2021 Workplace Outcome Suite (WOS) 5th Annual Report Supports EAP Counseling's Positive Impact on Employee Work Outcomes

The 2021 Workplace Outcome Suite (WOS) 5th Annual Report is now available to the public. The WOS, an EAPA-endorsed tool, demonstrates the effectiveness of EAPs in quantifiable business terms. 

Research results over an 11-year period (from 2010 to early 2021) for employees who used EAP counseling found significant improvements in work presenteeism, hours of missed work, distress over the workplace, employee engagement in their work, and overall life satisfaction. Also, findings showed these improvements in work-related outcomes were consistently obtained across many contexts even during the challenges of delivering counseling during the COVID-19 global pandemic.

The 2021 WOS Report is based on data shared by over 50 different EAP programs and vendors for their users of counseling and other individual EAP services across a wide range of contexts. Among the over 45,000 cases with baseline profile data, most of the cases were living in the United States (77%), with another 13% from China, 6% from New Zealand, and 4% from 37 other countries. The reasons for seeking counseling from an EAP included: mental health issues (30% of all cases); personal life or stress issues (29%); marital or family relationship issues (19%); work problems or work-related stress (19%); with alcohol and substance use issues accounting for less than 3% of cases. The number of counseling sessions used averaged 3.3 sessions per case over a treatment period of about seven weeks.

Read more below:

Past Reports

2020 Workplace Outcome Suite (WOS) 

For 2020, the study sample included 35,693 employees with self-reported data collected over a period of 10 years, between 2010 and 2019. A total of 38 different sources provided valid data on all five WOS measures: 20 EAP vendors, 17 employer-based programs and one industry group of external vendors in the United States. Although 26 different countries are represented, 97 percent of the total cases were from three countries: The United States (72 percent), China (22 percent), and New Zealand (3 percent). For more information read the press release.

  • Read the 2020 Report, Part 1
  • Read the 2020 Report, Part 2
    This is the 2020 report. This report released in September of 2020 uses data collected between year 2010 through the prior year of 2019, but the naming conventions were adjusted between 2019 and 2020 to reflect the year of report release, not source data. So there is no 2019 Report. Moving forward, all reports will use the prior full year data but be named for the year of release.

EAPA has announced its official support and endorsement of the Workplace Outcome Suite (WOS) as an EAP best practice for measuring and evaluating work-related outcomes of EA services.  The WOS is a free, psychometrically valid and reliable, and easy to administer tool developed by Chestnut Global Partners (CGP) Division of Commercial Science.  Under the terms of an agreement between EAPA and CGP, an annual industry-wide aggregate report, including pre and post WOS data across EAP settings, will be available on a yearly basis.  

For more information about the EAPA/CGP agreement and how your EAP can use the WOS at no charge, please see the FAQs below. Questions? Best approach is to email Ivan Steenstra PhD at ISteenstra@morneaushepell.com asking to set up a time to talk. You can also call Dr. Steenstra at (416) 445.8899 ext. 3452.


What is the WOS-5?
A tool specifically designed for EAPs to measure the workplace outcomes of EAP services. The WOS-5 is:
  • scientifically validated and tested
  • focused on “workplace” (not clinical) outcomes
  • free with the signing of a license agreement
  • currently being used by over 400 EAP organizations
  • short (5 items) and able to detect sensitive change – was derived from the original 25-item version
  • easy to administer as a before/after EAP use measure
Why have EAPA and CGP developed this agreement?
Companies, government agencies, and other organizations in today’s world are looking for objective data to validate and justify all expenditures.  To continue to thrive, the EAP field needs to be able to measure and demonstrate its effectiveness in business terms.

EAPA believes that the value proposition of the EAP field will be significantly strengthened when a critical mass of organizations measure workplace outcomes of EA services using the same “yardstick.”  Sufficient data would allow us, as a profession, to document and demonstrate the effectiveness of EA services across types of industry, sizes of organizations, and geography, as well as organization by organization.

The WOS is currently the only publicly available, free instrument that has been psychometrically validated and tested for use in EAP settings.  That makes it the best available industry-wide yardstick.  Under the agreement between EAPA and CGP, EAPA will promote and encourage the adoption of the WOS as a standard EAP practice and, in turn, CGP will produce for EAPA members (as an exclusive EAPA member benefit) an annual aggregate report pooling all the pre/post WOS data collected  industry-wide.  This will be a significant step forward for the EAP field.

What five areas get measured in the WOS-5?
  1. Absenteeism – number of hours in the last 30 days the employee missed work due to their EAP concern
  2. Presenteeism  - evaluates how distracted the employee is at work due to their EAP concern
  3. Work Engagement  - focuses on how involved or stimulated the employee is by his or her job
  4. Work Distress – concentrates on the employee’s sense of “dread” about going to work
  5. Life Satisfaction – a general measure of personal well-being or quality of life
Why should my EAP measure outcomes?
Our historic focus for measuring EAP success has relied on utilization rates and client satisfaction surveys – neither of which are actual workplace outcomes. Many EAPs don’t know the extent to which their particular program or interventions improve the work performance of employees who use the service, resulting in employers, purchasers or stakeholders focusing on two metrics that are well known: COST and UTILIZATION. Without quantitative measures of value, many business leaders remain skeptical of the basic value proposition of services like EAP, Work-Life, and Wellness. 
Has the WOS been used in any scientific studies?
The most rigorous, empirical study to date on EA services and workplace outcomes used the WOS to offer causal evidence of EAP impact. The study site was Colorado State Government employees (sample frame of 27,000) and the method included an intervention group of EAP clients (N = 156) and a well-matched comparison group of non-EAP users (N = 188). The study concluded that employees receiving EAP services improved work functioning more than similar employees who did not receive services.
How is the WOS-5 administered?
The WOS was validated using two separate modes of delivery: (1) counselor administered to subjects over the phone or in-person; (2) subject self-administered over the internet or by paper and pen. Both modes work equally well.  
How is a WOS evaluation typically designed?
EAP employee clients are given the WOS BEFORE introducing the EAP intervention and then AFTER the intervention (usually about 90 days after the intake to see if EAP had a sustained impact).The post-test should not be administered immediately after the final EAP visit. This design, known as “Correlational” or “Before/After” can identify IF employees are improving at work. EA providers who implement the WOS use a variety of methods to collect this data. Some use Survey Monkey, others commercially available EAP software where the WOS-5 is embedded in the software. Some continue to use “paper & pen” and then record responses in a spreadsheet.
How is data typically collected?
Most EAPs conduct the pre-test over the phone at the end of an intake – this usually adds about 2-3 minutes to an average intake. Some EA providers have the client complete the intake in a waiting area before meeting with an EA counselor or clinician. The post-test is usually sent out about 90 days after the pre-test as an e-mail link, or the client (subject) is contacted by phone to complete the post-test. All of this requires getting good locator information at the point of intake. We recommend a protocol of at least three follow-up attempts such as e-mail-phone-e-mail or phone-email-phone before considering the subject non-responsive.
How is data analyzed?
If you submit your de-identified data to CGP using the EAPA WOS-5 item spreadsheet, CGP will run a complimentary analysis using IBM SPSS version 22. 
What is the biggest challenge?
Getting subjects to respond to the follow-up post-test is a major factor in the success of the evaluation. 
How does my EAP benefit by using the WOS-5?
Your stakeholders or client organizations are most interested in the workplace impact of their particular EAP. By participating, you will be able to produce workplace outcome reports that are specific to your service or enterprise. You are also eligible to receive complimentary data analytics when you submit your de-identified and accurately populated spreadsheets to CGP for analysis.
Where can I get more information?
More information is available on the WOS website at http://www.eapresearch.com/workplace-outcome-suite-overview.html or send your questions or a request for a complimentary consultation to dsharar@chestnut.org
How do I get started?
  1. Sign and return the License Agreement
  2. View the WOS tutorial at www.eapresearch.com
  3. Define your population or sample of subjects (for example, all EAP employee clients or just select client organizations)
  4. Gauge your sample size (this may require a statistical technique known as a “power analysis”)
  5. Set up a data collection process that fits within your EAP delivery system
  6. Train all staff or parties involved in data collection
  7. Monitor your post-test or follow-up response rates
  8. Populate the attached spreadsheet with data (as error-free and complete as possible)
  9. Questions? Best approach is to email Ivan Steenstra PhD at ISteenstra@morneaushepell.com asking to set up a time to talk. You can also call Dr. Steenstra at (416) 445.8899 ext. 3452.