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September 18, 2021

Every Reason You Need to Start a Corporate Wellness Program in Your Malaysian Company: The Complete List (20 reasons)

This is the most comprehensive list available of reasons why your company in Malaysia would benefit from a corporate wellness program, often referred to as an employee assistance program (EAP). 

As a business owner or human resource director, you may have debated this decision for some time but the evidence was never overwhelming enough to make you take the plunge. 

Or perhaps you know enough about these programs to know it would benefit your company but you need to present the evidence to your finance team for approval.

I have you covered! 

By having all of the statistics, latest research, and current best practices, you will have every reason you need to begin the process of implementing a corporate wellness program or EAP today.

Let’s get started!

Reason #1 : Mental Health Concerns are on the Rise in Malaysia

Mental health concerns in Malaysia are on the rise amidst the global pandemic according to the Malaysian Mental Health Association

Even prior to pandemic, mental health conditions often went undetected and Malaysians were likely to try to forge ahead without ever receiving proper treatment- a recipe for compounding stress. 

Add a global pandemic, movement control orders for much of the last eighteen months, and physical and social isolation and you will find rising percentages of individuals struggling with stress, depression, and anxiety, according to a 2020 survey by Wong et al. 

Reason #2 : Services to Address Mental Health are Underutilized 

Services for mental health and stress are greatly underutilized in Malaysia, according to a survey conducted in a study in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (IJERPH). 

Individuals may be unaware of the resources available to treat mental health conditions and stress and need to be educated on how to access these services. 

Perhaps, individuals are concerned about the cost of services. 

Or even still, some Malaysians may still assume that therapy is only for those with severe mental health disorders and not for the individual battling “common” conditions such as anxiety or stress.

Regardless of the reason, we know that Malaysians are not receiving the treatment they need to address psychological distress that is inevitably affecting their job performance. 

Reason #3 : Mental Health Concerns Affect Employee Engagement

According to the aforementioned study in the IJERPH, mental illness in employees was associated with being 6.7 times more likely to be psychologically distressed which the study characterizes as “physical and mental symptoms associated with a state of emotional suffering,” a condition that can have significant impact on employee performance in the workplace.

Another study looking specifically at work engagement among Malaysian employees found psychological distress was one of three factors associated with poorer work engagement. 

There is no doubt that an employee’s mental health affects how engaged and productive they are in the workplace, which means it should be a top priority of business owners and management.

Reason #4 : Stress Affects Employee Absenteeism

If employees are struggling with stress, particularly if this stress is brought on by their work, they may be more likely to need time off. As we mentioned before, psychological distress is associated with physical symptoms which may lead to additional sick days.

A BMC Public Health study found that mental health, specifically stress, was one of the greatest influences of absenteeism. 

When stress is well managed, however, employees are more likely to be present and engaged in their work. 

Reason #5 : Stress Leads to Greater Workplace Accidents 

Have you ever tried to do a task with something weighing heavily on your mind? This is usually when my keys end up in the freezer and I add salt to the orange juice...

It’s hard for individuals to perform optimally if something else is vying for their mental capacity. Stress from personal lives or the workplace leads to divided attention and reduced concentration. Not only will this impact productivity but it can also lead to a greater number of accidents in the workplace. 

By addressing the underlying concern - stress - with the services of in an EAP, we can mitigate the risk of workplace accidents. 

Reason #6 : Employee Mental Health Significantly Impacts Productivity

Not only does divided attention due to stress impact the likelihood of a workplace accident, it also lowers productivity. A lack of focus and concentration will negatively impact an employee’s ability to accomplish tasks effectively and efficiently. 

We have already established that stress leads to the need for additional time off. According to the Society for Human Resource Management, employee absence accounts for a 36 percent reduction in productivity. 

Stress from the workplace or stress that employees bring in from their personal lives will have the unintended consequence of reduced productivity whether it be from their absence or from a lack of efficiency while present. 

Reason #7 : Stress Leads to Increased Medical Cost

You are already spending money on medical expenses if you are providing health insurance benefits to your employees. The general way health insurance premiums are calculated is based on average medical care usage. 

If employees are struggling with stress and/or other mental health conditions that in turn are affecting physical health, it is likely that costs of medical insurance are going to continue to increase for your company. 

If you, as the employer, are providing these benefits, that cost will fall to you. The best thing you can do for both the individual and your business is to help address the underlying concerns. 

Reason #8 : Wellness and Prevention is Cheaper Than Medical Treatment

If you are already providing medical insurance, you may be concerned about the added expense of an employee assistance program. 

However, what if, by providing access to mental health services, stress management, and other counsel, you could actually prevent the need for employees to use medical benefits for more intense treatment later or the need to pay for an employee’s short-term disability?

Wouldn’t this be a good use of funds?

Reason #9 : An EAP Improves Employee Satisfaction 

What are the factors that affect employee satisfaction? 

According to a survey by the American Psychological Association, some of the top factors include:

  • Job enjoyment
  • The benefits 
  • Feeling connected to the organization
  • Coworkers 

Here is how an EAP can help boost each of these areas of satisfaction: 

  • Helps manage stress that gets in the way of enjoying a job to the fullest
  • Provides access to additional benefits, outside of traditional healthcare coverage, that can have a huge impact on employee’s quality of life
  • Let’s employees know that the organization cares about their flourishing as an individual and an employee
  • Helps mitigate workplace conflict for better relationships with coworkers and management

Reason #10 : An EAP Helps Retain Quality Employees

It is hard to recruit and retain top talent in the workplace. As a business owner or HR director, you know this well. 

So how can you ensure your top talent stays on the job?

Job satisfaction! 

We know that mismanaged stress or concern over personal matters does not lead to job satisfaction. Work becomes even more stressful when employees are concerned about how their stress is impacting their job performance. An EAP allows employees to get the support they need so that stress, personal issues, and workplace conflict is handled or treated appropriately. 

Now that will lead to greater job satisfaction and inevitably employee retention!

Reason #11 : The Return on Investment of an EAP Significantly Outweighs the Cost

We know that businesses are investments and you, as business leadership, want to make wise decisions about where to invest capital. 

Adding in an additional employee program may sound like just an additional expense, but here is a staggering statistic: 

According to the Employee Assistance Trade Association, an EAP should provide RM 3 for each RM 1 spent on the program.

Not only does this program eventually pay for itself, it actually increases your bottom line as employee productivity increases. 

Reason #12 : An EAP Establishes Appropriate Boundaries in the Workplace

We have already established that personal concerns can have a significant impact on professional performance which may lead to some awkward conversations between employees and management when review time rolls around. 

How do we prevent crossing the line into personal life conversations, unnecessarily? 

An employee assistance program, of course! 

An EAP allows for appropriate professional and personal boundaries between workers and supervisors by providing referral options when a personal concern is impacting employee productivity. The employee receives the assistance they need and the manager does not have to be involved beyond encouraging them and supporting them in their professional life. 

Reason #13 : An EAP Improves Your Overall Workplace Environment 

No one wants to work in a stressful environment where employees are barely making it through the day without a breakdown. 

Imagine a workplace where employees enjoy coming to work, are engaged in their tasks, and feel supported by their management… wouldn’t you want to work there?

An employee assistance program (EAP) helps to mitigate the barriers to this type of workplace climate. By providing access to resources that help employees cope with personal and workplace concerns, employees are able to contribute to the growth and productivity of the business and at the same time feel supported by their employer. 

Reason #14 : Small Issues Can Be Addressed By An EAP Before Becoming Major Issues

As is the case with most things, early intervention is always best! Whether it is treating a medical condition before it becomes worse or correcting an issue on the production line in a factory before it stalls productivity, it is always better if you can intervene before the problem is a major issue. 

That is exactly the purpose of an EAP!

By treating stress or another underlying mental health struggle, addressing workplace conflict, or simply connecting an employee to the counsel they need for a personal legal concern, you can potentially stave off a significant reduction in your business’ productivity. 

Reason #15 : Confidentiality is Ensured with an EAP

When an employee has a personal concern, they may be very hesitant to take their concern to the HR department or to their manager. Their desire for privacy and job security may lead them to not seek any sort of help. 

That’s where an EAP comes into play! 

Employees will have the ability to receive the services and/or treatment they need by a qualified professional knowing that all services are provided with 100% confidentiality. 

When individuals feel secure in a counseling setting, we know that they are far more likely to participate which helps them overcome the struggle and helps them perform optimally at their job.

Reason #16 : An EAP Reduces Workplace Conflict

A significant driver of stress in the workplace is conflict between employees and conflict between employees and supervisors. 

What if there was a way to guide employees and/or management on strategies for how to resolve workplace conflict? 

There is - an employee assistance program! 

A trained professional can be the outside expert in how to handle these situations and even how to prevent a recurrence of similar conflict. 

That is sure to lower stress for everyone involved!

Reason #17 : An EAP Provides Appropriate Referrals 

If you are a business owner or HR director, you may be made aware of a need among one of your employees. Naturally, you want to help connect them to the right professional to assist them. This is one situation in which an EAP can make a huge difference!

By offering mental health assessment and counseling services, an EAP can not only determine the nature of the employee’s struggle, but can also make an appropriate referral if the condition is outside of the scope of the EAP providers. 

For example, let’s say you have an employee who is struggling with high levels of stress. They enroll in counseling services via your company’s EAP where it is determined that the cause of their stress is a hidden, but very serious substance addiction that will likely require intense therapy and/or an inpatient treatment program to overcome. The EAP provider can facilitate the appropriate referral to a residential facility, such as that of Solace Asia, to start this employee on the path to recovery. 

Reason #18 : An Ideal EAP Model is Available Regardless of Your Company’s Size 

If you own or work for a small business, you may be thinking that this all sounds great but you surely cannot afford to hire a mental health counselor to your staff. The good news… you don’t have to! 

Contracting with an organization who can provide necessary services to your employees is the ideal way to start your company’s EAP today! There are several of these companies located in Malaysia including the following: 

The Mind 

My Psychology 

Bosh

Workplace Options

Naluri

Solace Wellness

Reason #19 : You Can Tailor the Employee Assistance Program to Your Company

There are a variety of services that can be offered via a corporate wellness program or EAP including the following: 

  1. Mental Health Awareness Training
  2. Mental Health Counseling
  3. Counseling for marriage, family, and/or financial struggles
  4. Treatment for substance abuse
  5. Workplace Conflict Resolution
  6. Childcare and Eldercare Navigation
  7. Wellness Programs
  8. Legal Guidance
  9. Emergency Hotline

Your company may only need a few of these services and that’s okay. When contracting with a company, you can typically pick and choose the services your company will need. 

Among the many great services that Solace Wellness can provide for your company, here are a few that make us stand out from the rest:

  • Employees have access to a 24-7 hotline and can begin counseling services within 24 hours. 
  • Solace has affiliations with psychiatrists and can administer mental health assessments.
  • Solace counselors accept referrals for clients for long term counseling sessions. 
  • Solace counselors are multilingual and can provide services in all major languages in Malaysia. 
  • Solace’s referral network of service providers spans across the country and is not limited to just the Klang valley.

Reason #20 : An EAP Provides Access to Training and Management Assistance 

Lest you think that your employees are the only ones who will benefit from the actual services provided by an EAP or corporate wellness program, think again! 

Many contracting companies, including Solace, provide training and consultations for leadership to help you manage your company with excellence. 

Conclusion

Pretty convincing, huh? 

The research and statistics don’t lie. 

Mental health concerns are on the rise and are affecting Malaysian workers in all industries, including your employees. In an effort to care for your employees well, improve workplace productivity, and ultimately have a bottom line impact, your action step is to start an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) today. 

Which of these 20 reasons made you take that first step today?