Canadian Treasurer

November 17, 2014

Employers see significant ROI when helping their employees deal with personal and emotional issues

Toronto, ON-- Return on Investment for Employee and Family Assistance Programs’, a study conducted by the Morneau Shepell research group, found that every $1 invested in an employee and family assistance program (EFAP) translates into a return on investment of $8.70 through a combination of improved productivity at work and less time away from work.

"One of the most critical factors for business success is employee productivity: it impacts an organization's bottom line," says Paula Allen, vice-president of research and integrative solutions at Morneau Shepell. "The personal issues of employees impact their productivity and providing them with an EFAP can help to resolve those issues and protect their productivity."

The study is the largest Canadian study to assess the impact of employee and family assistance programs on employees and their productivity. It is based on data collected from 80,000 cases in Canada of Morneau Shepell's EFAP, the largest employee and family assistance program in the country.  

EFAP users completed a questionnaire at their first EFAP session after seeking help and another questionnaire at their last EFAP session, providing information on changes in productivity or absenteeism at work.

  • 63 per cent of employees said their productivity at work had been negatively impacted in the four weeks before they contacted their EFAP because of the issue that led to them calling.

  • Employees seeking help through their EFAP recorded a 35.9 per cent increase in productivity at work, compared to their productivity just before seeking help.

  • Employees using their EFAP recorded less time away from work after getting help through the EFAP.

  • 46 per cent of employees reaching out to the EFAP said they would have lost time from work were it not for the support they received through the EFAP. In addition one third of those employees also said they would have been off work for more than 20 days were it not for the support they received through the EFAP.

Allen adds, "An EFAP is a highly cost-effective and easy-to-implement step for an organization seeking to support its employees and protect the company's productivity. The typical cost of an EFAP is about one per cent of the cost of a health benefits plan. An EFAP is available 24/7 to employees and their family members at any state of need or crisis. Because EFAPs have been around for a while, they are sometimes taken for granted. This new study shows their value very clearly."

The study was conducted in consultation with Dr. Mark Attridge, a well-known independent social psychologist and research scholar specializing in the fields of workplace mental health and employee assistance programs. The dollar value for return on investment was calculated using the average wage for each client's industry based on July 2013 Statistics Canada data and the case cost was standardized to the average.





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