Standards for public agencies

2020 Edition

Employee Assistance Program Services (PA-EAP) 8: Assessment and Action Planning

Each client participates in the development of an assessment-based action plan that is the basis for delivery of appropriate services and support.
2020 Edition




Employee Assistance Programs help agencies achieve business health and productivity goals, and support individuals working to maintain or improve their productivity, functioning, and pro-social behavior, as well as remain at or return to the workplace.
Full Implementation, Outstanding Performance
A rating of (1) indicates that the agency's practices fully meet the standard and reflect a high level of capacity.  
  • All elements or requirements outlined in the standard are evident in practice, with rare or no exceptions: exceptions do not impact service quality or agency performance. 
Substantial Implementation, Good Performance
A rating of (2) indicates that an agency's infrastructure and practices are basically sound but there is room for improvement.
  • The majority of the standards requirements have been met and the basic framework required by the standard has been implemented. 
  • Minor inconsistencies and not yet fully developed practices are noted; however, these do not significantly impact service quality or agency performance.

Partial Implementation, Concerning Performance
A rating of (3) indicates that the agency's observed infrastructure and/or practices require significant improvement.  

  • The agency has not implemented the basic framework of the standard but instead has in place only part of this framework.  
  • Omissions or exceptions to the practices outlined in the standard occur regularly, or practices are implemented in a cursory or haphazard manner.  
  • Service quality or agency functioning may be compromised.  
  • Capacity is at a basic level.
Unsatisfactory Implementation or Performance
A rating of (4) indicates that implementation of the standard is minimal or there is no evidence of implementation at all.  
  • The agency’s observed service delivery infrastructure and practices are weak or non-existent; or show signs of neglect, stagnation, or deterioration.
Self-Study EvidenceOn-Site EvidenceOn-Site Activities
  • Assessment procedures
  • Copy of assessment tool(s)
  • Action planning procedures
No On-Site Evidence
  • Interviews may include:
    1. Program director
    2. Relevant personnel
    3. Clients
  • Review client records

PA-EAP 8.01

EAP counselors/consultants obtain relevant assessment information including, as appropriate to the service provided:
  1. demographic information;
  2. the nature of the request or presenting problem;
  3. any workplace related issues;
  4. any immediate safety risks to self or others;
  5. environment and home situation;
  6. financial status and health insurance;
  7. social and peer group support;
  8. interests, skills, and aptitudes;
  9. work history and military service;
  10. medical history;
  11. physical illness/somatic variables/medical treatment;
  12. the use of alcohol or other drugs;
  13. depression screening;
  14. ongoing safety concerns;
  15. behavioral/cognitive patterns that cause health risks, based on physical, emotional, behavioral, or social conditions; and
  16. legal, vocational, and/or wellness needs of the client.
Examples: Workplace related issues can include, for example, co-worker conflicts, conflicts with managers, drug policy violations, manager consultations, performance improvement issues, and critical incidents.

PA-EAP 8.02

At the initial counseling session, the counselor and the client:
  1. assess the underlying problem;
  2. discuss available options;
  3. address how the EAP can support the achievement of desired outcomes; and
  4. determine whether to retain the case for short-term counseling or to refer to an outside provider for ongoing treatment.
NA The EAP does not provide clinical services.

PA-EAP 8.03

An assessment-based action plan is developed in a timely manner with the full participation of the client and includes agreed upon goals, desired outcomes, and timeframes for achieving them.


Some clients that receive only short-term services may not implement a full planning process whereas others with more severe clinical issues, such as high-risk cases with depression or an addiction, likely will need a plan for continued support and monitoring of treatment delivery and improvement/relapse over time. Depending on the severity of the clinical issue and the corresponding action plan, expectations for short- and long-term follow-up between the client and EAP staff may be required.


Action planning is often done within the first or second session, after the initial assessment is completed, safety risks are resolved, and potential resources for support and treatment have been identified to meet the personal and financial needs of the client.

PA-EAP 8.04

The EAP establishes a system for review of cases and case consultation.