. They’ll help you address the stigma often associated with behavioral health issues. They’ll help you make the program work better. Plus, they have the experience and knowledge to help employees and their family members in a professional, clinically-appropriate manner.

The list of services offered by a comprehensive EAP is surprisingly extensive. And for employers watching their bottom line, these plans more than pay for themselves in increased employee productivity, improved retention, reduced absenteeism and reduced healthcare costs.

Features of a Comprehensive EAP

Just like there are comprehensive, best-in-class insurance plans, there are comprehensive, best-in-class EAPs. Make sure your EAP provider offers a full breadth of counseling, coaching, work/life balance and organizational support services, including:

  • Counseling and referral services by licensed counselors
  • Provider/employee matching and access to services in-person, telephonically, by video or via chat
  • Financial and legal consultations
  • Eldercare and childcare consultation, resources and referrals
  • Unlimited management consultation around formal referrals or other workplace issues
  • Identity theft recovery
  • Leadership coaching
  • Critical incident response services and reporting
  • Proactive awareness initiatives
  • Options like 24/7 HIPAA-compliant texting support, personal coaching, Video call doctor visits and more

Create Better Employees

Helping people live better, happier lives is only one of the benefits of providing a comprehensive EAP plan (although, admittedly, a big benefit). A decrease in problems and worries leads to an increase in productivity.

But there’s a bonus benefit to providing such a plan, whether employees find they need these services or not. When people feel valued, appreciated and cared for, they naturally become more empowered and motivated to do their best work. If you want a loyal and happy workforce, in other words, create a workplace that enables them to be their best.

Learn More

Want to be sure that you have the right EAP for your company?  Click here or call Espyr at 866-570-3479.