New ROI tool for employers and EAPs

Written by Vicky Mulchinock on . Posted in ROI

New ROI tool for employers and EAPs

Last month, at our AGM, EAPA UK announced the launch of the UK’s first EAP ROI tool. This new tool, funded by EAPA UK and developed by Professor Stephen Bevan at the Institute of Employment Studies (IES) is the culmination of two years of research, resulting in the development of an algorithm that enables employers and EAP providers to now measure return on investment.

“For the first time EAP providers and employers will be able to demonstrate the value of their EAPs, using the results to better inform their health and wellbeing strategies and deliver even greater value to employees. Importantly, over time, this ROI tool will also provide a UK benchmark of EAP providers to help employers make more informed judgements of EAP value and quality,” said EAPA UK Chair, Neil Mountford.

Now available on the EAPA UK website, we would like to encourage our members and the organisations they work with to test out the EAP ROI tool. We’d also love to hear your thoughts and feedback at info@eapa.org.uk so that we can continue to refine and enhance the tool.

 

New ROI tool for EAPs

Written by Vicky Mulchinock on . Posted in News, ROI

New ROI tool for EAPs

Two years ago, EAPA UK commissioned The Work Foundation to investigate the use, impact and ROI of EAPs. This first phase of research found that while Employee Assistance Programmes (EAPs) are among the most commonly used wellbeing interventions in the UK, very few providers or their clients are able to collect systematic evaluation data beyond take-up or utilisation statistics and satisfaction surveys. More detailed findings and discussion of the study conducted by The Work Foundation is available in the full report, Employee Assistance Programmes (EAPs): Supporting good work for UK employers?

The research found that most EAPs, at minimum, covered their costs but that more work could be conducted to identify the main components of both costs and benefits at employer level. Based on these recommendations, EAPA UK funded further research, carried out by Professor Stephen Bevan at the Institute of Employment Studies (IES), to design, test and develop an algorithm that would enable employers and EAP providers to measure return on investment.

“We are looking forward to unveiling the UK’s first ROI tool for EAPs at our AGM next Tuesday 6 March at the Health and Wellbeing at Work event at the NEC. For the first time EAP providers and employers will be able to demonstrate the value of their EAPs, using the results to better inform their health and wellbeing strategy and deliver even greater value to employees. Importantly, over time, this ROI tool will also provide a UK benchmark of EAP providers to help employers make more informed judgements of EAP value and quality,” said EAPA UK Chair, Neil Mountford.

Watch this space for more information about the ROI tool which will be made available on our website very soon.

Research calls for greater line manager awareness of mental health issues

Written by Vicky Mulchinock on . Posted in ROI

Research calls for greater line manager awareness of mental health issues

Research recently published by Unum in partnership with the Mental Health Foundation reveals that just one-third (34%) of workers who experienced mental health problems in the last five years felt well supported by their line managers. It reports that line managers routinely underestimate how well their workplace supports staff mental health and wellbeing.

Nearly half (45%) of the managers surveyed here thought that an employee experiencing a mental health problem would be supported to remain in work, with reasonable adjustments made to their role. Yet just 19% of workers with mental health issues said they’d received such support.

“EAPs play a vital role in giving managers the knowledge and confidence to effectively address mental health issues in the workplace. The vast majority of EAPs contact a ‘manager services’ component which enables line managers to educate themselves about mental health issues in a confidential and non-judgemental setting, providing them with the skills and confidence to make early and effective interventions when the need arises,” commented Neil Mountford, chair of the UK EAPA.

73% of employees who have experienced a mental health problem say they would know how to have a conversation with a colleague who was finding it hard to cope and half of line managers felt confident that they could recognise the signs that a member of their team was having problems coping.

“A key challenge for many HR teams and EAP providers is to create and promote employee awareness of the EAP and making the support available here as accessible as possible to all employees. Whether it’s via an app the free-phone helpline number or the intranet, there are many ways for line managers and individuals to seek support for mental health issues and it’s vital that promoting the service remains at the top of HR’s ‘to do’ list,” adds Neil Mountford.

Alongside the research, Unum and the Mental Health Foundation have developed a mental health training module and online workshop with practical solutions and advice for business leaders and HR professionals. You can find out more about this at http://landing.unum.co.uk/mental-health.

UK EAPA’s latest research to quantify the ‘return on investment’ of EAPs

Written by Vicky Mulchinock on . Posted in News, ROI

UK EAPA’s latest research to quantify the ‘return on investment’ of EAPs

Following the recent publication of UK EAPA’s research in partnership with the Work Foundation into the use, impact and reach of EAPs in today’s organisation, the UK Employee Assistance Professionals Association’s next research project will quantify the ‘return on investment’ of employers’ investment in these programmes.

“The UK EAPA has asked The Work Foundation, alongside Professor Stephen Bevan from the Institute of Employment Studies, to assess the economic returns that employers can expect to accrue from their investment in an EAP. Based on data collected from EAP providers, we will build an ROI calculator that will enable those who are assessing the cost-effectiveness of their current workplace health interventions to better understand the value that an EAP can deliver,” said Andrew Kinder, UK EAPA’s Chair.

“Work has already begun to collect data from EAP providers to help build the ROI calculator and we are looking forward to working with the Work Foundation once again to develop an independent and objective appraisal of the economic returns of investment in an EAP,” said Paul Roberts, UK EAPA Executive Board Member and research lead.

EAPs are among the most commonly used well-being interventions in the UK with the EAPA’s Market Watch report (2013) identifying that almost 12 million employees in the UK are covered by EAP provision. Other data, for example from Employee Benefits (2013), suggests that 71 per cent of employers in the UK are making use of EAPs.

“These figures highlight that EAPs have the ‘reach’ to make a significant impact on the well-being of a large number of UK employees, saving UK businesses a considerable sum in reduced sickness absence and improved productivity.  We are looking forward to working in partnership with UK EAPA, as well as the Institute of Employment Studies, to better understand return on investment and make recommendations about how the design, implementation and targeting of EAPs can be adapted to maximise their reach and effectiveness,” said Dr. Zofia Bajorek, researcher at the Work Foundation who will lead this project.

The research is expected to be published in early May 2017. If you would like to receive the new research report on publication, please email info@eapa.org.uk to request a copy.

Five ways to improve awareness and impact of an EAP – the latest EAPA blog!

Written by Vicky Mulchinock on . Posted in ROI

Five ways to improve awareness and impact of an EAP

Andrew Kinder, Chair, UK Employee Assistance Professionals Association

In a new report from The Work Foundation into how employers are using EAPs, HR managers pointed to an ongoing stigma associated with the EAP. More often than not it’s seen as a counselling service, particularly for staff with mental health issues, putting a lid on the EAP for wider use.

It’s a situation not helped by what the HR managers in the report acknowledge as being low-level promotion of EAPs and a reliance on line managers referring their team members to use the EAP. The reality is that EAPs aren’t only for crises, but have the potential to make an even greater impact on workplaces and employees by supporting wellbeing and resilience in our new world of work in general, coaching people to feel better able to cope, to be happier and more productive.

It shouldn’t only be about the negatives, says Rachel Smith, Consultant at Enlighten: “EAP’s can help with positive life events such as moving home, starting a family, or preparing for retirement. It’s also a source of advice for everyday challenges like tobacco cessation, healthier lifestyles and relaxation techniques.”

Here are five areas for making more of the EAP in your organisation.

1. Re-position to prevention

Eugene Farrell, head of trauma support services, AXA PPP Healthcare says: “EAPs play as much a part in preventing crises as they do in supporting employees when one occurs. By providing information and support early on, EAPs can help employees to deal more effectively with the pressures they are dealing with and help to prevent what could be a manageable issue or situation from spiralling out of control.”

“Comprehensive delivery should concentrate on a mixture of both short term and long term health and wellbeing goals in order to react to instances of crisis, and also offer preventative measures developing the overall health and wellbeing of the wider employee community by challenging and improving the working culture as a whole,” adds David Price, Group Director, Health Assured.

2. Create more champions among line managers

Jonathan Brown, RetailTRUST Director of People and Wellbeing Services points to the importance of support from the board, highlighting the importance of the EAP as part of an overall wellbeing strategy integrated into the organisation’s culture and business plans, with KPIs and progress reported at the highest levels.

Eugene Farrell suggests: “Line managers are key to successful service promotion and, arguably the most powerful endorsement is by word of mouth from users who have had a positive experience. By taking a holistic approach to continuing to promote them. Creating a positive look and feel for what’s on offer will help to overcome people’s reluctance to use it and in turn increase uptake. Referrals from line managers can also increase utilisation – especially when combined with mental health awareness training.

3. Be clear in the use of language and branding

Diane Hope, Head of Wellbeing at Work Services at Insight Healthcare, argues that employees can be put off by the EAP title, the association with counselling and mental health, and the idea of a ‘programme’ in particular. “EAPs are also very much seen as a ‘counselling service’ by lots of organisations – so employees sometimes miss out on other services like legal advice,” she says.

But what if employers brand the EAP as a more familiar in-house service? More problems says Rachel Smith, Consultant at Enlighten: “Usage can drop significantly as employees think the helpline is connected internally to their organisation and no longer confidential.”

“Before you go to market it is important to know what you are selling,” says Gillian Morris, Director of Professional Services, Northern Ireland Association of Mental Health (Niamh). “Equally as a customer if you have no awareness or idea what you are buying then buy in becomes problematic. In advance or as part of re-branding, it is essential therefore, to tease out and define the essential core defining elements, aims and objectives of an EAP, distinguishing between the various models. This will go some way to ensure the EAP becomes embedded in, valued by and is seen to complement existing workplace engagement and wellbeing initiatives that meet the needs of a particular employer and its workforce.”

4. Tailor to meet specific needs

“Too often EAPs are thought of as a ‘cure all’ remedy. This can particularly be seen following some of the employee court cases where employers thought that by having an EAP they would be protected against employee litigation,” argues Patrick Watt, Corporate Director at Bupa UK.

“As a consequence, the product has been commoditised and providers have not invested in developing the service. We know it’s essential that clients tune into the needs of their business and engage with their people. There’s a clear need for providers to move away from a one-size-fits-all approach and stay focussed on innovation, following the way in which employees interact with each other and their work.”

Diane Hope adds: “The most successful EAPs are those where the organisation works in partnership with the provider to promote and develop the service, which needs to be ongoing throughout the duration of the contract. This does require some investment in terms of time and resources from the purchasing organisation.”

5. Integrate into the wider health strategy

Few organisations currently make full use of insights from the EAP – the opportunity to use data to develop and refine their employee wellbeing strategies.

“EAPs are an important component of any health strategy but they need to be properly linked to other services such as occupational health and health & safety teams,” says Lisa Allan, CEO, OH Assist & Help Employee Assistance.

“Some organisations have employee wellbeing or engagement teams which makes the work of integration more straight forward. For other companies, ensuring that the different suppliers work together is an important aim so that they contribute effectively to improve the health of the organisation.”

Gillian Morris, Director of Professional Services, Northern Ireland Association for Mental Health (Niamh), says: “The benefits from an EAP are to a greater or lesser degree dependent on the extent to which the EAP becomes embedded in, and is intrinsic to, a general culture of wellbeing, enabling easy access to timely and tiered workplace solutions which understand and are tailored to meet the needs of a particular workforce. This relies on good account management, building customer relations and above all else getting to know the nuances and complexities of each business.”

To request your copy of The evolution of employee assistance: investigating the use, impact and reach of EAPs in today’s organisations email info@eapa.org.uk.

New UK EAPA research launched today: EAPs are missed opportunity to build performance and productivity

Written by Vicky Mulchinock on . Posted in ROI

In the age of digital working, EAPs are a missed opportunity for building people performance and productivity

Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) services are a missed opportunity for building people performance and productivity in the new era of digital working, according to a new ‘state-of-the-industry’ report produced by Lancaster University’s The Work Foundation.

Just 9% of HR manager respondents in the research – carried out among 88 organisations in September 2016 – had attempted to evaluate their EAP in terms of a cost utility benefit or return on investment via the impact on sickness absence, productivity, performance or engagement. 31% admitted there had been no attempt to evaluate the quality or impact of the EAP and 9% didn’t know whether there was any evaluation.

In the study, HR managers pointed to an ongoing stigma associated with the EAP, as a counselling service primarily for staff with mental health issues, limiting the use of the wider EAP service among employees. Low-level promotion of EAPs and the scope of services available is also thought to be restricting use of services for anything other than crises and situations already at a serious stage.

The Work Foundation study was commissioned by the UK Employee Assistance Professionals Association (UK EAPA) and published on 23 November 2016 as The evolution of employee assistance: investigating the use, impact and reach of EAPs in today’s organisations.

UK EAPA is calling for a re-positioning of the EAP as a business performance driver, promotion of the EAP as an everyday support service for wellbeing and life coaching; the need for more formal ROI processes and more collaboration between providers and employers to deliver both.

Andrew Kinder, UK EAPA Chair, said: “Our digital working lives are ever-faster, more mobile and flexible. They are also more demanding, pressurised and dependent on resilience. The issue for HR is whether the workplace culture, management and its support services have kept pace with all the changes?”

“Every employee needs a release valve for the combination of home and work pressures,” added Paul Roberts, UK EAPA Board Member and Project Lead. “Which is why the EAP, the provision of professional and independent advice, is gaining in significance as a standard part of workplace life.

“Working in partnership, EAP providers and HR can deliver real organisational benefits though more of a commitment to employee wellbeing by looking closely at the hard evidence and return-on-investment from a pro-active use of EAPs and related initiatives.”

“Creating the right conditions for employees to work in, and promoting ‘good work’ in organisations, is important when considering the health and wellbeing of the working age population. EAPs are one way through which employers can be seen to promote positive employee health and wellbeing, however the research indicates that HR can be doing more to promote this service. Amidst this turbulent economic environment where budgets are increasingly tightened, it is now more important than ever to promote these services and determine what the cost-benefits of EAPs are for both employee wellbeing and organisational outcomes”, commented Dr Zofia Bajorek, Researcher at The Work Foundation.

The overall average level of use of EAP services by employees is 5%. 22% of HR managers say EAP use is rising; 6% say levels have decreased; 72% that use hasn’t really changed. The most common uses of an EAP among the surveyed organisations are for depression (57%), and coping with family events (56%). Workplace issues are less reported – difficulties with line managers (20%), workplace restructure (15%), bullying (6%). EAPs are also seen as an important resource for managers looking for support. In the research, 68% say it’s being used by managers asking for support on how to manage workplace issues, for management consultation (49%) and management information on employee and organisational interventions (44%).

To request a copy of the full report, please email info@eapa.org.uk.

New Employee Benefits research: 68% offer counselling as wellbeing benefit

Written by Vicky Mulchinock on . Posted in News, ROI

New Employee Benefits research: 68% offer counselling as a wellbeing benefit

More than two-thirds (68%) of employers offer access to counselling services or an employee assistance programme, according to research by Employee Benefits and Xerox HR Services.

The Employee Benefits Research 2016 – which surveyed a total of 338 respondents in May 2016 – found that the majority (93%) of those who offer counselling services, do so as a core benefits provision for all staff.

Almost half (49%) of employers participating in the research offer digital content on mental wellbeing, 42% on physical wellbeing, and 41% on financial wellness. In addition, around one-third offer digital content support on community and social wellbeing (35%), and 31% offer job satisfaction or career wellbeing support in this way.

“The study certainly reveals a step in the right direction for EAPs and the fact that many companies are offering support in a digital format is a clear indicator that employers are keen to provide support in innovative and flexible ways that meet the needs of their workforce”, commented Andrew Kinder, Chair of the UK Employee Assistance Professionals Association.

Do EAPs deliver value for money?

Written by Vicky Mulchinock on . Posted in ROI

Do EAPs deliver value for money?

There is probably more anecdotal evidence about the eff­ectiveness of employee assistance programmes than about any other product or service in the group risk world. But anecdotal evidence is of limited use in formulating a concrete business case and what EAPs conspicuously lack in the UK is any authoritative industry-wide data to convince employers that it is worth making the effort to promote them. With comment from EAPA Chair, Andrew Kindler, Corporate Advisor investigates – you can read the full article here.

 

Measuring returns on EAP investment – how can you get involved?

Written by Vicky Mulchinock on . Posted in ROI

Measuring returns on EAP investment – how can you get involved?

In an article on HR, UK EAPA’s Andrew Kinder and Zofia Bajorek from Lancaster University’s The Work Foundation outline the challenge of measuring the impact of EAPs.

They discuss the research partnership that’s underway between UK EAPA and The Work Foundation which will address many of the questions raised by those commissioning and purchasing EAPs and will attempt to answer the elusive question of what the return on investment is.

EAP providers, as well as HR professionals, can get involved in the study by completing a short survey that asks about your experience of EAPs.

The results will be published later this year – check back for updates!

UK EAPA commissions research into UK EAP market

Written by Vicky Mulchinock on . Posted in ROI

UK EAPA commissions research into UK EAP market

 

In partnership with Lancaster University’s The Work Foundation, the UK Employee Assistance Professionals Association has begun research into the EAP market and an employer’s return on investment in employee assistance.

 

“With half the UK workforce having access to an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP), it is inevitable that EAPs play a significant role in supporting the health of the nation. These programmes are a natural choice for employers that want to support good employee health and wellbeing and EAPs have been recognised by Government as an important initiative that can help employers to effectively manage sickness absence,” says Andrew Kinder, Chair of the UK Employee Assistance Professionals Association.

 

Professor Steven Bevan from Lancaster University’s The Work Foundation said: “While more employers are seeing the sense of investing in workplace health and wellbeing interventions, many remain unclear about which of them are value for money. In this study we hope to build up an objective picture of the role and value of EAPs in the UK today.”

 

The EAP market in the UK has grown significantly in recent years; latest research from the UK EAPA (Market Watch, 2013) estimates the market has grown by 69% since 2008. However, to better understand the current market and impact of EAPs in today’s workplace, the UK EAPA is leading and funding this extensive industry research project.

 

“Members of the UK EAPA support millions of workers and their commitment to fund this extensive research project shows their confidence in the impact and reach of the EAP market in the UK,” adds Andrew Kinder.

 

Led by Lancaster University’s The Work Foundation, this research will involve interviews with employers that currently commission an EAP, as well as those who do not currently buy one. If you would like to be involved in the study please email info@eapa.org.uk to register your interest.

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