What is YuMatter – and how does it work?

Learn how our EAP (Employee Assistance Programme) provides high-quality benefits to employees and employers alike – with industry-leading levels of takeup.

Yugi the Giraffe - 16 May 2022

Most of the time, we talk about our work and our personal lives as distinct, separate entities. But in reality, the line between them can be blurred and sometimes messy.

Whether it's the stress of a looming court case, the pain of a breakup, or sleepless nights caring for an elderly relative, life can just get in the way of performing our jobs well – however qualified, trained and committed we are.

And right now, this is a big issue for all businesses, large and small.

In 2021, 55% of sick days were the result of poor wellbeing and mental health, according to the HSE. And this problem is only getting worse, thanks to a 25% increase in stress and anxiety as a result of Covid (WHO, March 2022).

That's why YuLife offers an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) called YuMatter –  delivered in partnership with Workplace Solutions and YourHalo – as one of its core benefits. This allows employees and their family members to access a range of services, which help address problems in their lives, and alleviate the effects they have on their work.

Employee Assistance Programmes are common in large, multinational companies, but increasingly they're helping small and medium-sized businesses too – and for good reasons.

An EAP makes your employees happier, more productive and easier to manage, at a surprisingly affordable cost. It's also likely, in an increasingly litigious society, to protect you from potential lawsuits.

Read on to find out how YuMatter works in practice, and what makes this service unique.

How YuMatter works

When a company signs up with YuLife, all employees and managers are given a telephone number and website log-in details to access YuMatter. They can also access YuMatter directly within the YuLife app.

All services are provided at no cost; can be accessed 24 hours, seven days a week; and are 100% confidential.

Benefits include structured clinical counselling, which may be complemented by computerised Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), for personal and mental health issues.

YuMatter can provide coaching on career development, and advise on issues affecting work-life balance. By covering so many potential pain points, YuMatter offers a truly comprehensive service to meet the needs of 21st century life. But that's only one part of it.

The real 'secret sauce' to YuMatter is the high levels of engagement employees and managers have with the service.

Low take-up rates

High levels of engagement with an EAP might sound like no big deal. Who wouldn't want to take up the offer of free benefits? But in practice, few people actually do so.

Throughout the industry, EAP take-up rates are generally low. And that's largely, it seems, because many people don't know these benefits exist in the first place.

A survey by Health Shield found that 55% of respondents were not fully aware of the employee benefits and wellbeing services they were entitled to as part of their employment. Similarly, Gartner's 2020 report found that 96% of organisations offered mental well-being programs, but only 42% of employees were aware of them.

Companies often assume that if employees are not taking up services, it's because they don't have any problems. In some cases, that may be true. But that's unlikely to explain the whole picture.

After all, according to MIND, one in four people will experience a mental health problem of some kind each year, and one in six people report experiencing a common mental health problem, such as anxiety and depression, in any given week.

Reasons for reluctance

It's likely, then, that there are other reasons employees aren't using EAP services. Other than not knowing about them at all, they may be suffering from simple procrastination. When you're under stress, and a problem is sucking away all your time and energy, the effort of figuring out what benefits you're entitled to, and how to access them, can seem overwhelming.

Thirdly, an employee may worry about sharing their concerns with a service provided by their employer. They may not wish their boss or colleagues to know they have a personal problem and fear that details of what's discussed will somehow get back to them.

When EAPs go underused, it's bad for employees, who miss out on benefits. It's bad for managers, who have to deal with absenteeism and staff churn due to problems that could otherwise have been fixed. And it's bad for companies, which are paying for a service they're not gaining anything from.

At YuLife, however, we've overcome these challenges to drive high levels of engagement with our YuMatter EAP. And we've done so, fundamentally, by rethinking life insurance from the ground up.

How YuLife drives engagement

Traditionally, life insurance has been a top-down affair that's mainly focused on end-of-life benefits. As a result, it's been undervalued, or even ignored, by many employees.

At YuLife, however, we've shifted that focus to providing health and wellbeing benefits in the here-and-now. That's mainly centered around the YuLife app, which not only provides easy access to YuMatter, but also encourages employees to pursue mental and physical health goals over time – through achievable tasks such as walking and mindfulness exercises.

The app uses game-like mechanics to make the whole experience fun and compelling. It helps employees build up daily wellness habits, and harnesses their competitive spirit, as they compare their progress against that of colleagues on the leaderboard. Employees can also get rewards in the form of YuCoin, which can be spent with big brands, or donated to charity or environmental projects.

In a nutshell, we've designed the YuLife app with the principles of behavioural science firmly in mind. And as a result, we've achieved industry-leading levels of engagement. In fact, YuLife has 11 times more daily engagement than other mental health and wellbeing apps.

That brings YuMatter – which appears in the YuLife app with the Wellness Hub – to front and centre of people's minds. So when they do need to use YuMatter's services, it's a natural and easy decision to make.

Doing so requires no research, investigation or planning. Employees just need to click on a link, within an app they're already using on a regular basis. And when they do so, they can rest assured that any information they share will be completely confidential.

The benefits of scale

YuMatter's services are provided in partnership with Workplace Options and YourHalo: global providers of integrated employee wellbeing solutions. The huge scale of the operation, and its use across the world, means that YuMatter becomes surprisingly affordable to companies that sign up to it.

It's certainly a tiny fraction of the cost it would be for employers to provide all these services itself, so even a small business with just a few employees can benefit from YuMatter. (In fact, they'll arguably see the biggest benefits as a proportion of cost).

The scale of the operation also means that the service YuMatter provides is of premium quality. For example, when an employee needs to access YuMatter via the phone, their call is free and answered in a few rings. In an era when 30-40 minute wait times have become the norm, that's quite the boon.

Callers get through directly to a specialist, rather than a call centre worker – so they don't have to jump through the kind of hoops you expect when calling banks, utility firms and the like. Again, that makes a big difference to the levels of engagement you'll see with YuMatter.

Time for change

All of this couldn't come at a better time. Employees are struggling, with 45% in a recent YuLife/YouGov survey saying they're more stressed at work than they were before the start of the pandemic. That's not just an issue for productivity, it's an issue for employee retention.

In 2022, more and more people are leaving their jobs in what's been dubbed the 'Great Resignation'. Yet in many cases, this loss of talent might have been easily avoided.

According to the YuLife/YouGov survey, 93% of people believe employers have an obligation to safeguard employees’ wellbeing – rising to 97% among women. YuMatter, as part of a YuLife plan, is an ideal way for employers can fulfill that obligation.

By offering a variety of services, meeting a broad range of needs, along with industry-leading levels of engagement via the YuLife app, YuMatter is the EAP that really does deliver.

Yugi the Giraffe

Yugi is our YuLife mascot. Like all giraffes they've got a big heart – in fact the biggest heart of all land animals.