Connecting employees to support: Resource navigators provide access to social wellness programs

Employee assistance programs (EAPs) are assets that benefit both employers and employees. Recent data shows that EAPs create significant improvements in work presenteeism, work engagement, workplace distress, work absenteeism, and overall life satisfaction.*

Presenteeism and absenteeism can lead to lost production at work. According to one study, the average EAP user had 63 hours of lost productivity during the month before counseling. After counseling, productivity was restored by more than three full workdays per month.*

EAPs can be highly effective. While workplace benefits have always been part of EAPs, the approach to service delivery can vary. It is common for employees to receive a list of organizations that can provide the services they need. However, this approach requires the employee to do the research and the legwork.

Carelon Behavioral Health’s Social Drivers of Health (SDoH) program, operated in partnership with FindHelp, makes it easier than ever for employees to access services. The program utilizes resource navigators to facilitate the process on the employee’s behalf.


What is a resource navigator?


A resource navigator removes the barriers that employees often encounter when trying to access services on their own. These specialists provide full-service support to the employee.

“Resource navigators help employees do things like fill out applications or make appointments. They follow that individual until their concerns are completely resolved,” says Jennifer Bailey, Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) and Senior Account Executive for Carelon Behavioral Health’s SDoH program.

“Resource navigators are not licensed mental health clinicians, but they are experts in identifying when employees can benefit from ongoing clinical support. They connect employees to EAP programs for further assistance,” explains Bailey.


Promoting employer-sponsored programs


Resource navigators are instrumental in spreading the word about helpful resources that are sponsored by the employer. “For example, flu shot initiatives and COVID vaccines are promoted on the program’s platform,” Bailey clarifies.


Part of the workplace culture


The SDoH program is unique in its value proposition, going beyond what similar programs offer.

“We work with employees as advocates. We stay in touch with them by following up to see how they’re doing,” notes Tiffany King, Manager, Mental Health Operations for Carelon Behavioral Health. “Our resource navigators are embedded in the employer’s culture and are seen as the experts. They’re often from the same communities that they serve.”


Providing aid in difficult times


The SDoH program also helps employees navigate difficulties brought on by large-scale events, especially when employees may be too overwhelmed to handle the challenges themselves.

“Hurricane Ian was a devastating event. People lost their homes and didn’t have access to basic needs,” explains Bailey. “We partnered with the employer to deploy on-site resource coordinators and other staff to help. They were onsite within 24 to 48 hours after the event to help people with their needs.”




The SDoH program creates results. “We see a 15% reduction in missed workdays. Around 98% of referrals are initiated by a resource navigator. Additionally, 22% of referrals are made to an EAP and 28% are made to an employer-sponsored program,” cites King. She adds, “Improvements across all five wellness domains are significant. We are seeing a 9% improvement in emotional health, 4% in physical health, 7% in life support, 8% in financial health, and 9% in tools to manage life.”


What lies ahead


In the wake of the pandemic, there is a heightened need for social wellness support. The SDoH program will continue to help employees address social needs and to connect with resources.

“There’s a growing awareness for the need for this type of support. It’s really about making people aware that this program exists so we can continue to help employees,” concludes Bailey.

Please visit Carelon Behavioral Health’s SDoH page  for more information.

* LifeWorks website, Workplace Outcome Suite© (WOS) Annual Report 2020, Part 1 - Decade of Data on EAP Counseling Reveals Prominence of Presenteeism (accessed April 2023): .