results

Page down to view data and analysis regarding the impact of an EAP on employee productivity, depression, absenteeism and alcohol use. This section also contains a demographic summary of results, based on gender, age (generation), industry, season and presenting issue.

Email info@curalinc.com to order a copy of the full report, which includes additional analysis and insight, plus a description of impact on different demographics and factors.

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PRODUCTIVITY

CuraLinc used the Stanford Presenteeism Scale-6 (SPS-6) to assess the relationship between presenteeism, health problems and productivity for employees who participated in the employee assistance program (EAP). The SPS-6 measures an employee's perception of his or her ability to overcome the distraction of current physical and/or psychological problems in order to handle job stress, complete tasks, achieve goals and maintain sufficient focus and energy levels. The SPS-6 employs a Likert Scale to record responses, ranging from ‘Strongly Disagree’ (1) to ‘Strongly Agree’ (5). The maximum score of the six-question set is 30.

5,223 program participants completed the SPS-6 during the initial assessment, 777 of whom also completed the questionnaire again 30 days post-treatment. From among those who completed the questionnaire after 30 days, the average SPS-6 score increased from 18.8 (moderate productivity) to 24.9 (high productivity), a gain of 6.0, adjusted for rounding.

Average SPS-6 Results

Average SPS-6 Results

During the initial assessment, over 32% of EAP participants reported low presenteeism, which is loosely defined as one who is physically present at their job, but experiencing decreased productivity and sub-standard work quality due to their presenting issue.

  • Almost 80% of employees reported high productivity after using the EAP, compared to under 40% during the initial clinical assessment.

  • After participating with the EAP, the percentage of employees who reported low presenteeism dropped from 32.4% to 5.3%.

  • 69.4% of participants with low or moderate productivity migrated to high productivity after using the EAP.

Distribution of SPS-6 Responses

Distribution of SPS-6 Responses

  • 70.1% of EAP participants reported improved productivity after using the program. Only 4.1% of participants reported deteriorated productivity.

  • Among employees with a significant (10 or more points) change after using the EAP, 98.2% reported significant productivity improvement.

SPS-6 Risk Migration

SPS-6 Risk Migration

The EAP had the highest impact on employees who presented with job stress. Employees who used the EAP to address job stress also had the lowest average productivity score (16.2) during the initial assessment.

SPS-6 Improvement by Presenting Issue

SPS-6 Improvement by Presenting Issue


DEPRESSION

The Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ) is a self-administered version of the PRIME-MD diagnostic instrument for common mental disorders. The PHQ-9 is the depression module of the PHQ, used for screening, diagnosing, monitoring and measuring the severity of depression. The PHQ-9 incorporates DSM-IV depression diagnostic criteria with other leading major depressive symptoms into a brief tool, which CuraLinc uses for both clinical and outcomes-measuring purposes.

The PHQ-9 was offered to employees who presented with depression during the initial assessment. Of the 582 program participants who completed the PHQ-9 during the initial assessment, 49 also completed the questionnaire 30 days post-treatment.

From among employees who completed the questionnaire during the assessment and again after 30 days, the average PHQ-9 score improved from 12.1 to 5.9.

Average PHQ-9 Responses

Average PHQ-9 Responses

Distribution of PHQ-9 Responses

Distribution of PHQ-9 Responses

The impact of the EAP was most noticeable among participants who presented with severe, moderately severe or moderate depression. The percentage of EAP participants in these categories dropped from 67.3% to 18.4%, 30 days after EAP treatment was completed.

Percentage of Participants with Higher Levels of Depression

Percentage of Participants with Higher Levels of Depression

  • 38.9% of EAP participants with depression showed significant improvement after using the program, represented by a 10-point (two risk level) gain.

  • 78.8% of employees with moderate, moderately-severe or severe depression migrated to minimal or mild depression after EAP treatment.

PHQ-9 Risk Migration

PHQ-9 Risk Migration

For EAP participants who presented with depression as their primary or secondary presenting issue, CuraLinc added a question to the PHQ-9 tool to assess the impact of the EAP on their personal and professional wellbeing.

In response to the question, ‘How difficult has (the presenting issue) made it for you to work, take care of things or get along with others?

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ABSENTEEISM

The Workplace Outcome Suite (WOS) is a psychometrically-tested and validated five-scale questionnaire, developed by Chestnut Global Partners. The WOS was designed to provide assessment on relevant individual differences that focus on outcomes which are related specifically to EAP interventions and are likely to change across time if treatment is successful, and remain static if it does not. The questionnaire requires responses to statements that refer to aspects of the participant's work and life experience that may be affected by the personal problems that the participant wants to address within the EAP. For the purpose of measuring outcomes, CuraLinc opted to use only the Absenteeism scale of the WOS. The five-question tool asked participants to report work time lost due to personal problems for the previous 30 days.

5,468 program participants completed WOS during the initial assessment, 865 of whom also completed the questionnaire again 30 days post-treatment. From among the 865 participants who completed the post-EAP questionnaire, the average number of hours missed during the previous 30 days based on the employee’s presenting concern dropped from 12.4 hours to 3.7 hours, a gain of 8.7 hours.

Average WOS Results

Average WOS Results

Because just over half (52.6%) of the 865 employees who completed both the assessment and 30-day questionnaire (Group A; n=455) reported time missed from work prior to using the EAP as a result of their presenting concern, it’s important to compare the results from this group to the group of employees who did not miss time prior to using the EAP (Group B; n=410).

While the impact of the program was profound for employees who reported time missed from work prior to using the EAP (Group A; 17 fewer hours missed), the program’s ability to limit time away from work for employees who were not absent from work prior to using the EAP (Group B) is just as significant.

Comparison of WOS Results by Time Missed Prior to Using the EAP

Comparison of WOS Results by Time Missed Prior to Using the EAP

A deeper look into the results from Group A participants (employees who reported time missed from work prior to using the EAP due to their presenting concern) highlighted a few additional impact-related details:

  • 87.3% of employees who missed time from work due to their presenting concern did not miss time after EAP treatment.

  • At the point of engagement, 46.8% of Group A employees missed 16 or more hours from work due to their presenting concern. That figure dropped to 9.0% after EAP participation.

  • 92 employees missed 40 or more hours from work prior to using the EAP. Three-fourths of them (69 employees) missed no time at all after EAP treatment; and the average improvement was 50.6 hours per employee.

WOS ‘Group A’ Absenteeism Breakdown

WOS ‘Group A’ Absenteeism Breakdown

When grouped by the employee’s presenting issue, two concerns stood out.

  • The EAP had the highest impact on absenteeism from employees who presented with substance abuse issues (n=82), with an average of over 36 hours gained after using the program.

  • The EAP was not as impactful on absenteeism from employees who presented with anxiety (n=85), with an increase of only 0.4 hours after EAP participation.

WOS Improvement by Presenting Issue

WOS Improvement by Presenting Issue


ALCOHOL USE

The Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT) is a 10-question screen that was developed by the World Health Organization as a simple way to screen and identify people who are at risk of developing alcohol problems. For the purposes of this study, CuraLinc analyzed post-EAP AUDIT scores to measure the impact of the employee assistance program.

From among EAP participants who completed the AUDIT questionnaire during the initial clinical assessment and again after 30 days, the average AUDIT score improved from 11.3 to 3.6.

Average AUDIT Results

Average AUDIT Results

Beyond the overall improvement reported by participants who used or abused alcohol, several other facts from the analysis illustrated EAP-driven impact and risk migration.

  • Almost 30% of EAP participants who presented with alcohol use fell into one of the two highest risk zones during the initial assessment. After using the EAP, that figure dropped to under 3%.

  • After completing EAP treatment, over 89% of alcohol-using employees were considered low risk (Zone 1).

  • 54% of EAP participants who consume alcohol regularly migrated one or more risk levels after using the EAP.

  • No EAP participants reported moderate or significant deterioration 30 days after treatment was completed.

Distribution of AUDIT Responses

Distribution of AUDIT Responses

AUDIT Risk Migration

AUDIT Risk Migration

ADDITIONAL RESULTS

GENDER

The EAP had a greater impact on absenteeism for male employees compared to females.

 Female employees (n=467) reported missing fewer hours from work than male employees (n=397) prior to using the EAP – and also reported missing more hours than their male counterparts after EAP treatment. The end result, a 5.3 hour improvement for females and a 12.7 hour improvement for males, which represents the largest gender-specific absenteeism difference in the five-year history of this study.


AGE (GENERATION)

Employees born between 1950-1964 reported the highest impact from the EAP.

Much has been written about the differences between younger and older employees and the corresponding productivity levels of each generation. While Baby Boomers reported high productivity gains (6.8 points) and the highest absenteeism reduction (11.7 hours) after using the EAP, Gen-X, Millennial and Gen-Z employees were more likely to use the program before their presenting issue had a significant impact on their job performance.


INDUSTRY TYPE

Technology and manufacturing/distribution employees reported the highest improvement in absenteeism rates and productivity.

Many employees face personal and professional stressors that correspond to their line of work – from nurses who deal with life or death situations every day to teachers who have a tremendous amount of stress in their lives during the weeks leading up to summer vacation.

CuraLinc reviewed the impact of an EAP on employees across eight industries. Although employees in all eight industries improved from ‘Moderate Productivity’ to ‘High Productivity’, those in technology companies reported the highest productivity gain, a change of 8.5 points. Employees who work for manufacturing/distribution companies reported a gain of 17.6 hours, the highest absenteeism-related improvement after EAP participation.


SEASON

EAP-driven absenteeism reduction and productivity improvement was lowest for participants in the Winter.

Historically, EAP utilization rates are highest in the Winter, when situational stressors are more common and conditions like Seasonal Affective Disorder (and its milder version, the “winter blues”) are most prevalent. However, higher utilization doesn’t always correlate to improved outcomes. During the winter months, EAP-driven improvements in productivity (5.0) and reductions in absenteeism (3.9 hours) were lower than in the other three seasons.  


FORMAL MANAGEMENT REFERRALS

Employees who used the EAP under a formal management referral were more likely to report productivity and absenteeism improvement.

Formal management referrals, or FMRs, occur when a manager or Human Resources professional directs an employee to utilize EAP services after formally notifying the employee that he/she has either violated a company policy or exhibited behavior that negatively impacts their productivity and/or the workplace. Given the basis of an FMR, it’s not surprising that employees who use the EAP under these circumstances realize significant productivity gains and lower absenteeism. From among employees who completed the post-treatment survey, 170 used the program as part of an FMR. Their productivity improvement (9.4) and absenteeism reduction (27.0 hours per participant) were both significantly higher than employees who self-referred into the EAP.


PRESENTING ISSUE

The EAP had the greatest impact on employees who presented with job-related stress or substance abuse.

CuraLinc tracked twenty different presenting issues for employees who used the EAP in 2018. The program had the most significant effect on the health and productivity of employees who presented with job stress or substance abuse as their main concern. Employees who used the EAP for job-related stress realized a 9.0 point change in productivity, and those who used the EAP for substance abuse gained an average of 36.2 hours.