In today’s highly labor intensive business world, Employees’ assistance Programs play vital role in supporting employees while they are dealing with their professional problems. It has been observed that though employee assistance programs have developed at a vibrant rate since years, their effectiveness in improving job performance of employees has been still into question (Ahuja, 2015). The purpose of this research proposal is to evaluate the usefulness of EAP as an intervention model/tool in managing the job performance and healthy living of the employees in the government sector of Abu Dhabi. This is triggered by the reality that many government organizations continue to lose their employees because of their ill polices and EAPs. The companies in Abu Dhabi are represented by a culture of ‘them’ and ‘us, where the former refers to the management and the later refers to the employees, thus resulting in reduced staff morale and job dissatisfaction.
It makes the researcher to undertake the study on the employee assistance programs in Abu Dhabi to examine their utilization, awareness, and success. This study will find out the relevance of the implementation of effective EPS for creating a culture of caring of employees at the workplace. The system of EAP is found to be beneficial to attract new employees in the government sector as well as to retain new ones. For the purpose of reviewing the literature, the researcher would assess various journals published since 2010 in English language during the analysis. Moreover, the researcher will evaluate each article in the context of program depiction, research design, research methods, measured variables and research outcomes. The outcomes from the study would aim to investigate the various practical as well as conceptual strengths of the EAPs in the government sector in Abu Dhabi. These issues will take into consideration the lack of administered research techniques and short time intervals between pre and post examination measures. In addition to this, the researcher would use applied research in this study for knowing the need for the Employees assistance programs as well as how best the programs can be effectively implemented in Abu Dhabi. A mixture of an explanatory-descriptive design would be used for this study due to little availability of the information regarding about the phenomenon or program.
The title of this research is ‘Employee assistance program as a tool to administer healthy living and job performance among employees – An intervention model in Abu Dhabi Government Sector’.
This research would evaluate the efficacy and satisfaction with the Employee assistance programs in government affiliate firms from both the employees and the management’s outlook. For accomplishing the research objectives, following three specific research questions would be addressed in this study:
RQ 1: What are the different Employee assistance programs organized in Abu Dhabi Government sector for employees?
RQ2: How the EAPs in Abu Dhabi government sector affect the employees’ job performance and motivation level?
RQ3: What can be the various ways in which EAPs in Abu Dhabi’s government sector can be made more effective in enhancing the job performance and healthy living of employees?
In the opinion of Khan, (2014), Employee Assistance refers to a general term which indicates a less or more structured programs which makes use of professional, technical, and administrative human services and personnel on employment or contractual basis. This program is organized by the government to fulfill the needs of employees in trouble. EAPs are a work based program which support in the identification of productivity problems of staff hampered by the personal concerns such as marital, health, financial, family, emotional, legal and other concerns which are likely to affect the employees’ job performance. The specific activities of EAP’s take in expert discussion and training to resolve problems. It also includes structuring associations between workplace and group of people resources which provide such services.
According to Khalfan et al. (2016), Employee Assistance Programs are designed to assist the employees with practical and valuable solutions to their personal as well as work related issues and improve their job performance along with physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing (Mackey, and Gass, 2015). EAPs are important as these provide employees access to a number of services. In order to identify the areas of improvement, EAPs also facilitate employers to conduct confidential assessments to indicate where the employees want to emphasize on psychologically or professionally. Ahuja, (2015) has observed that in government sector of Abu Dhabi, robust mental health care is considered as an important benefit for the employees under EAP, in addition with access to counselors free of cost. This mental health program is necessary for employees to reduce their stress from the job, exploitation, legal issues, interpersonal conflicts, financial problems, and life incidents. Employee assistance programs help the employees to take them away from all such things which can distract their mind from what they need to focus on.
In the view of Ibrahim, and Al Falasi, (2014), EAPs in an organization can also support employees with mediation services in case employees feel that disagreement resolution among them may need it. Apart from employees, EAPs are also beneficial for the employers as they can integrate risk management, training sessions, consultation, and intervention programs in it in order to discuss on different health topics for each employee at the workplace. Moreover, it has been noticed that EAPs have been advantageous in terms of delivering high rate of return on the investments made by employers. In context of Abu Dhabi, Halbouni et al. (2016) has stated that UAE is a divided nation as each Emirate has its own state government which is responsible for designing its own laws and regulations in the territory.
In the recent years, there have been observed a number of vital changes in the Employee Assistance Programs in the government sector of some of the Emirates. These changes have made the UAE employment structure more diverse than it was before. The EAPs for the government employees in Abu Dhabi include three ‘one to one’ counselor sessions in the standard package. The government also provides a local toll free number to call a doctor on 24 by 7 every day in a year, employee welfare seminars and variety of wellness packages. On the other hand, Momani, and Mumani, (2017) has examined that Abu Dhabi government do not allow the employees to live with health insurance facilities and turn around the dice when it comes to the risk of operating the medical debt.
However, Prabhakar, and Brnia, (2016) contended that government sector in Abu Dhabi incorporates wellness, behavioral health, Human resource, FMLA, absence management services, and work life policies. The government employees are also offered the training for developing skills and passion to assist them in enhancing their career and job satisfaction level. The employees are provided with the effective advice and solutions so that they can easily deal during their challenging times in both personal as well as professional life. Gass, (2015), has investigated that many of the government companies in Abu Dhabi such as Abu Dhabi Ports Company, Arab Media Group, and Abu Dhabi Investment Council provide a unique array of stressors for employees, which make having Employee Assistance Programs an integral part including stay away from family, frequent tours and long working hours.
Moreover, a flourishing EAP for the other countries postal facilities saved 2 million dollar after deducting all expenses while for Abu Dhabi government sector, these cost over 9 billion dollar every year. In the opinion of Gass, (2015), EAPs in Abu Dhabi government sector are designed to implement a productive and safe workforce and EAP forms a major component of the principle ‘We value our people’. The companies aim to attentively support their mission by facilitating the employees across the globe with a range of resources such as job coaching and emergency assistance.
According to Mackey, and Gass, (2015), the government plans of Abu Dhabi aim to provide a comprehensive Employee Assistance program entailing employee friendly rules and benefits. These benefits include outpatient and inpatient cover with yearly minimum coverage amount aggregating AED 160000, leaves for children and newborns, maternity insurance service without waiting period, and coverage of severe chronic conditions of minimum AED 100000 each annum. The EAPs also include basic healthcare amenities throughout the Abu Dhabi and Ground ambulatory services. In support of this, Hodgson, and Hanson, (2014), added that Abu Dhabi government introduces Abu Dhabi Government Employee Travel packages which are built by the Etithad Airways.
The EAP programs in Abu Dhabi government sector also provides the government an access to a number of exclusive rewards when the employees use Etithad Airways for either leisure or business purpose and this benefit increases with the frequency of travelling. Moreover, the employees are also provided a healthy standard of living at all the stages of their lives. The pension scheme is also constantly reviewed for accommodating the changes to the cost of living and ensuring equality and welfare of retirees as well as working employees. However, has observed that the government contribution in the yearly budget of Abu Dhabi Retirement Pensions and Benefits Fund is only 6%. Although the government employees are allowed retirement pensions but on certain terms and conditions set by Abu Dhabi Retirement Pensions and Benefits Fund.
In the view of Hodgson, and Hanson, (2014), Abu Dhabi government has put efforts to improve the efficiency and quality of the Employee Assistance Programs offered to the employees by polling resources with other government organizations. In 2008, the government has set up call centre with the ADRBPF to discuss the matters associated with annual declaration and contributions. In this view, ADRPBF introduced the ‘Tawasol’ outreach plan for providing necessary assistance to the beneficiaries and pensioners working in Abu Dhabi. The effectiveness of the programs could be seen through the rehabilitation of their employees and the rise in the productivity.
Research Methodology is the process which is applied in designing systematic observations or gathering evidences, data and information in order to carry out the research objectives effectively. In this study, the methodology that the researcher will use is explained. It will cover research design, research approach, data collection method, sample size and sampling methods and techniques.
The researcher will conduct a evaluative research and a descriptive design in order to answer the research questions. Also, the researcher will adopt an explanatory research design to explore the different perceptions of effectiveness of government employee’s assistance programs (Silverman, 2016). This explanatory research design will be used carefully to formulate the problem along with the measurements and basis of failure or success. Ethical considerations will be given first priority while applying this type of research by focussing on day to day real life situations. This design will assist the researcher in investigating the differences between the different Employee assistance programs in the government sector of Abu Dhabi. These will be evaluated on the basis of the variables such as management level commitment, perceptions of usefulness of employee assistance packages in government owned organizations, rating of Programs, awareness of employees’ issues, and management decisions regarding EAPs.
In order to accomplish the research objectives, the researcher will use both quantitative as well as qualitative approaches. Both these approaches would facilitate the researcher in effectively analysing the employees in terms of his/her own definition and knowledge of the world around him/her. The qualitative approach will assist the researcher in understanding the experiences of individuals regarding the employees’ welfare in the Abu Dhabi government sector from the perspective of the 50 individuals involved. This is necessary because richness, complexities, and diversities of these employees’ lives can only be analysed by knowing what actually is going on in their day to day life and incorporating the context in which they work.
Since it would not be possible for the researcher to use every employee in the government sector therefore the sample will be drawn from various ranks and stakeholders within the workplaces. Sampling implies taking a piece of a population or universe as an indication of that population or universe (Silverman, 2016) .
For the purpose of this study, the analysis would consist of employees of the government companies in Abu Dhabi. The sampling strategy will be in essence non-probability. Also, the purposive sampling will be used. Due to the deployment of two different types of evaluation, each of these will be dealt individually in terms of sampling strategy. However, some research sampling strategies in employee assistance programs’ analysis will be used prior the application of the two types of evaluation.
The sampling group in this study will consist of employees who work in the government organizations organizing EAPs. The sampling group will also include the all the managers of the government companies, who are concerned with the human resource policies in their respective organizations. The objective of the method will be to create an understanding and effectiveness of employees’ wellness and execution of EAPs in the government companies along with the effect of these programs on the healthy living and job satisfaction of employees.
For the purpose of this study, the researcher will apply probability sampling method. In this method, the researcher will be ensured that each individual in the defined population has the equal chance of getting selected (Silverman, 2016). This probability sampling will also imply the adoption of random sampling technique. It will remove the subjectivity in selecting the sample and the researcher will get an unbiased way to obtain the sample. In the study, different strata of population against the total population of 50 will be used. These will include Administrative staff of 15 individuals, Secretariat staff of 10 individuals, management containing 5 individuals and 20 general employees. The researcher will segregate each employee in each respective class by 10% or one-tenth of each class in order to obtain the number of respondents from each class to be considered in the sample and sum up all the class for arriving as the sample size.
Data Collection Method
For purposes of this research proposal, the researcher will use qualitative data analysis method. The relevant Information will be collected, sorted and reviewed from the primary sources of data (Silverman, 2016). Primary sources of data will be obtained from the designing of a survey questionnaire. The questionnaire will be distributed and the recent data will be gathered from January, 2010 and onwards. Organizational representatives will also be contacted by the researcher using telephone for asking for their support and approval to involve them in the research proposal study. Moreover, all the participants will be provided with a cover letter of a goal representing the idea and scope of the research study. The researcher will also put emphasis on the confidentiality of the information gathered by him.
Further, the participants will also be informed and assured that their individuality will remain anonymous and safe. The research period will involve the self administering of the filled questionnaires. The researcher will be available by way of either phone, e-mail or fax to 70 answers any questions from the respondents. A request will be made by the researcher that the respondents submit the questionnaires after filling it by the fax or using USPS mail to the address mentioned. The data will then be gathered, the responses will be tallied and the outcomes will be carefully analyzed.
Research Timeline is a vital component of a research as it helps the researcher in evaluating the viability of the undertaken research study (Flick, 2015). Preparation of the timeline will also assist the researcher to estimate the amount of time required at the numerous stages of the research study. It will be necessary for the researcher to work out the time frames and check them with skills.
In order to reach research aims and objectives in a successful way, it is important for the researcher to have the knowledge about the time of completion every task. An appropriate action plan will be beneficial for the researcher to complete the task before time. In context of this research proposal, the research timeline or action plan for different tasks will be followed as below:
Research Proposal Meeting
Designing and Implementing a Communication and Networking Plan among the team members (website, database, email distribution list etc.)
Data Gathering (primary and secondary)
GIS & temporal database
Evaluation of research methodologies and prototype development/refinement and final interface designing
Research techniques applications and refinements
Policy seminars and formulation of policy recommendations
Designing of a final report
Public forum and training
Final report and project dissemination
Final reporting and getting approval
On the basis of the above proposed research study it can be revealed that employees in the Abu Dhabi government sector are usually secured with the existing level of pay and benefits they are getting from their companies. However, the EAPs in the government sector need to be revised to take out the employees to the next level of performance. The current employee assistance programs are characterised by the low staff morale’, stressed and unsatisfied employees. The results showed that only low-skilled and older employees are ready to continue in the organizations. On the other hand, the young, active and new entrants do not want to stay in the government companies. As a result, they leave and that is why the study only showed 1% of the human resources whose experience is less than a year. The study also showed that employees experience both personal and work related issues which can be resolved only by implementing effective EAPs. This is observed from the results that indicated that around 30% of employees resolve their own personal problems while 20% go to their managers when they have personal issues. 50% said that they talk to friends when they have work-related issues
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