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EAP COUNSELLING: OUTCOMES, IMPACT & RETURN ON INVESTMENT.
Paul J Flanagan & Jeffrey Ots

Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) integrate services to employers and their employees to alleviate psychosocial, psychological and work-related behavioural issues which impact on work and personal wellbeing and productivity. Typically, EAP service components include: (i) professional, short term counselling, with referral and case management; (ii) management consultations to address work-related, behavioural issues; (iii) organisational and team interventions and (iv) aggregate reporting to assess effective program penetration and to direct the development of preventive strategies. The EAP counselling component, (i) above, is seen as the primary intervention and so is the subject of most EAP related research (Attridge, 2009). Previous research has shown that EAP counselling client satisfaction is generally around 95% (Phillips, 2004;Attridge, 2003) and measured improvements in employee absenteeism, productivity and identified a positive impact on workers compensation costs (Kirk, 2006; McLeod & McLeod, 2001). To assess an employer’s financial return on investment, the “EAP Business Value Model” (Attridge & Amaral, 2002) identified three types of potential, financial benefits from EAPs: (i) a health care value component, which includes workers compensation and salary continuance insurance savings for Australian employers (as opposed to American employers where there also medical and disability insurance benefits); (ii) the human capital value component, representing savings in reducing absenteeism and turnover and improving productivity and engagement/morale and (iii) the organisational value component comprising cost savings in regard to issues such as safety risks, employee grievances and legal claims and the positive benefits in demonstrating employee concern and support. The research measures the employers’ financial benefits (Finch & Phillips, 2005; Kessler & Stang,...
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