Significant WOS Study: Internal EAP Results.

Author:Attridge, Mark
Position:Feature article

Introduced in 2010 by Chestnut Global Partners, the Workplace Outcome Suite (WOS) has emerged as the EAPA-endorsed, industry standard self-report tool for outcomes measurement in the EAP field (Lennox, Sharar, Schmitz, & Goehner, 2010). The WOS measures five employee outcomes: absenteeism, presenteeism, workplace distress, work engagement, and life satisfaction. Other than absenteeism, which is answered by filling in a specific number of hours, the items are rated on a 1 to 5 Likert-type scale.

Reasons Results are Important

This article presents significant WOS data from more than 500 cases over a five-year span. The retrospective data analysis is noteworthy for a number of reasons.

* Most of the results in WOS literature have been taken from external vendors of EAP services; the data presented in this article is from an internal EAP and work-life program at Partners Health Care System.

* The data compares results against a matched group of over 700 cases from similar internal programs in the United States. The findings for internal programs are also compared with those of external EAP vendors in the US.

* This is also one of the first reports to feature WOS results based on the reduction in problem status approach, which was introduced in 2017 as an alternative method for analyzing WOS data over time.

This approach asks, for each problem area, how many employees are having problems, and then, how many of these same cases have improved enough at the post-or follow-up stage to no longer be at the problem level?

More on Measuring Workplace Outcomes

In 2017, Chestnut Global Partners released a comprehensive report of normative WOS scores based on over 16,000 EAP counseling cases worldwide. At the EAPA 2017 Conference & Expo--Los Angeles, EAPA CEO Greg DeLapp, WOS co-creator Dave Sharar, and researcher Attridge introduced a new analytic approach, as noted in the preceding paragraph. This method coded WOS scores into two basic conditions: either having a problem within the particular outcome area or not having a problem--and then testing for a reduction from before, to after EAP counseling in the percentage of problem-level cases on each WOS measure.

For example, agreement with the statement "I dread going into work" is considered having a "problem" within the outcome area of work distress. Thus the percentage of the total EAP caseload who dread going to work in the past month is calculated both at the start of EAP intervention and 60 days' post-EAP intervention. A positive result overall for the EAP is to then see a reduction in the percentage of cases with work distress.

About Partners EAP

The EAP at Partners HealthCare System is an internal program with 20 clinical and support staff located at nine offices in the Boston area. The EAP supports more than 76,000 employees who work at the two largest academic medical centers in Boston --Brigham and Women's Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital--and is also affiliated with Harvard Medical School.

Since 2009, Partners has been one of the few providers (including internal programs and vendors) in the US that is accredited in EAP by the Council on Accreditation (COA). External program accreditation demonstrates a commitment to continuous quality improvement and ensures the delivery of services that follow EAP industry best practices.

Why a Retrospective Data Analysis?

As part of a long-term quality improvement...

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