Most Employee Assistance Program providers provide utilization rates as their sole success metric, reported annually. However, Human Resources and Workplace Health and Safety have contested that perhaps utilization is not an accurate measure of success. A more pertinent question may be on what else Employee Assistance Program providers can report, to prove the success of their programs. Employee Assistance Programs should encourage greater utilization to meet the needs of employees, as well as additional effectiveness measures that provide a more holistic understanding of company health.
IS HIGH UTILIZATION A GOOD THING?
Does higher uptake of a wellness program mean it is working, or that your workplace is unhealthy?
As a general rule, higher uptake implies employees need support. Offering this support to employees in need is the necessary direction employers should be taking to improve the health of their organization. One way to consider utilization as a success metric, is that barriers to accessing support have been lowered.
- Stigma: when there is a high level of workplace stigma, less employees will feel comfortable accessing EAP support. Proactive leadership and multi-channel comms to employees can reduce this stigma and help employees understand the importance of seeking help when they need it. This shows employees who feel stigmatized that their workplace values them and is making workplace wellbeing a priority.
- Access: most EAP is focused on face-to-face counselling that is very difficult for busy employees to find time for. Plus, it is often only offered within working hours. Uprise offers coaching support with the option of phone, chat, email, video or face to face. This kind of offering means more employees in need can access the service, rather than suffering in silence.
- Prevention: face-to-face counselling is reactive and means only a small amount of highly stressed employees end up accessing support. Uprise offers training, coaching and support that is pro-active and supports employees at different levels of wellbeing. This allows employees to learn resilience techniques while they are well, that they can draw upon in times of need.
All of these factors ultimately lead to higher utilization, in a way that is positive and contributes to a mentally healthy workplace. However, Uprise believes utilization is just one part of the story and more effectiveness metrics should be given to employers to provide a more holistic understanding of a companies mental health needs.
Book a demo of the Uprise Health program to see how it could improve stigma, access and prevent mental illness at your company.
Note: the meaning of uptake depends on the kind of wellness program offered. For early intervention programs like Uprise, high uptake is a great thing. For traditional reactive Employee Assistance Programs, high uptake could be a sign of the poorer mental health condition of your employees.
REPORTING ON EFFECTIVENESS
The current annual reporting by most Employee Assistance Programs is not doing enough to support employees long-term. Measures of utilization given at the end of the year offer no insights into why employees sought help, if they benefitted from support or whether they completed their program. Without this information, Employee Assistance Programs are entirely reactionary. Support that is reactionary prolongs the suffering of an employee and is also more costly in terms of treatment.
Early intervention Employee Assistance Programs like Uprise are geared towards pro-active support for employees. This involves reaching out to support more employees before they experience excessive stress. This kind of support is much more cost-effective than reactive support as it reduces presentee-ism and mental health and turnover risk.
Uprise reports on utilization, as well as a range of other wellbeing measures every quarter to provide employers with useful insights into the wellbeing needs of their employees. This includes wellbeing and stress levels, psychological safety and the most common causes of stress.
SEE FULL 2018 OUTCOMES REPORT
Uprise is a full spectrum Employee Assistance Program that offers a digital program backed by research to create lasting wellbeing change and resilience. Some of our key outcomes from 2018 include:
- Uprise measures stress using the Stress Fitness Check. Stress levels decreased by 26% from pre-program to post-program.
- The proportion of employees at risk for developing a mental health issue shrunk from 27% (pre-program) to 4% (post-program).
- Employees at imminent risk for turnover reduced from 19% (pre-program) to 9% (post-program).