Focusing solely on an EAP’s utilization rate isn’t useful in evaluating the effectiveness of the program, particularly if employees had hardly used it before. Instead, Centura’s EAP program uses a variety of metrics to gauge its impact on employee wellbeing, a selection of which we include below.
Metric: How employees first encounter the EAP
Centura’s EAP records how EAP users first heard about the program and how they first accessed it. Their goal is to increase the number of people who heard about the program from co-workers, managers, other employee-facing services (wellness, occupational health, workers compensation, etc.), and EAP promotional resources. An increase in self-referrals speaks to whether EAP users are coming to the program voluntarily. An increase in the types of channels through which employees first hear about the EAP may suggest that EAP de-stigmatization and visibility are both increasing.
Metric: Reason(s) why an employee is reaching out to the EAP
A second set of measurements reflects the reasons why an employee might reach out to the EAP. As part of their push to get Centura Health employees to use the EAP for everyday workplace issues, the program specifically measures how many users present for behavioral risk management versus traditional counseling versus nontraditional work-life issues such as childcare or financial concerns. While EAP consultants continue to predominantly work with those seeking help for behavioral health concerns, they’ve seen an uptick in the number of employees reaching out for nontraditional purposes.
Metric: Percentage of clients who are meeting set therapeutic service targets
Centura’s EAP representatives use a measurement and quality outcome tool (MyOutcomes®) to measure the impact and quality of each counseling session. The tool allows the program to track the answers to the following question: “What percentage of EAP clients feel their counseling session was successful, and did the counselor reach their therapeutic service targets?”
The therapeutic service targets are set through a mix of individual client needs and predictive modeling through the tool. This approach reflects a more accurate measurement of the effectiveness and success of the client’s EAP interactions than what is seen in traditional client satisfaction surveys. Those surveys typically have poor response rates, provide feedback long after sessions are done, and often represent a skewed sample of those who are either very happy or very unhappy with EAP services.
Metric: Impact of EAP services on employee well-being
Centura’s EAP uses a trends analysis of employee responses to statements relating to individual performance. They typically assess across three points in time: before the first visit with the EAP, after the third visit, and after the full set of visits. The impact metrics measured by the program include outcomes related to:
- Depression and anxiety
- Overall job performance, absenteeism, presenteeism, and “lost hours” due to behavioral health challenges
- Work engagement and work distress
Trends analyses are a more realistic reflection of the impact of the EAP on employee well-being than quantitative utilization metrics because they answer the question: “What is the impact of the EAP on employee well-being?” As a result, they make it easier for Centura Health leaders to follow and assess the value of EAP partnership.