What a year… costly hurricanes, devasting tornados, civil unrest, war… sounds rather depressing. As the wise Mr. Rodgers would say, “look for the helpers” and what I have to report is that this year many companies were the helpers for their employees, thanks to their Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs). 

Global Impact works with corporations to develop custom EAPS that support the company’s employees when they are impacted by a crisis, national disaster or personal hardship. Global Impact ensures smooth program administration so that companies can focus on helping their employees get back on their feet. 

From our work in this field, here are three times we’ve observed our clients using their EAPs in 2022, supporting their employees when they needed it most. 

1. Hurricane Ian
Hurricane Ian hit Florida’s southwest coast devasting densely populated areas including Ft. Myers, Naples and barrier islands such as Sanibel, Captiva and Marco Island. Damages extended along the path of the hurricane up along the east coast. It is predicted to be recorded as one of Florida’s costliest storms in history – estimating upwards of $67 billion in insured losses.

Natural disaster assistance is the standard building block of most employee assistance programs, so when Hurricane Ian hit all of our clients were fully prepared to offer immediate assistance to their impacted employees.

We work side by side with our clients every step of the way – from establishing the program’s parameters all the way to distribution. Some clients elect to offer smaller, immediate grants ($250-$750) to any employee within the affected communities with any reported property damage or evacuation/relocation assistance. This supports employees immediately so they can purchase tarps, bottled water, new clothing and food, for example. In the aftermath of Hurricane Ian, this was very much needed as the community was without electricity and safe drinking water. Some employees received assistance as soon as a week after the hurricane made landfall. Some clients will also offer larger grants ($2,000-$10,000) to support employees who needed home repairs due to the disaster. These are often extended forms of relief and require more documentation such as receipts, photos, etc., which usually aren’t available immediately following the event.

2. Death of a Family Member
There are many scenarios where our clients offer assistance for personal hardships, and death of a family member was one of the most requested in 2022. Standard funeral expenses range between $6,000-$10,000 and total expenses to the family can be upwards of $20,000. Within the current global economy and the forecasted rise of inflation, these unexpected expenses pose larger burdens on families. Employee assistance grants alongside other benefits including bereavement time create a supportive workplace environment and offer great personal relief to a grieving family.  

The monetary grant and definition of a family member are custom to each client and their program design. It is standard in our global programs to use what is called a “purchasing power parity” to adjust the grant amount to the purchasing power within the employee’s residing country.

3. Ukraine Crisis
Since COVID-19, we began building programs with a “crisis” category to accommodate unprecedented events and, unfortunately, our crisis category was utilized far too soon. In February, Russia invaded Ukraine displacing 6.6 million people inside the country. Over 6.3 million people from Ukraine have crossed into neighboring countries including Poland, Hungary, Moldova and others. This led to impacts across many of our global clients – some with operations inside Ukraine and others within the bordering countries.

As we were determining the right course of action with our clients, we took a look at a variety of factors. First, we looked at the program framework to determine what kind of assistance will fit or what types of adjustments needed to be made to accommodate this event and any future event that may fit the same parameters. In this particular instance, there were a few unique considerations: 1. All employees within the region were impacted. For some clients, we offered all employees within the region the same crisis grant, no application required. 2. We had to navigate complex banking issues. For some clients, we had to switch their payment method to get funding to employees. 3. We had to discuss the refugee crisis more broadly to ensure that our clients would be prepared to offer the same support for other active and future refugee crises.

Are you prepared to support your employees in 2023?
Right now is a crucial time to show your employees that you care about them holistically and want to help them thrive. Global Impact offers a range of services to support employee assistance programs. Whether you have an existing program that needs review, or you are just starting one, we can help you design a program that will meet the unexpected and offer support to your employees when they need it most. Through our program design work, we take into consideration the size and funding of program, your unique workforce, and the kinds of reporting and impact you wish to achieve. We leverage an application technology that meets the highest of security requirements and is fully customizable to create a branded and personalized experience for each client. With over 65 years of experience in distributing funds and getting them where they need to go, we seamlessly process assistance funding all with the benefit of being non-taxable income to the employee and tax-deductible contributions to the program.

Get in touch with us and get ahead of the next time your employees need support.