Feb 18, 2016 2:01 PM

4 Factors That Impact EAP Utilization

When employers review their EAP utilization, they often look for increases or decreases over time, or for differences between one location and another. However, it’s often difficult for human resources or management to determine the underlying reasons for their EAP utilization patterns and especially when compared to an external reference point, such as an industry survey.

Below, you’ll find four of the most significant factors that influence EAP utilization. Understanding these factors can help you develop strategies for improving utilization among specific groups and/or across your organization.

  1. 1. Integration with Corporate Policies & Practices

One of the most effective ways to promote EAP utilization is to integrate EAP program components into corporate policies.  For example, if a manager suspects that an employee has a drug or alcohol problem, a policy may state that a mandatory referral to the EAP is required for an assessment and treatment referral.  Corporate risk professionals may include EAP counseling in their policies on how to respond to the threat of or actual response to workplace violence.

  1. 2. Personalized Promotion

Employers are increasingly moving to an integrated portal in which benefits are personalized to individual employees based on their health risk assessment results and personal traits and demographics.  The portal then leverages CRM-like software to electronically promote those benefits that would be of the greatest value to the employee.

Keeping the right employee aware of the right benefit at the right time increases the likelihood that a benefit is utilized.

  1. 3. Workforce Profile

Each workplace is unique, but in general, higher utilization typically occurs within female-based workforces that are involved in the helping professions such as healthcare and education as well as among white-collar employees. Higher utilization among women does not indicate that they are more likely to feel stressed or to experience personal difficulties—it simply means that women are often more willing to seek out help in times of need.

Employers with manufacturing environments are increasingly utilizing health champions to promote health and well-being among employees at specific location(s).  A wellness champion can have a positive impact on promoting awareness and utilization of EAP services.

  1. 4. Cultural Norms

LIfeMatters Global has shown that within certain cultures reaching out to a “stranger” to address an emotional or work-related concern is discouraged or not understood.  For example, utilization in Latin American is over 12%.  The same services in Eastern Europe and the Middle East achieve a 3-4% utilization rate. The EAP benefit must be explained and promoted in ways that are culturally relevant in order to optimize utilization across all cultures.

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