Employers tell us they invest in EAPs for many reasons. They do so to help employees having personal problems, including those that impact the job, to increase workplace productivity and morale, to support retention and recruitment, and to reduce medical costs.
Studies show that 20% of employees have mental health or substance abuse problems at any give time. Troubled employees are absent 2 to 4 times more, and are at least 20% less productive than the average worker. In fact, a study published recently in the Journal of the American Medical Association estimated that the cost of lost productivity to only one disorder, major depression, is over $31 billion annually.
EAPs, through prevention and early intervention services, are a proven, cost effective solution to many of the problems employers face today.
- Attract & retain employees
- Increase productivity
- Reduce absenteeism
- Boost morale
- Prevent employee theft
- Promote workforce cooperation
- Enhance organizational health
- Prevent disability claims
- Decrease medical costs
- Balance work & personal life
EAPs also support the organization by providing:
- Onsite traumatic incident response and consultation and support
- Risk management consultation regarding troubled employees and their effect on the workplace as well as worksite policies and programs that impact employee health and well-being
- Trainings that foster a healthy workplace
Business Case for an EAP
There are numerous studies that support the business case for offering EAP services. Most employers understand the benefits and have consequently implemented an EAP. Over 97% of companies with more than 5,000 employees have an EAP. Eighty percent of companies with 1,001 – 5,000 employees have an EAP, while 75% of companies with 251 – 1,000 employees have one. A 2008 National Study of Employers following ten years of trends related to U.S. workplace policies and benefits shows that the EAP industry continues to grow, with 65% of employers providing EAPs in 2008, up from 56% in 1998.
A Federal Occupational Health study of more than 60,000 workers using EAP services resulted in the following findings:
- Unplanned absences and tardiness from work decreased by an average of 1.5 days per case.
- Employees’ clinical functioning rose by an average of 10 percent, according to counselor reports.
- People who reported a great amount of difficulty completing their daily work because of emotional problems showed a 73 percent productivity improvement rate after using EAP services.
- A prospective cost–benefit estimate of FOH EAP services showed that for every $1 spent on the EAP, the expected savings for the first year would be $1.27, rising to $7.21 by the fifth year.
Likewise, the US Dept. of Health and Human Services found that companies with EAP’s have a 21% lower absenteeism rate and a 14% higher productivity rate.
Chevron realized savings of $14 for every $1 spent on its EAP. The savings were based on employee retention, improved job performance, absenteeism, tardiness, safety, quality and quantity of work.
Virginia Power realized a 23 percent drop in medical claims over a 4-year period for individuals who accessed the EAP, compared with those who accessed behavioral health benefits on their own.
The Value of Work/Life Services
Offering an EAP with work/life services not only demonstrates that the employer is concerned about the well-being of its employees, it also increases workplace productivity. A Cornell University study involving the “100 Best” companies found that generous work/life benefits were linked with happier, hard-working employees, customers who received better quality products and enhanced service, as well as an improved bottom line and higher financial performance for the employer.
Consider these facts:
- The average U.S. employee spends 53 hours on the job per year resolving family-related events.
- An estimated 15.9 million caregivers work full time (AARP, 2004). Twenty nine percent of employed caregivers report needing help to balance their work and family responsibilities. Sixty-six percent have had to make some adjustments to their work life, from reporting late to work to giving up work entirely; and 1 in 5 have had to take a leave of absence (National Alliance of Caregiving, Nov 2009)
- Forty-four percent of all families include children under the age of 18. Both parents work in nearly 60% of households. Ten percent are single family households. Childcare referral programs offered by the EAP help parents juggle the demands of work and family.
- Legal matters can be tough. According to the American Bar Association, as many as 7 out of 10 people will have the need for an attorney this year. Employees facing legal problems spend an average of 26 hours per year while on the job and 7 days off from work to resolve these issues. In addition, employees spend 29 and 22 hours on the job resolving financial and property-related events respectively.