How to Make the Most of Your Employee Benefits

Don’t leave anything on the table.

Check out your Employee Assistance Program (EAP)

These programs go by many names, but many employers offer some kind of employee support program that entails a variety of services, devices, and tools to help employees in all aspects of life.

In the federal government, many employees can tap into the benefit platform WorkLife4You, but in academia or corporations these services may be branded according to the company. In fact, union employees might get the same directly from the union itself.

Grant says that EAP benefits are typically available for free, but they are often available through a third-party provider. That’s why it can be a bit hard to know what to ask for and where to find them. Some services are triggered by life events, while others are available on a rolling basis and whenever you need them.  Nevertheless, the support is really beneficial and usually free of charge. EAP programs often include:

  • Confidential mental health support by trained clinicians
  • Financial advice to help with taxes, investment planning, or retirement savings
  • Legal guidance from licensed attorneys 
  • Estate and will preparation guidance

So, how do you access these programs? “Most employers have a benefits-at-a-glance document that you can ask for before you even accept the position,” Grant says. “If they do not, ask for an overview of the benefits so you can make an informed decision on whether to accept the position.” If you’re already working at the company, review the employee handbook, benefits portal, or ask the HR department for more information.