The development of guidelines for an employee health and wellness programme for a health care group in the North West Province
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The goal of this research was to develop guidelines for an employee health and wellness programme for a health care group in the North West Province. It was assumed that, if implemented, such a programme would contribute to the overall health and wellness of the organisation by enhancing the health and wellness of employees. In order to develop these guidelines, employees' health and wellness needs within the health care group were determined. These guidelines will be suggested to the management of the health care group and will serve as a basis for an Employee Health and Wellness Model that can be used in other contexts as well. The research commenced with a literature review in order to determine current employee health and wellness practices and to verify the value of such programmes for employees and organisations. The first article studied the nature and characteristics of employee health and wellness programmes. The difficulty to define health and wellness as well as different perspectives confirms the fact that these programmes are multi-dimensional. This should encourage organisations to develop holistic programmes with employees’ optimal health and wellness as its final goal. Employees spend a significant amount of hours at work, which makes it the ideal place to promote health. It has been proved that employee health and wellness programmes have a direct impact on the bottom line of organisations. Furthermore, increased job satisfaction, less absenteeism, improved productivity and better quality of work life also result from these programmes leaving employees happy and healthy, which eventually contribute towards a healthy society. The research consists of two parts. The first part involves a qualitative approach. The researcher interviewed key staff members in order to identify the needs of employees with regard to an employee health and wellness programme. Collected data was then used as a basis for the second, quantitative phase, which consisted of a self-developed questionnaire that was completed by employees. An exploratory factor analysis was done from which 14 constructs emerged as possible health and wellness interests. The priority interests of employees were determined with a means procedure and promoting assertiveness, managing diversity within the workplace, relationship management within the workplace and personal growth and development occupied the first four positions. There was only a small difference in terms of interests between the remaining fields. Effect sizes indicated that there was a medium effect size in the level of interest on some of these constructs in terms of language, age and job level. Research results laid a foundation and provided guidelines to plan and develop an employee health and wellness programme for the specific health care group. It is recommended that the health care group consider a structured, formalised employee health and wellness programme that will optimise employees' health and wellness on physical, emotional, social and occupational dimensions. In short, priority should be given to the implementation of programmes that aim to optimise employees’ social wellness. Relationship management programmes should be considered and target employees on management level as they showed more interest in this regard. Health promotion activities should first be promoted among employees in the age group 51 and older before other age groups are gradually involved. Personal growth and self-care programmes should also be developed and implemented. The most important suggestions coming from the study is that further research should be done on employee health and wellness needs within a cultural context. The final programme that stem from the proposed guidelines should be evaluated in order to determine whether the the programme reached its goal by improving the health and wellness of the employees within the health care group.
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