Oregon State University has long offered an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) through the Office of Human Resources, connecting employees with services including financial advice to counseling and how to recover from identity theft. These are all issues which may not directly relate to work but have an overall impact on the well-being of employees.

Starting July 1, Oregon State employees will have access to a new program called “Beyond Benefits,” which replaces the current EAP and dramatically broadens the offerings available. Bonny Ray, associate director for employee benefits with the Office of Human Resources, says the university wants to offer a proactive, expansive benefits program as part of OSU’s ‘Culture of Care.’

“Beyond Benefits seeks to provide impactful, holistic solutions at the right time for employees,” Ray said. Beyond Benefits services are divided into four main areas called FamilySource, LegalConnect, FinancialConnect and Short Term Counseling Support.  “Beyond Benefits provides support for employees in their day-to-day life needs, major life transitions, special celebrations as well as times of crisis,” Ray said. “That includes legal, financial, work-life and mental health support.”

OSU has contracted with a new EAP provider, Guidance Resources.

“We have the opportunity to brand the new EAP program and choose our own name for this comprehensive set of services now available to employees. We chose the name Beyond Benefits,” Ray said.

The new system offers 24-hour access to resources, the ability to connect via phone, email, chat or text, and multiple delivery options such as face-to-face, webinar presentations and on-demand interactive training. When dealing with an everyday life issue it doesn’t always occur to an employee to turn to their employer benefits for help, but that’s what Beyond Benefits is set up to address.

Currently, Ray said the most utilized offerings under EAP include counseling services, training, work-life resources and in the past few months, COVID-19 related support, including webinars and videos on the EAP YouTube channel. Beyond Benefits seeks to expand this utilization.

Ray emphasized that Beyond Benefits isn’t just for employees facing a crisis. The Beyond Benefits model of service has a concierge-like approach.  An employee can describe their unique need to a Beyond Benefits consultant and receive support either immediately or being matched to a provider by fit, specialty and availability.

“Are you planning a party or reunion and wondering about location options? Are you relocating and needing moving resources and travel assistance? Do you have a home improvement project you need to find local contractors for?” Ray said. Beyond Benefits can provide that assistance and much more, from summer camp ideas to pet care resources to legal advice and estate planning.

“If you do need counseling support, employees can access three face-to-face counseling sessions per individual, per issue, per year,” Ray said. There are video appointment options or employees can click to chat online or email with a master’s-level guidance consultant.  They also have a crisis portal offering immediate information, support and resources for emergencies.”  

Beyond Benefits also offers discounts through Working Advantage.  This will replace the current discount program OSU has through LifeMart.  Working Advantage offers discounts for movie theaters, theme parks, ski tickets, Broadway Theater, online shopping, hotel stays, car rentals, concerts, electronics, food and more. 

The services are completely free and confidential for OSU employees and their household members.  OSU employees will have access to a unique OSU 1-800 number to discuss their needs with a consultant that will work with them to find needed services. Beyond Benefits staff have translation capabilities for more than 150 languages. There is a mobile application as well. 

Beyond Benefits is an employee benefit that is available to academic faculty, professional faculty, classified staff, graduate assistants and postdoctoral fellows regardless of full or part time status. 

“Try it out,” Ray said. “There is so many things Beyond Benefits can do to help you with both happy and challenging life events.”

Employees interested in learning more about the Beyond Benefits can attend an information session hosted by Employee Benefits through Zoom at 11 a.m., July 9. To register go to: https://hr.oregonstate.edu/workshops-open-registration

For more information about current and upcoming EAP offerings: https://hr.oregonstate.edu/benefits/current-employees/health-wellness-work-life/employee-assistance-program