Based on recent research from the Employee Assistance Professionals Association (EAPA), 347,000 more employees turned to support from an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) between October 2020 and October 2021 compared with previous years.
The new data is based on evidence from information provided by 3,200 HR professionals using the EAPA UK ROI calculator : the biggest data set on EAP usage, impact and financial returns in the UK, representing anonymised information from seven million employees. More than 1,000 calculations were made in the 2021 period.
As a consequence of higher usage, employers are seeing a higher Return on Investment from their EAP. For every £1.00 spent on an EAP in the UK, employers have seen an average return on investment (ROI) of £8.00. This compares with a previous average of £7.27.
Paul Roberts, EAPA UK board member and research project lead, said: “Figures like these on usage and ROI don’t convey the full picture of what’s been happening among employees. Behind the numbers are human stories. We know from all of our conversations with EAP providers that the average call now involves more complexity, more employees with multiple issues to deal with, meaning more stretch and strain for operations.
“EAPs have stood up to the test – dealing with the additional volume of calls and contact, more need for ongoing counselling – and continue to do so despite shortages of counselling staff.”
EAPA UK Chair, Eugene Farrell said: “Higher EAP usage is here to stay, for the foreseeable future. We’re seeing the gradual fall-out from disrupted and changing lives, from more uncertainty. During these times HR need to be demonstrating the specific value of their focus on wellbeing and the ROI data can be part of this: for benchmarking, illustrating the value of active communications and engagement, and for looking at the potential impact of trying different models of services and changing the level of investment.”
According to the new data, large employers in particular have seen huge increases in their EAP ROI. Up to 50% in some cases (for those with 5,000 or more staff, up on average from £8.43 to £12.75; and from £8.47 to £12.48 for the 1,000-5,000 employee group). This appears to be the result of higher levels of engagement with the EAP: following the best practice advice on how to get the best from an EAP.
The calculator was developed for EAPA by the Institute for Employment Studies (IES) as an open source tool for benchmarking.
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