Employees' health, productivity improve after EAP counseling, report says
- A new study by Chestnut Global Partners (CGP) and the Employee Assistance Professionals Association (EAPA) found that employee health, productivity and satisfaction improved after employee assistance program (EAP) counseling. The 2017 Workplace Outcome Suite (WOS) Report evaluated work engagement, absenteeism, workplace distress and life satisfaction following EAP counseling. Survey results were based on 16,792 completed EAP employee cases worldwide.
- The Chestnut Global Partners Division of Commercial Science developed WOS in 2010 to provide a scientific, objective way to measure whether investing in EAPs is a good business decision, according to the report. More than 600 EAPs so far have entered into agreements to use WOS to assess their programs' effectiveness in the workplace.
- “Many EAPs still don’t know the extent to which their program or interventions actually improve the work performance of employees who use EAP services," said Greg DeLapp, EAPA's CEO. "Employers, purchasers, or other stakeholders wind up focusing on two metrics where information does exist: cost and utilization, versus the most meaningful metric to business: employee workplace outcomes."
EAPs have been a "benefit in the background" in many workplaces. They aren't typically marketed to employees the way other benefits are, but are available if employees want psychological counseling or a resource for financial or legal assistance.
Unfortunately, that lack of marketing often works against them. If employees aren't taught or told about the myriad options in their EAP, some may still hold the view that EAPs are mainly for those dealing with drug addiction or other highly stigmatized health issues. While the stigma around mental health issues has perhaps lessened somewhat, many employees may still be reluctant to talk about it. If employers educate employees and managers about the uses of the EAP, employees may be more likely to use the tool and get help.
Given the growing importance of employees' emotional well-being and the identification of financial problems as one their major sources of stress, EAPs might be more relevant now than ever. Also, EAPs are using metrics to assess their effectiveness, which is a long way from justifying their value by the number of employees using their services.