AccessEAP are a not for profit. We work with organisations to improve employee wellbeing and create a healthy workplace. An employee assistance program is a series of services that encompasses training, counselling services and onsite support for trauma or critical incidents.
I'm Sally Kirkright, I'm chief executive officer of AccessEAP. I'm very passionate about customer service and my philosophy is happy employees, happy customers.
We have approximately 30 full-time employees and we work with about 300 associate counsellors throughout Australia. We would probably take around 200 calls a day. Mainly, an employee will ring up for a counselling session. If it's urgent, they'll be put through on the phone to a duty counsellor and have an immediate phone conversation with them. If it's not urgent, they'll be offered a face-to-face appointment or a telephone counselling session generally within two days.
When I arrived here about two and a half years ago, it was quite evident that we spend a lot of time supporting our customers, but we weren't really supporting our people. What the guys do day in, day out is quite stressful. Taking phone calls of people emotionally distressed, that actually has quite an emotional impact on our employees.
We have very sedentary jobs. People are sitting on the phone all the time, so not being active at all and eating lots of comfort food. So there's a bit of a spiral effect between physical health and mental health. There wasn't very good communication. There was no team meetings. There was no leadership team structure. People were taking that stress home with them.
What we did was, first thing is have an open door policy so that anyone can go and talk to anyone, at any point in time. Lots of team meetings where we shared our experiences, lots of regular one-on-ones. All our qualified counsellors have monthly supervision where they have the opportunity to debrief, so they don't take the stress home with them. So we decided to give that opportunity to our employees that were answering the phones.
We did some training on health and diet, and we also introduced some fruit baskets every now and then. We've had several international food days where people have cooked their favourite cuisine from all around the world and we've had lunch together, and hence, socialised and enjoyed some nice healthy cuisine. Results have been fabulous. We've got a team that communicate wonderfully with each other and they're much more resilient, and they're able to cope with the pressures of the job day in, day out.
They're genuinely concerned for each other. So generally much more caring, nurturing culture than what there was previously. Knock-on effect of that, staff turnover has now stabilised. We have a very consistent counselling team. So we're able to meet our customer needs effectively and efficiently, and that's a very important thing for us in terms of customer retention.
We also have been making quite significantly improved profit, and what that means as a not for profit that we are able to give a greater donation to the Curran Access Student's Foundation, which is the charity that we support.