Browsing School of Social Work by Title "Lies, Damn Lies and EAP Utilization Rates: The Development of a Comprehensive Scorecard"
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Employee Assistance Program utilization: developing a comprehensive scorecard.In the EAP field, utilization rates are an important concept routinely used as a descriptor of EAP success, yet there has been little formal research conducted in this area. In a study of 154 Canadian EAPs, 102 organizations reported their utilization rates along with how they defined both utilization and a case. Mean utilization rate was 9.2% with utilization being greater in organizations with a union where labor was involved in establishing the program, providing assistance in accessing the program and in managing the program through participation on a joint labor-management committee. Utilization rates were also found to be greater where there was an EAP policy in place and where ongoing program promotion occurred. However, what was also discovered was that most of these statistical conclusions were questionable as there was a lack of consistency in how utilization rates were calculated by various organizations, nor was there any agreement on what even constituted a case. This brings into question the utility of EAP utilization rates in any comparative program monitoring or evaluation. A comprehensive EAP Utilization Scorecard is offered as a response to this situation. The scorecard counts the actual number of employees, retirees and family members who use the EAP, either face-to-face, through telephone counselling or via e-counselling. Also presented is the idea of a new calculation, penetration rate. This value would include counselling offered by the EAP along with the other services, including group counselling, critical incident debriefings, consultations and mediations, workshops and seminars, peer referral contacts and telephone inquiries. This approach would provide a more comprehensive understanding of what EAPs do and would also allow for longitudinal program comparison as well as comparisons between programs.