A larger percentage of the workforce are accessing Employee Assistance Programmes (EAP) than they were four years ago, Right Management’s annual Clinical Director report reveals.

In the last year, 30,000 employees accessed Right Management’s EAP service for help, an increase from 4.36% to 5.37% in percentage use of the services in 2011.

Kevin Friery, Clinical Director of Right Management, says: “The workplace is experiencing one of its greatest ever periods of pressure. The economic changes of the last two or three years have created instability, uncertainty and insecurity; at the same time, employers need to achieve a high level of performance, productivity and engagement and with a need to deliver more with less. The more effective way of addressing this is to build resilience, support wellness initiatives and promote alignment and engagement amongst employees.”

Although the workplace has been severely affected by the economic changes of the last four years, the sources of people’s stress have not changed significantly. Approximately 85% of the primary source of callers’ difficulties lie outside the workplace, whereas service users identified 15% of their problems as being caused by work itself. The most common issues are anxiety/stress, depression, interpersonal/relationship and self-esteem.

Friery continues: “Gone are the days that work-life balance is talked about as two competing forces at opposite ends of the spectrum. Given that the average duration of sickness absence for stress-related problems currently stands at 30.6 days, workplace counselling that prevents longer employee absence, or even better provides an intervention before absence, will make a material difference that benefits the employer.”

Right Management’s Clinical Director report analyses 300 clients drawn from different business sectors to measure the effectiveness of its counselling. Core-PC3 a powerful tool analysed the clinical state of people entering therapy and measured it against the state at the end of therapy. Of those 300 clients sampled, 50% were public sector employees and 50% were from the private sector.

Friery says: “The evidence from this study shows that the counselling we deliver is effective and results in real, measurable change for the better. There is no evidence to substantiate the claim that public sector employees are more needy of help than their private sector counterparts. The differences that are experienced can be attributed solely to population size; larger employers are more likely to encounter staff that need help. This has implications for HR and line managers in larger organisations.”

Friery concludes: “We believe no organisation will be successful in a globally competitive world with anything but healthy and productive people. Cost efficient solutions that support wellness and address psychological pressure have become an economic imperative.”