Rocky Mountain Research

EAP, Work/Life & Wellness Consulting Services

Critical Incident Response Measurement Tool

International Journal of Health & Productivity

SPECIAL EDITION December 2018 Volume 10, Number 2

 “The success of EAP services in helping reduce functional impairment and lost productivity resulting from mental health issues — the leading reason for such losses — is vital to the future performance of the work force, and measurement tools like the WOS are key to that success."  Sean Sullivan, JD, President & CEO of IHPM  12/2018

Workplace Outcome Suite© (WOS) is a self-report instrument to measure the effectiveness of Employee Assistance Program (EAP) counseling services in addressing these behavioral/mental health issues for employees using those services. And the Critical Incident Outcome Measure which is introduced in this special issue again attempts to document the effectiveness of CIR interventions by EAP Professionals.

The articles collected in this Special Edition of the IJHP all report positively on results obtained from use of the WOS with working populations, and include:

  • A large global study by Attridge, Sharar, DeLapp and Vederof more than 24,000 counseling cases in 26 countries, though concentrated in the US (79%) and China (15%), reported a drop in monthly missed work time related to the personal issue involved in the counseling from 7.4 to 3.9 hours – or nearly 50 percent;
  • A study by Lennox, Sharar, Schmitz and Goehner confirmed that the 5-item version of the original 25-item WOS – with items corresponding to measures of presenteeism, work engagement, life satisfaction and workplace distress as well as a separate measure based on total and partial days absent from work – could be used to approximate the 25-item version without excessive loss of reliability, validity or sensitivity;
  • A study of federal government employees by Mintzer, Morrow, Tamburo, Sharar and Herlihy and using the 5-item version of the WOS, reported significant improvements in absenteeism, workplace distress, life satisfaction and workplace presenteeism;
  • A study by Lennox, Sharar and Miller reported that the coaching version of the WOS – to measure the effectiveness of coaching interventions for a range of workplace behavioral health issues – was employed in disease management services for depression and diabetes, and reliably tested the effectiveness of coaching without creating concern for significant measurement error;
  • And a study by Lennox, Sharar, Herlihy and Mollenhauer introduced the Critical Incident Outcome Measurement Scale (CIOM) to measure the success of response to traumatic incidents in the workplace, and beta tested the tool with a pilot sample of respondents; the goal was to select the best single indicator for an abbreviated version of the CIOM to enhance its suitability for applied applications – recognizing that collecting data is not as important as attending to the needs of employees affected by a traumatic incident.
IHPM and the sponsors of this Special Edition of its peer-reviewed journal – IJHP – invite you to receive this special gift. Download your own individual copy by clicking on the following text: International Journal of Health & Productivity, Vol 10 No 2.
The Need for a Valid CIR Measurement Tool *
Patricia A. Herlihy Ph.D., RN

Critical Incident Response (CIR) is probably the most visible and appreciated EAP service, according to Dr. John Pompe, Manager of Integrated Health Programs with Caterpillar, Inc. In fact, Pompe notes that if an EAP vendor does not offer a solid, empirically based CIR program, it may either lose current contracts, or not gain new ones.


Despite the importance of CIR, little empirical evidence is known about the actual workplace impact of these services, explains Dave Sharar, Director of Commercial Science with Chestnut Global Partners (CGP). The evidence that does exist consists mainly of individual case studies and reviews of archival records, which makes it difficult to generalize across different response approaches. Over the last five years, several studies (Gorter et al, 2015; DeFraia, 2015) have attempted to document the numbers and types of CIR interventions to help researchers develop an empirical tool to capture outcome data.

CGP and noted EAP researcher Patricia Herlihy have taken this important work one step further by developing a new, empirically based tool called the Critical Incident Outcome Measure (CIOM). The CIOM, which builds on the model and success of the Workplace Outcome Suite (WOS), seeks to quantify the positive workplace effects of CIR services offered by EAPs. Read entire paper: The Need for a Valid CIR Measurement Tool

* Comparing Improvement After EAP counseling for different outcome outcomes Workplace Outcome Suite Annual Report 2017 Appendix D


A New Tool to Measure the Impact of
Workplace Critical Incident Response

Patricia A. Herlihy, Ph.D., RN

Matt Mollenhauer, MS, LCPC

To be presented at the International EAP Conference

Los Angeles, California

October  6, 2017 


Critical incident Outcome Measurement

Morneau Shepell’s Critical Incident Outcome Measure (CIOM) is an evidence-based tool that demonstrates and quantifies the positive workplace effects from critical incident response (CIR) interventions conducted by their company’s EAP, building on the earlier success of the Workplace Outcome Suite (WOS).

What does CIOM measure?

  • Presenteeism: Evaluates is the level of employee distraction at work due to their reaction to a critical incident.
  • Emotional distress: Focuses on the level of distress that an employee may be experiencing after a critical incident.
  • Resiliency: Measures the ability of the employee to bounce back from adversity after a critical incident.
  • Return to work: Addresses the employees’ ability to return to normal work tasks after a critical incident.
  • Perception of leadership: Explores the employees' perception about whether their employer cares enough about them to support them through a critical incident.

    For more information, please contact: Patricia A. Herlihy Ph,D., RN at