Charity sets up EAP for its support staff

The Royal British Legion introduced a counselling service (EAP) in the run up to Christmas to ensure that its support staff had support services themselves. It also hoped the service would help bring down staff turnover throughout the organisation.

Sharron Lewis James, head of human resources, said: "As a charity we are a welfare organisation so we’re so busy caring for everyone else and sometimes we forget the pressure that staff are under."

Employees, the majority of which work in care homes looking after the elderly, will have access to a 24-hour hotline staffed by professional counsellors. Timing for the launch was key. "Everybody recognises Christmas can be one of the worst times of the year for people; be it financial or emotional. So we launched it two weeks before Christmas."

She added that that the business case for launching the EAP needed to be justified. "I come from the City and when I introduced an EAP there I had to prove what the impact would be on the bottom line. I can’t do that [now] but I will be monitoring the [staff] turnover rate."

Lewis James will use the system to measure trends and problems, such as harassment, bullying and stress.