An employee assistance program (EAP) is a work-based intervention program that is designed to aid employees to resolve problems, personal or professional, that are affecting their overall productivity. While EAPs started as programs to advice and counsel employees about their personal issues, it has grown and advanced due to the challenging work environment. Presently, EAPs offer a broad range of services which is inclusive of financial help and planning, assisting with work relations and employee-employer relationships, improving work dynamics, boosting performances through coaching and counseling, advising on mental health issues, and aid with substance abuse, child, and eldercare.
There has been a growing demand for EAP as corporates have realized direct betterment of employee output post-implementation of EAPs. SHRM, an association that strives to advise on the creation of better workplaces with high employee engagement, reports a 45% improvement in work-life management of employees, post the implementation of EAPs which has translated into 26% increased productivity for employees and corporations associated with SHRM.
The North American market for employee assistance programs was valued at USD 3.5 billion in 2020 and is expected to grow at a modest CAGR of 1.8% till 2025. However, 2021 is expected to witness a minor decline in the market compared to 2020.
The employee assistance programs are a combination of software that is operational on a 24X7 basis as well as human counselors. With a well-rounded mix of software and a human element, the pricing for EAPs varies drastically. They are sold as bundled packages, the counselors may charge a flat fee on an hourly basis while some of the software may be sold as enterprise editions. Currently, these are some of the prevalent pricing techniques available in the market.
With the functionality of employee assistance programs increasing, the portfolio of product offerings is also increasing. Since one of the pricing schemes is bundled package pricing, the average ticket value of a purchase is also increasing with an expansive portfolio. In case separate services are availed, the price charged is proportional to the value delivered.
With the ongoing pandemic, a sizable portion of the workforce is working remotely. This makes it difficult to effectively organize the employee assistance programs. While the software element streamlines the redundant processes, counseling, one of the most important aspects of this service, needs a human element. While the pandemic has given way to digital counseling, the effectiveness of employee assistance programs without the face-to-face connection is diminished. Several polls have also been conducted which show that over 75% of employees engaging with EAPs prefer face-to-face connection and physical emotional support.
The key service providers of employee assistance programs are Ulliance, ESI Employee Assistance Group, Optum, Humana EAP and Work-Life, ENI, BHS, CuraLinc Healthcare, Integrated Behavioral Health (IBH), Alliance Work Partners, Cascade Centers, Inc., etc. The employee assistance program market features a fragmented competitive landscape with a variety of companies operating in this domain. Additionally, there is also in-house support that several organizations provide which leads to further fragmentation. Grand View Research will help our client identify the best-suited suppliers by mapping their core capabilities and operational efficiency.