Examination of integration and differentiation of employee assistance programs and work/family programs
AuthorHerlihy, Patricia A.
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AbstractOver the last century, companies have transitioned from encouraging employees to keep all personal and family matters separate from their work to where many companies today have both an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) and a Work/Family Program. These company-sponsored benefit service programs arose to address personal and family issues that distracted from and interfered with an employee's ability to perform at work. Today's fast paced, knowledge based, globally competitive marketplace demands workers who fully concentrate on the task at hand and not be distracted by childcare, health, financial or other personal problems. Employee Assistance Programs and Work/Family Programs have co-existed in some large companies for the last 10 - 15 years with little effort expended to examine the efficiency, effectiveness or functional differences between the two service delivery approaches. In an era of corporate re-engineering, downsizing and overall analysis and redefinition of work functions, it is somewhat surprising that the differences and similarities between EAPs and Work/Family Programs have not been previously studied. This dissertation describes the rationale, method and results of a national descriptive survey focused on the relationship and linkages between EAP and Work/Family Programs within companies with over 1,000 employees. The research goal was to explicate the key variables that explain and predict when corporations pursue a strategy of integrating or differentiating benefit programs. A nationwide survey group of 100 companies was selected on the basis of their having an existing Work/Family Program. EAP directors and Work/Family managers from each participating company were interviewed via a mailed questionnaire about their current services and existing linkages. Multiple variate analysis of the data resulted in two statistically strong regression models describing the key predictors of integration for corresponding EAP and Work/Family integration scales. The key predictor for both the EAP and Work/Family scales was: use of interdepartmental committees for important policy decisions. This finding prompted a larger policy discussion about the need for a major re-evaluation of "family friendly" benefits in general. Significant revisions are taking place in employer/employee contracts. Benefit programs such as EAPs and Work/Family may quickly become relics of the past if they continue on their current course. They face the challenge of fundamentally reassessing program goals and underlying assumptions to better prepare employees for the realities of tomorrow's rapidly changing world of work.
Identifier to cite or link to this itemhttp://hdl.handle.net/10713/5391
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