Investment in prevention and positive proactive mental health services for employees yields the largest ROI for organizations.

Re-Sources Organizational Support Newsletter

How to Choose an EAP Provider

There is a wide range of mental health/EAP program models available today.

At Source Line we believe it’s important, when purchasing a service, that you’re aware of the spectrum of services available, what their return on investment will probably be, and the direct matching of costs to specific services rendered.

Source Line regularly provides “work-based services” to our corporate clients. Over the past 10 years we’ve seen Human Resource functions increasingly out-sourced. And as this has happened, we have been consulted with more to provide a “psychological” perspective on specific situations. Sometimes this has led to working with the HR or Health & Safety professional in a company to develop an organization-wide intervention as a step to “raising-the-bar” for behavior generally.

Here are some questions to ask when choosing a program.

  1. How is service delivered?
    1. Face-to-face meetings?
    2. Telephone consultations?
    3. On-line?
    4. How can service interface with your organization?
      1. Confidential client contact – counselling
      2. Does EAP provide work-based services such as supervisor consultations regarding workplace incidents or consultation regarding issues such as harassment, respectful workplace, or re-structuring?
  2. What are the qualifications of the EAP provider?
    1. Professional qualifications and years of experience
    2. EAP experience of the provider
    3. What knowledge of your industry does the provider have?
    4. Can the EAP provider give references of key people in other organizations similar to yours with whom you can candidly discuss the services they have received?
  3. How does the EAP provider demonstrate accountability?
    1. What is a “case”? How does the EAP quantify it’s activity? (New Case; Active Case; Return Case; Closed Case)
    2. Quarterly non-identifying utilization statistics including problem issues?
    3. Annual or Semi-annual “renewal” meetings with company or joint company/employee group to hear input about the services and make changes where necessary?
    4. Confidential written surveys completed by those who have used the service which are returned to a designated person(s) in the company?
  4. Why is your organization looking at having an EAP?
    1. Is it for the counseling services?
    2. Are there organizational issues on the horizon that an EAP could assist with?
  5. What knowledge of EAPs do your organization’s supervisors, managers and union officers have and what recommendations would they make as to what they want from an EAP?
    1. With a list of EAP services in hand interview key managers, supervisors and union members (or employee leaders) about what they want from an EAP.
      1. Need EAP available if there is a critical incident?
      2. Need EAP available to refer a struggling employee?
      3. Need one to help train supervisors to manage low producing employees?
      4. Need EAP that can contribute actively to positively improving workplace culture in partnership with all the stakeholders of the organization? (Training on Bill 168; Information sessions on Conflict Resolution; Training sessions about Enabling Unacceptable Behaviour, etc).
  6. Be certain the EAP provider will demonstrate genuine ability and interest in providing value to your organization.
    1. Are Lunch & Learns part of the EAP contract?
    2. What resources are available on-line from your EAP provider?
    3. Is the EAP counseling service limited to a specific number of sessions or is it un-capped? (Source Line prefers to provide un-capped services. Often the problem that brings a person to ask for assistance is part of a larger problem for which assigning a pre-determined number of sessions is not only unhelpful but can be detrimental. Short-term counseling providers will say there are ways of managing this problem but our experience has taught us that an un-capped service is the best and most ethical manner of providing assistance.

To help you make the right choice for your company, here are brief overviews of the six basic existing models of mental health/EAP services.

Types of EAP Service Models