No idea that we had an EAP!

The benefits of corporate wellness programmes range from a return-on-investment or ROI of US$6 to a decrease of up to US$6 in health care costs.

An 2009 EASNA research note by Attridge and colleagues documents an ROI of US$3 to US$10 for every dollar invested in an employee assistance programme. Similarly, analysts in a 2010 Harvard Business Review article report a US$6 savings in healthcare costs for every dollar spent on employee wellness programmes, while recent data from the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans for their Wellness and Value-Based Health Care survey revealed a US$1 to US$3 decrease in overall health care costs for every dollar spent on wellness programmes.

However, no organization can possibly reap the benefits of an EAP or corporate wellness programme if employees aren’t aware of the programme in the first place. As Miller asserts in a recent article for the Society for Human Resource Management“communication is the key to wellness success”.

Azzone and colleagues (2009) report that employees use EAP counselling services when their employers actively promote EAP services. Others make the cogent argument that periodic communication with employees to evaluate client satisfaction with EAP services not only demonstrates the value of the programme, but raises employee awareness about EAP services (Moore, 1989; see also Frost, 1990). As noted in a review by Merrick, Volpe-Vartanian, Horgan, and McCann (2007), employee awareness of EAP services and confidence in the confidential nature of EAP counselling are key to EAP utility. This is demonstrated in an empirical study sampling participants from six worksites: Trust and confidence in EAP services reliably predicted EAP utility (French, Dunlap, Roman, & Steele, 1997).

EAPs are only as effective as the efforts that an organization (and its EAP provider) makes to ensure that employees are aware about EAP services and the confidential nature of EAP counselling services.

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