October 22, 2021

The Necessary Components of an Effective EAP in Southeast Asia

Is your Malaysian company all in for a corporate wellness program, otherwise known as an employee assistance program? 

Perhaps, you, as the HR director or business owner, have everyone on board and they next step is implementation. 

Now what?!

There are many decisions to be made to craft the perfect corporate wellness program or employee assistance program (EAP) for your specific business. 

Allow me to make this part of the process as easy as possible for you and give you exactly what you need to feel empowered to know exactly what your company needs in a corporate wellness program in Malaysia.

Let’s break down the 10 necessary components of an effective EAP in Southeast Asia!

#1: A Model That Works for Your Company

It is important to consider which corporate wellness program is right for your business. 

While larger organizations may find an in-house model the most effective, smaller start-ups do not have the resources to dedicate to hiring new staff for these support positions. 

Here is the break-down of potential models!

What to Consider: Potential Models of Employee Assistance Program 

In-House Program

In this delivery model, the service providers are directly employed by your organization. Your organization would be responsible for recruiting qualified professionals to deliver the services you wish to provide. One consideration of an in-house program is assuring that employee confidentiality is maintained since participants would most likely receive services on-site. 

Fixed-Fee Contracts

In a fixed-fee contract, your organization outsources services to a contracting company who charges a fixed rate for services, typically calculated based on the number of employees, regardless of the amount of services rendered. 

Fee-For-Service Contracts

A contracting company provides services to your employees and costs for this delivery model are based on the amount of services provided.

Hybrid Model

A combination of two or three of these service delivery models may be right for your Malaysian company. Perhaps you see the advantage to having an in-house mental health counselor but outsourcing via a fee-for-service contract for legal counsel and substance abuse treatment.

Which model fits your business the best?

#2: High Quality Professionals

It matters who provides corporate wellness services! 

In the same way that you want to choose qualified healthcare professionals, you want to be sure that your employee assistance program provides services by qualified professionals so that everyone receives quality care. 

What to Consider: Reputation and Credentials of Professionals 

If you decide to hire in-house, you will want to carefully vet (as you would for any hire) potential candidates. Consider training, years of experience, and the use of evidenced based methods during the interview process. 

If you contract with an outside company, I can make this part easy for you!

To save you a google search, here are some of the top contract companies providing Employee Assistance Programs in Malaysia for you to check out as you research the right fit for your organization.

The Mind 

My Psychology 


Workplace Options


Solace Wellness 

#3: Direct and Immediate Accessibility for Employees

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) and much of this may have to do with the “stigma” of seeking out mental health services. 

Thus, one of the most important aspects of an employee assistance program is confidentiality. If employees think that use of an available service will come back to their supervisor or coworkers they will be much less likely to take advantage of the service and thus, more likely to continue in a personal or work related struggle that negatively impacts their personal and professional life.

Timeliness of services is also a key factor! If an employee needs access, for example, to a mental health assessment, but they turn around time for an appointment is a month…. This is unhelpful for them as an individual as well as your company’s productivity. 

What to Consider: How quickly can employees access needed services and will their confidentiality be maintained?

If your organization is choosing a contract company to partner with provision of an employee assistance program, be sure to inquire about how readily available professional services are for your employees. 

Ensure that the company practices complete anonymity even if they bill your organization per service provided. 

At Solace Wellness, employees have access to a 24-7 hotline and can begin counseling services within 24 hours. Confidentiality is most definitely ensured!

#4: Multilingual Services

Southeast Asia is about as multilingual as they come!

Just while walking down the streets of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, you will most certainly hear Malay, English, Tamil, and a variety of Chinese dialects. 

While English may be the predominant language of your business, it is unlikely to be the heart language of most of your employees. So when it comes to providing counseling services, language matters. 

What to Consider: Are services offered in a variety of languages?

Be sure to find out any potential EAP provider’s language capacity. 

Employees may be far less likely to seek needed services if they do not feel that they can communicate in the language that is most comfortable for them, particularly when discussing personal and emotional concerns. 

Solace counselors are multilingual and can provide services in all major languages in Malaysia. 

#5: Mental Health Awareness Training

Mental Health Training teaches about common mental health conditions and how to identify potential signs and symptoms of these disorders in yourself or others, and helps reduce the stigma around mental health. 

When the stigma surrounding mental health disorders is reduced, employees are more likely to seek the help they need when faced with anxiety, stress, depression, or another mental health condition. 

Proper treatment and support can go a long way to allowing employees to function as members of the team and contribute to overall company productivity.

What to Consider: Does a potential corporate wellness program provide mental health awareness training?

Be sure to include mental health awareness training in your employee assistance program or corporate wellness program!  

#6: Access to Mental Health Assessments 

Perhaps an employee is made aware of a mental health struggle of their own through the mental health awareness training described above… now what?

They would benefit from a mental health assessment for diagnosis and treatment recommendations. 

What to Consider: Will employees have access to mental health assessments?

Be sure that a potential EAP provider can offer mental health assessments from qualified professionals so that your employees receive the diagnosis and treatment they need!

Solace Wellness has affiliations with psychiatrists who can administer mental health assessments. 

#7: A Wide Network and Long Term 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!

Some employees may need a highly specialized counselor, a rehabilitation program to recover from an addiction, and/or on-going support over time. 

Will a potential EAP provider be capable of connecting them to necessary services?

What to Consider: How far reaching and long term are EAP referrals?

Be sure to ask about a potential EAP providers’ referral network. Even if their resources are not vast, the ability to refer to specialists is critical!

Solace’s referral network of service providers spans across the country of Malaysia and is not limited to just the Klang valley. 

Another key question is the availability of long term referrals, especially for counseling services. Solace counselors accept referrals for clients for long term counseling sessions. 

#8: Stress Management Services

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.

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. 

What to Consider: Does A Potential EAP Provider Offer Stress Management Services?

Whether offered in an organization-wide training or via an individual consultations, this is a critical component of a corporate wellness program to not only assist your employees individually, but also your business as a whole.

#9: Management Level Training

Lest you think that your employees are the only ones who will benefit from the actual services provided by an employee assistance program, think again! 

Leadership training for management can be an integral and highly advantageous part of a corporate wellness program or EAP!

What to Consider: Is Management Level Training offered?

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

Be sure to look for this key component as you pursue your options!

#10: Family Counseling Services

One of the greatest areas of need in your employee’s personal life is that of family counseling services. 

When an employee is struggling with stress from their marriage, personal finances, or conflict with family members, it can become very difficult to concentrate on their work, thereby reducing productivity and leading to the potential of mistakes and/or accidents in the workplace. 

What to Consider: Does Your EAP provide family counseling services?

While it is great if your contract company offers stress management and management level training, it is critical that family counseling is also available as needed.  

The qualified professionals at Solace Wellness offer robust family counseling services that are sure to provide your employees the support they need for stress away from the office, in order to maintain and even improve performance at the office.


As you shop around for a contract company or for qualified professionals to hire, be sure to keep in mind these 10 key components to an effective employee assistance program, specifically for a business in Southeast Asia!