Such programmes offer a range of psychological services to help staff cope with emotional problems, family tensions, drug addiction and financial and legal difficulties. Global firms need to be mindful of different cultural attitudes towards such schemes.
For example, contrary to conventional wisdom, Asian workers are not likely to talk about their worries to their family and friends for fear that this would create disharmony. Managers and designers of these programmes need to be very sensitive to the varying coping styles, support mechanisms and rites and rituals in different countries.
In Japan, for instance, an EAP initiative was called 'personal consulting services' to avoid any reference to psychological counselling, and during the financial downturn in Argentina, employees were given help in managing their finances.
International and cultural variations in employee assistance programmes: implications for managerial health and effectiveness
Rabi S Bhagat, Pamela K Steverson and James C Segovis
Journal of Management Studies, Vol 44 No 2, March 2007