For example, Ruiz (2006) points out that, "The role that EAPs play in attenuating these potentially disruptive issues is difficult to assess because companies zealously guard results of their programs from the public eye" (46).
Despite these constraints, though, it is possible to gauge the effectiveness of Mobil's EAP initiatives based on the typical costs savings realized by similarly situated enterprises. For instance, Ruiz adds that, "EAP providers contend that their services are a critical component in lowering the cost of health care and in bolstering productivity. EAPs can reduce absenteeism and tardiness by 10% and potentially boost productivity by as much as 25%" (46). In this regard, what is known about the company is that success rates between 70% and 85% have been reported by Mobil concerning the effectiveness of its employee assistance programs that have been targeted at reducing the incidence of substance abuse by company employees (Starr 2002). At a cost of approximately $30-$60 per employee per year, EAPs clearly represent an effective approach to managing employee absenteeism. In fact, the company also subscribes to professional stress reduction programs offered by Hopson Global Education and Training as part of its corporate approach to mitigating employee absenteeism levels (Benefits for your company 2002). In addition, the company also provides its employees with debt management counseling services in an effort to reduce personal finance-related stress levels that may exacerbate absenteeism (Watson 2010).
Summary and Conclusion
The research showed that Exxon Mobil is the world's largest publicly traded international oil and gas company with operations in the United States, Africa, Canada, Europe, the Asia Pacific, the Middle East, Russia/Caspian region, and South America. It is reasonable to conclude that the company did not achieve this level of success without some informed and effective human resource management practices. In this regard, the research also showed that with tens of thousands of employees, the company stands to lose or gain a great deal in the manner in which it manages its employee absences. The company has been aggressive in its approach to managing its absenteeism problem, though, and what has been published confirms that Exxon Mobil takes the matter very seriously. Although the company was shown to traditionally make every effort to accommodate all of its employees' special needs, the research also showed that the company did not achieve its level of global success by allowing some employees to manipulate and exploit its generous human resource policies and practices, but rather has consistently sought to establish a corporate culture that emphasizes the need to be at work every day irrespective of any personal problems that might interfere. When Mobil employees experience such personal problems, though, the company has implemented a series of employee assistance programs that are specifically intended to address these issues in an effort to help employees return to meaningful employment as quickly as possible. The findings of this pilot project represent a useful point of departure for future studies that more closely examine the effects of EAPs on managing absenteeism at Mobil as well as what leadership initiatives have been used to promote a corporate culture that creates a working environment that is conducive to reducing absenteeism rates in the different countries in which the company competes in order to identify any relevant cross-cultural factors that should be taken into account.
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