Emerging Business Study Finds Companies’ Use of Workplace Chaplains Increasing

September 12, 2012  |   tagGeneral

The fast-growing strategic initiative of having workplace chaplains for businesses all over the U.S. and now around the world has seen a ‘dramatic’ increase in use over traditional employee assistance benefits, according to a new national workplace study.

A 2008 study by the Families and Work Institute found that more than 97% of companies with payrolls larger than 5,000 offer employee assistance programs (EAPs), with anonymous counseling and referrals available by phone.

BusinessWeek Magazine recently reported that employees are “dramatically” more likely to use workplace chaplains than standard mental-health benefits, according to preliminary results from an ongoing study by David Miller and Faith Ngunjiri of Princeton University’s Faith & Work Initiative. At least half of 1,000 employees surveyed have used the services of a workplace chaplain—far more than those who use standard assistance programs. This 50% usage rate is far above the typical national EAP usage rates of 2-9%.

Companies using Marketplace Chaplains, the nation’s largest national workplace chaplain’s provider, report they have seen similar increases.

Marketplace Chaplains provides more than 2,700 chaplains to companies in 2,772 locations across 44 states, in 921 cities, and in 4 other countries and 1 commonwealth.

“The Biltmore had grown from a small family operation to over 1,800 employees. We began asking ourselves how do we keep the ‘smallness,’ and how do we assure that someone notices if our people are having a bad day?”

“The EAP, still in place, was excellent, but people weren’t calling. That’s when we brought in Marketplace Chaplains,” said Ann Ashley, former Executive VP of Human Resources, Biltmore Corporation in Asheville, NC.

“At Downs Energy, many of our employees who are in need of support wouldn’t necessarily pick up a phone and ask for assistance,” said Michael Downs, President of the California–based company.

“Because our Chaplains invest in their lives face-to-face on a weekly basis, these employees are willing to share their burdens and receive support. Trust is being developed and lives are being transformed in the process,” continued Downs.

Marketplace Chaplains utilizes male and female, professionally trained chaplains from different ethnic backgrounds to visit client companies on a regularly scheduled basis to interact with employees and help with any needs, problems, work and non-work related crises.

“The fact of life is that each one of us has either had a problem, is going through a problem or is getting ready to encounter a problem,” said Marketplace Chaplains’ President and COO Dick De Witt. “As we have provided this service for nearly three decades, we know employee’s personal problems follow them to work each day.  Alleviating or helping employees cope with life’s challenges by utilizing chaplains’ care is what business owners see as an around the clock, substantial benefit of Marketplace Chaplains.”