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Healthy Workplaces

September 18 2020 - Work presenteeism has been identified as the number one employee issue because of its negative impact on a workforce, and the degree of improvement seen after employee assistance program (EAP) counselling. It also translates into the greatest source of cost savings and ROI according to the 2020 Workplace Outcome Suite (WOS) Annual Report produced by Morneau Shepell and the Employee Assistance Professionals Association (EAPA),.

Barb Veder, VP global clinical services, research lead and chief clinician of Morneau Shepell said:

"The results of the 2020 Workplace Outcome Suite confirm that short-term counselling offered through EAPs work very well for employees and employers alike.

"At a time when employees need convenient and effective support for work and life issues, employers looking for a cost-effective way to both provide this benefit while countering presenteeism and absenteeism should strongly consider an EAP."

Self-reported data was collected from 35,693 employees globally over a period of 10 years, between 2010 and 2019. Comparing WOS measures when EAP counselling started to three months or so after counselling ended, the study found:

  • 56% reported that their issue was making it difficult to concentrate on work, reducing to 28% of all cases after counselling.
  • 37% reported dissatisfaction with life overall, indicating a degree of clinical distress, reducing to 16% of all cases after counselling.
  • 32% reported not being engaged in their work, reducing to 23% of all cases after counselling.
  • 29% missed a half day or more of work time, reducing to 13% of all cases after counselling.
  • 22% reported feelings of dread when going to the workplace ("workplace distress"), reducing to 13% of all cases after counselling.

Estimated return on investment (ROI) in US companies ranged from:

  • 3:1 for small size employers
  • 5:1 for medium size employer
  • 9:1 for large size employers

Cost savings ranged between $2,000 and $3,500 per employee from reductions in work presenteeism (87% of total return) and absenteeism (13%) in those companies. Findings were generally consistent across client age and sex, region, industry, clinical issue, number of counselling sessions, length of treatment, whether the EAP was provided by external vendors, internal staff, or using a hybrid model.

Greg DeLapp, chief executive officer, EAPA said:

EAPA has endorsed and promoted the WOS as a best practice for measuring and evaluating work-related outcomes of employee assistance programs. The WOS offers a standardized approach for the entire industry to use as a way to document the effectiveness and business value of EAP services. We encourage the companies that purchase EAPs and brokers who sell EAP services to support this tool and use it as a way of demonstrating the importance and value of EAP services to their clients."

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