MEASURING CHANGE WITHIN AN EMPLOYEE ASSISTANCE PROGRAMME

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CHAPTER THREE ESSENTIAL COMPONENTS OF THE EAP

INTRODUCTION:

An EAP seldom consists of singular activities functioning in isolation and for this reason it is not possible to claim the success of a programme on these individual units. This study identifies the outcome of the counselling component as the part of the programme the researcher will explore, but the different components involved in the operation of the programme are interchangeable and will be discussed in this chapter. Csiernick (2003:15) is of the impression that policies forms the foundation of Employee Assistance Programs but that not enough literature exist on the topic. It ensures ―best practice‖, those actions that ensures the service delivery to the target population is of a good quality. These include the principles, guidelines, resources, research, the actual programs and the policies that guide the programs. In another publication by Csiernick (2003:33 – 43) while reviewing Canadian EAP policies, the author applies a policy critique guideline assessing existing EAP policies based on five criteria. These are; statement of principles, procedures, program development, roles and overall policy presentation. The findings of the review highlighted the following:

  • Larger, more unionised organizations with more established EAP‘s with a stronger union-management agreement are more likely to have formal policies in place.
  • The above also correlate with more program features available and more uncapped clinical services.
  • The presence of exclusively external providers also seems to correlate with less likely-hood of a strong policy presence.

Further conclusions from this study indicate that more comprehensive policy designs correlates with a more comprehensive program with a wider variety of access options, more ownership of the program and higher utilization. Best practice guidelines also contribute to the evaluability of the program.
The discussion in this chapter (3) will be broader and refer to the different components that should be part of an EAP offering and will be guided by what is today known as the core technology of EAPs as well as the standards set for a good EAP. (EAPA-SA Standards Document 2005, Standards for Employee Assistance Programmes in South Africa 1999, UK EAPA Standards and Professional Guidelines 1998, US EAPA Standards and Professional Guidelines 1992).
The stake holding relationship within a client organisation is a complex one. Stakeholders should include the company executives/board of directors, the employee benefits manager, labour union, divisional/line managers, human resource department, occupational health and safety department and the employees in general. The organisation determines what the programme should offer them depending on the structure and needs of the employee population. The different stake-holders would be interested in how their specific needs and concerns may be met through the program they have adopted. After adopting a particular programme, be that based on an in-house model or an external model, the programme needs to be clearly developed and positioned within the organisation. If this process is not well managed, the future success of the programme can be hugely compromised. Providing a counselling service within an organization does not equate an EAP and the standards designed by different EAPA bodies illustrate the essential elements involved in a comprehensive program. Numerous EAP‘s have failed to proof its worth in the corporate environment due to it being positioned as a ―soft‖ service offered from an office somewhere in the medical clinic of the organization. If the programme is recognised by top management as part of corporate wellness and acknowledged as having the ability to impact on the company‘s bottom line, its scope within the company is greatly enhanced. The US EAPA Standards and Professional Guidelines (1992) indicate that working relationships with a variety of strategic departments and committees in the organisation can facilitate the recognition of the program at senior management and executive level.
This chapter will not cover a detailed discussion of all the standards, but will highlight those activities most appropriate to the study. The visual illustration of the standards below reflects a comprehensive programme with elements designed to infiltrate all spheres of the organization. The standards as designed by EAPA bodies internationally and highlighted below demonstrate the existence of the following elements within the design of a good EAP:

  • Business appropriateness;
  • Professionalism;
  • Academic credentials;
  • Structured process;
  • Ability to address the needs of different stakeholders;
  • An intervention based on a thorough needs assessment with measures put in place to evaluate success on different levels at different time frames; and
  • A high-level reporting structure.

While baseline needs assessments are referred to in the standards documents of all three countries referred to in this chapter, the questions do exist as to what level this is implemented in practice. Within both the companies used for this study, these baseline assessments were absent.

DESIGN AND POSITIONING

Each Employee Assistance Programme consists of a duel-client relationship where the needs of the client company are always present while serving the individual accessing the service. No programme can be successful if it is not endorsed by the management structure of a company and the latter can only take place if:

  • The design is perceived as meeting the needs of the company.
  • The programme is positioned strategically as having the ability to benefit the bottom-line.

The EAPA South African Chapter (2005) as well as the EAPA UK (1998) and EAPA USA Standards Documents (1992) refers to the first standard of an EAP as the design of the programme.
The Standards and Professional Guidelines documents from the three countries indicated above refers to the establishment of an Advisory Committee at the highest possible level involving all subdivisions of the workforce. The functions of this committee should include the formulation of policy, advice on the implementation, assistance in marketing of the programme and contribution to the evaluation of the programme.
With involvement of representatives of all segments of the organisation, the optimal functioning of the programme is ensured. Megranahan (1995:55) looks at the drivers of EAP objectives as a group of internal staff members representing different sections having an interest in the effective operation of the programme. In this context the objectives are determined in the pre-implementation phase and it will determine who the provider will be and what will be the nature of the EAP service.
The EAPA UK Standards and Professional Guidelines Document (1998) refer to the needs assessment as the first component under Programme Design. This document, as well as its South African and American counterparts, is of the opinion that any program design should be based on an assessment of organisational and employee needs. This assessment should include an organisational profile and needs, employees‘ needs, supervisory and union‘s needs as well as health care profiles and needs. This component of the standards document is especially significant as it sets the path for a baseline assessment to be conducted at the onset of programme implementation. If this component takes place, the ability to evaluate the success of the programme is greatly enhanced.
The above assessment also assists in determining the next standard, the selection of an appropriate service delivery model. This model can typically be an in-house model, outsourced model or combination of these. It is important that the model chosen is appropriate to the needs of the organisation and reflects detailed operational procedures.
The operational procedure also guides the pricing model to be followed. The EAPA-SA Standards Document (2005) refers to this component as a negotiation between the service provider and the employer with the goal of ensuring that financial resources are applied in the best possible manner. It is also a process of justifying the balance between expenditure and benefits. The pricing model for an internal programme would differ fundamentally from that of an external programme. In the case of an internal programme the financial resources should allow for the availability of appropriate levels and numbers of staff to serve the employee population. The EAPA USA Standards Document (1992) provides an outline of staffing levels per number of employees. Where an external programme is in operation, the pricing model can vary. Cost elements include access to the service, case management, consultation services and corporate reporting, training of significant role players and eligibility, Some components of the service can be provided on a fee for service basis while others can be delivered via a per capita fee structure.

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IMPLEMENTATION

Programme implementation plays a significant role providing structure to the operation of a successful programme.
The second main group of standards as highlighted in the EAPA-SA Standards document (2005) refers to the implementation phase, designing a policy that shall describe the EAP in its totality. Klarreich, Francek and Moore (1985:34-51) looks at the importance of detailed, documented policies and procedures as components that serves as a road map of the realistic expectations of the programme, providing clarity to all role-players of what to expect from the programme. The EAPA UK Standards Document (1998) also indicate that a policy statement ensure consistency in the message about the service going forward When a workplace make use of an external service provider the Corporate Well-being Consultant or Account Manager is tasked to assist the workplace putting in place the policy and procedures needed to guide the programme.
Klarreich discusses the programme objectives that should reflect within the programme philosophy, and policy statement. The Statement of programme philosophy is normally the shortest text within the policy document, but is of utmost importance as it sets out the overall operating premise of the programme and also attempts to integrate the disparate notion of corporate self interest and humanitarian ideals. It allows for a healthy interplay between the employee as an individual and as part of an organizational unit. Typical clauses in this section as well as in the policy statement may include:

  • An acknowledgement that every employee faces problems in their personal lives and often do not know where to turn.
  • Stating the programme‟s ability to deal with a wide range of human problems, which include health, marriage, family difficulties, financial or work related problems, and emotional distress, or problems caused by alcohol or drug abuse.
  • Confidentiality is promised and services are offered as a helping hand, not as an attempt to pry or punish.
  • The main reason for the programme is to help employees and their families enrich the quality of their lives, whether or not they are experiencing job-related problems. It is recognised, however, that in time, a secondary benefit related to the general level of job performance may accrue to the company.

This section not only sets the tone for the rest of the document but also presents a macro purpose statement against which all other statements that follow can be tested for consistency. What is interesting to note in the philosophy above is that improved job performance as a benefit to the company is regarded as a secondary focus. This can be seen as both a positive or negative aspect. From a positive view, it highlights the interest of the employee as the most important in the offering of the programme and thus serves as a motivator for them to use it. From a negative view, it posed the question whether this contributes to workplaces not insisting on scientific proof of returns on their investment, thus not building in a baseline assessment at the onset of programme implementation. Megranahan (1995:54) indicates that an EAP is designed to benefit every area within an organization where employee performance plays a part. The structure and delivery of services is guided by what is called the ―core technology‖ of the programme. It is a service set out to benefit multiple groups, namely the employee and his/her family, the supervisor/manager, the union, the occupational health department, Human Resources and eventually the organisation as a whole. The policy statement naturally flows from the philosophy section and clarify the overall intentions of the programme. It also addresses issues of eligibility, ways of accessing the service, different types of referral and the conditions under which management can mandate a referral to the programme.
The policy statement also discusses the role of the internal committee in policy maintenance, planning and evaluation of the programme as well as the role and relationship of the external representative with the internal committee should also be clarified.
The professional credentialing of the professionals contracted to deliver the service on the project as well as the boundaries of their relationship with the company, employee representative groups and the employee also needs clarification in this document.
It is important to illustrate that the accountability line allows for some degree of safe distance between the company and the professional in the operation of the programme. It is thus important that management‘s support for the programme is illustrated but at the same times their acknowledgement for the confidential use of the programme be demonstrated. Confidentiality is probably one of the most delicate components of the programme. PPC International in their Clinical Volume Part 1 (2004) indicates that respect for client confidentiality is the cornerstone of an Employee Assistance Programme. Respect for an individual‘s right to privacy must infuse every interaction and clients should have the confidence that their privacy is protected. The following two statements by managers interviewed for this research report illustrate this concern and how it can affect the referral process:

  • The employee may feel it is a disgrace to be send to the EAP and we have to convince him it is not an ugly place and privacy and confidentiality is protected. He is worried that other workers may find out.
  • Confidentiality is important for group leaders as employees do not want their personal life to be exposed.

Chapter One: General Introduction
1.1 INTERNATIONAL HISTORICAL CONTEXT
1.2 THE SOUTH AFRICAN HISTORICAL CONTEXT
1.3 MOTIVATION FOR THE CHOICE OF THE SUBJECT
1.4 PROBLEM FORMULATION
1.5 GOAL AND OBJECTIVES
1.6 RESEARCH APPROACH
1.7 TYPE OF RESEARCH
1.8 RESEARCH DESIGN
1.9 HYPOTHESIS
1.10 DATA COLLECTION
1.11 PILOT STUDY
1.12 CONSULTATION WITH EXPERTS
1.13 FEASIBILITY OF THE STUDY
1.14 DESCRIPTION OF THE POPULATION / DEMARCATION OF SAMPLE AND SAMPLING
PROCEDURE
1.15 ETHICAL ASPECTS
1.16 DEFINITIONS OF KEY CONCEPTS
CHAPTER 2: OPERATIONAL ELEMENTS OF A RETURN ON INVESTMENT AS A SUMMATIVE FORM OF EVALUATION FOR AN EMPLOYEE ASSISTANCE
INTRODUCTION
2.2 CONCEPTUALISING RETURN ON INVESTMENT IN PRACTICE
2.3 MEASURING CHANGE WITHIN AN EMPLOYEE ASSISTANCE PROGRAMME
2.4 EVALUATION AS A STRATEGY TO MEASURE CHANGES: EXPLORING METHODOLOGIES OF EVALUATION
2.5 METHOD OF MEASURING HUMAN ACTIVITIES IN THE WORKPLACE ACCORDING TO CASCIO
2.6 CRITIQUE TO CASCIO’S MEASUREMENT AND THE RESEARCHER’S APPROACH TO IT’S USE IN THE STUDY
2.7 CONCLUSION
CHAPTER THREE: ESSENTIAL COMPONENTS OF THE EAP
3.1 INTRODUCTION
3.2 DESIGN AND POSITIONING
3.3 IMPLEMENTATION
3.4 PROGRAMME MANAGEMENT
3.5 DIRECT SERVICES
3.6 NETWORKING
3.7 EVALUATION OF SERVICES
3.8 SHORT-TERM PSYCHOTHERAPY AS A CLINICAL APPROACH IN EMPLOYEE ASSISTANCE PROGRAMMES
3.9 CONCLUSIONS
CHAPTER FOUR: EMPIRICAL STUDY ON THE RETURN ON INVESTMENT VALUE OF THE EAP ACCORDING TO THE QUANTITATIVE RESEARCH APPROACH*
INTRODUCTION
4.2 ENVIRONMENT WHERE RESEARCH WERE CONDUCTED
4.3 RESULTS FROM QUANTITATIVE SURVEY
4.4 COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS BETWEEN THE TWO COMPANIES
4.5 CONCLUSIONS
CHAPTER FIVE: EMPIRICAL STUDY ON THE RETURN ON INVESTMENT VALUE OF THE EAP ACCORDING TO THE QUALITATIVE RESEARCH APPROACH
5.1 INTRODUCTION
5.2 PROFILES OF PARTICIPANTS
5.3 LACK OF SPECIFIC TRAINING
5.4 PROGRESSIVE DISCIPLINE
5.5 IDENTIFICATION OF WORK PERFORMANCE
5.6 THE REFERRAL PROCESS
5.7 DOCUMENTATION
5.8 FINANCIAL IMPLICATION OF DECREASED PRODUCTIVITY
5.9 THE SOCIAL IMPACT OF LOWER PERFORMANCE AND CHANGES AFTER PARTICIPATION IN THE EAP
5.10 EXPECTATION OF IMPROVED PERFORMANCE VERSUS OBSERVED CHANGE
5.11 CONSISTENCY OF CHANGE
5.12 QUALITATIVE COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS
5.13 TESTING FOR TRUSTWORTHINESS
5.14 CONCLUSIONS
CHAPTER 6: TRIANGULATION OF DIFFERENT DATA SOURCES
6.1 INTRODUCTION
6.2 RETURN ON INVESTMENT CALCULATION ON INDIVIDUAL PERFORMANCE (STATISTICAL DATA): COMPANY ONE
6.3 RETURN ON INVESTMENT VALUE CALCULATION FOR COMPANY ONE
6.4 RETURN ON INVESTMENT VALUE CALCULATION FOR COMPANY TWO
6.5 TRIANGULATION OF DATA SOURCES ILLUSTRATING STRONG CORRELATION
6.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF TRIANGULATIVE COMPARISONS
6.7 CONCLUSIONS
CHAPTER 7: CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
7.1 INTRODUCTION
7.2 CONCLUSIONS
7.3 RECOMMENDATIONS
7.4 Implications of the study for practice
Annexures
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