ERIC Identifier: ED414520
Publication Date: 1995-00-00
Author: Busque, Guy
Source: ERIC Clearinghouse on
Counseling and Student Services Greensboro NC., Canadian Guidance and
Counselling Foundation Ottawa (Ontario).
A Measurement Model for Employment Counseling: ERIC Digest.
Human Resources Development Canada (HRDC) is a federal department offering
employment services to three client groups: workers, employers, and community
agencies. Employment counseling is available to worker clients through a
three-level structure: 450 Canada Employment Centres (CEC), 10 regional offices
(one per province), and national headquarters. HRDC is one of the largest
counseling service providers in Canada, conducting almost 2,000 interviews a day
across its network of local offices.
"Employment Counseling" is a set of interventions designed to help clients
identify and resolve issues which must be faced in making and carrying out
employment-related decisions. HRDC policy states that counseling services "shall
be provided to clients identified through the Planning and Accountability
process, taking into account regional and national priorities...." To address
accountability issues, HRDC has developed, and is implementing, a measurement
system within its organization.
THE HRDC MEASUREMENT MODEL
The HRDC measurement model has
been designed to facilitate common understanding of the counseling function and
the identification of what is measured and when. It applies to both individual
and group counseling.
In employment counseling at HRDC, four employability dimensions leading to
labor market integration are addressed:
Career/Occupation Decision Making: exploration, analysis and selection of career
or occupation options. The focus here is on a suitable and firm career or
Skills Enhancement: acquisition of skills required for a specific occupation or
of generic skills such as literacy, interpersonal and self-management skills.
This is often designated as job preparation or training.
Job Search: identification of job vacancies, contacting employers, completing
job applications, behavior during job interviews, and being hired. This
dimension includes all activities directly associated with the actual
integration or re-integration of unemployed workers into the labor market.
Employment Maintenance: identification of unstable patterns in the employment
record and recognition of the need to take remedial actions. Even though few
Canadians express this as an employment concern, many do need assistance in
breaking the employment-unemployment cycle.
In theory, these dimensions are sequential: clients should make occupational
choices prior to undertaking training programs; once fully qualified, they
should be looking for jobs; once in the labor market, they should be showing
stable employment records. However, in practice counselors are expected to
assist clients with any employability issue, even back-and-forth or across two
dimensions concurrently. ======================================================
1 : EMPLOYMENT COUNSELING MEASUREMENT IN HRDC
with the service
TERM FOLLOW-UP (3 to 5 year survey)
1 (Corresponds to "Delivery")
Setting and Achievement
2 (Corresponds to "Immediate Follow-Up")
3 (Corresponds to "Long Term Follow-Up")
For measurement purposes, results are gathered at three stages of the
counseling process (See Figure 1):
At stage 1, up to nine goals can be set and measured in each of the four
the intervention, the achievement of goals is reported for each employability
per employability dimension are recorded by counselors at the end of counseling
and from independent follow-up surveys after 3-6 months.
term impact is assessed 3 to 5 years later.
At stage 2, three possible outcomes are identified upon service termination.
clients have found full-time, part-time, or temporary work
clients have achieved self-sufficiency in the dimensions in which goals were set
and they assume responsibility for any employment barriers
counselors are unable to continue counseling for various reasons: lost contact,
no longer in labour market, referral to external agency, and so forth.
At stage 3, indicators of impact are measured.
of service on clients (employment or skill transfer)
of socio-economic impact (reduced government dependency, participation of
designated groups in labor market, gender balance in occupations).
All in all, 33 units of business and 5 performance indicators have been
proposed. Although socio-demographic descriptors of clients and some process
data are gathered, the emphasis is on outcome measures. Data input and reporting
are automated and regional and national management reports are produced monthly.
The system interface and all reports are bilingual.
Selected counseling data from October 1, 1993 to March 31, 1994 indicate
1,000 clients were assessed daily in CEC offices: 70% were unemployment
insurance recipients, 46% were women.
of clients set goals in skills enhancement, 40% in career decision making, 22%
in job search, and 2% in employment maintenance.
than half the total number of counselees had completed counseling during that
period. 61% who terminated were either self-sufficient or employed; those
remaining were either still receiving counseling or had been referred to a
longer term intervention.
CONCLUSIONS AND FUTURE DIRECTIONS
More quantitative analysis is anticipated at regional and national headquarters
as confidence in the database increases.
A better tracking system is being developed for human and financial resource
allocation in order to determine if employment counseling services are
cost-effective and to establish the relative cost-effectiveness for different
To address qualitative analysis, a monitoring guide for employment counseling
services is under preparation and service standards for employment counseling
are being developed.
It is important to measure other outcomes (e.g., self-sufficiency,
self-confidence, self-esteem, self-efficacy, and client satisfaction with the
service). Joint assessment (by client and by counselor) gives a quick measure,
however, the validity of this measure needs to be investigated.
Since a good portion of counseling service is delivered externally (by HRDC
partners), the same counseling measures should be ado evaluation projects in the
Operations Branch of Employment Services at national headquarters (Human
Resources Development Canada, Ottawa, Ontario).