Magazine article The Journal of Employee Assistance

The "Market" Doesn't Drive Pricing-We Do

Magazine article The Journal of Employee Assistance

The "Market" Doesn't Drive Pricing-We Do

Article excerpt

Economists have been expressing concern lately about the possibility of deflation in national and world economies. Public policy makers, knowing the insidious effects of this condition, are considering taking far-reaching measures to prevent it.

Meanwhile, we in the EA profession have been caught in a deflationary spiral of decreasing prices and budgets for more than a decade. How can we break out of this spiral? What measures can we take to influence pricing and help ensure we are compensated fairly for the services we deliver?

Pricing affects everything we do. Our ability to charge a reasonable price for our services affects the quality of our programs, our own livelihoods and professional self-esteem, and ultimately even the survival of EAPs as a viable concept.

This issue of the Journal of Employee Assistance focuses on pricing and how EAPs can break out of the "commodity trap" in which they find themselves. Many of us blame the "market" for our pricing predicament, and certainly our corporate and organizational customers are always on the lookout for ways to reduce the prices they pay for EAPs (and all other goods and services). But this natural customer behavior is not the source of our pricing problem. That problem--and the solutions to it--lie within our own profession.

For years, we have talked about the importance of "making the business case" for EAPs. Unfortunately, this alone will not help us with our pricing problem unless we can make a "differential business case" that demonstrates that the more a company invests in its program, the greater the return it can expect from its investment. EAPs that demonstrate better outcomes in terms that their customers value will be able to charge higher prices.

In the first issue of the Journal of Employee Assistance, we focused on strategies for positioning EAPs to exert maximum influence within work organizations. …

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