EAPs have changed significantly from their original appearance as industrial alcoholism programs.

Most early EAPs were internal programs operated by large work organizations. Today, most EAP services are purchased by employers from EAP organizations, many of which provide counseling and other services through external network service providers.

The following are three options for creating an EAP:

Source: Orientation to Employee Assistance Programs – www.EAPASSN.org


Internal EAP Model

• Internal EAP staff model (Services provided by work organization employees)
• Member assistance programs (Services provided by trained union members/employees)

External Vendor Supplied Programs

• External EAP staff model (Services provided by EAP vendor’s employees)
• EAP network model (Services provided by call center and contracted affiliates)

Combined Models

• Hybrid – provided by an external vendor, includes in-person, on-site services
• Blended – internal program, may have own affiliate network, provides services to other work organizations, usually in the local area.

Once you decide what type of EAP model is the best fit for your company, contact a couple of EAP providers and ask for a proposal.

The EAP services to your company will take the form of a contract with the EAP provider that you choose. This contract will include the specific services that are available to your employees and managers.


While there is a charge for EAP services, the benefits are significant

  • Reductions in health care costs
  • Fewer hours of missed work/sick time
  • Reduced incidents of “presenteeism” due to distracted employees
  • Problems with morale due to dysfunctional workers.

Return on Investment

Research has calculated that for every dollar spent, the employer gains an average of $2-5 in return.

Buyer beware
Free employee assistance programs, those combined with a health care plan, can incur high health care costs for employers.