Employee Assistance Programs Prove Effective

THE JOURNAL RECORD, February 17, 1993 | Go to article overview
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Employee Assistance Programs Prove Effective


American Express Co. saved $3 for every dollar spent on employee assistance. American Telephone and Telegraph Co. saved almost a half million dollars and pushed employee job retention to 97 percent. These results were obtained within two years using an Employee Assistance Program.

In fact, the majority of Fortune 500 companies now utilize these programs with continuing success. But what are they and how can Oklahoma executives bring such cost saving programs to their businesses?

An Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is a service designed to help employees with personal problems which may influence productivity. Generally, small numbers of employees use most of the medical services and are absent from work most often. The common problems presented to Employee Assistance Programs include alcohol and substance abuse, emotional, family, health or other personal problems.

For example, alcohol abuse involves 5 percent to 10 percent of employees and 25 percent of all families in America. Twenty percent more employees have a psychiatric condition which would improve with treatment. These health problems cost American business between $58 million and $102 million yearly. It is imperative then for Employee Assistance Programs to identify and minimize problems at the earliest stage using appropriate resources.

By doing this effectively, typical cost-benefit rations range from $2.50 to $4 for each dollar spent. Effectiveness can be measured by reviewing before and after figures for absenteeism, job injuries, tardiness, use of medical benefits and quality or productivity. The best programs provide for voluntary participation by employees, confidentiality of information and the opportunity to enter into the program without outside referral.

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