Management of employee wellness in South Africa: employer, service provider and union perspectives
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Orientation: This article focuses on how South African organisations manage their employees' wellness through their Employee Wellness Programmes (EWPs). Research purpose: The objective of this research is to describe employee wellness in South Africa by investigating the types, foci and perceived success of EWPs. Motivation for the study: Despite the growing awareness of the importance of EWPs in South Africa, the nature, content, context, participants, role-players and anticipated benefits as well as the possible drawbacks of these programmes in the South African context are unclear. Research design, approach and method: The researchers used a cross-sectional design. The first author developed the Employee Wellness Survey, consisting of quantitative and qualitative questions, to collect data from 16 organisations, four service providers and seven labour unions in South Africa. Main findings: The results showed that organisations, service providers and labour unions define employee wellness differently and that these role players give different reasons for introducing EWPs. Almost half of the participating organisations have no baseline measurement with which to compare the effectiveness of their EWPs. Generally, all the organisations present the results of their programmes reasonably. However, the programmes involve little overall expenditure to the organisations. Practical/managerial implications: Organisations should monitor the state of their employees' wellness in order to manage it effectively. This will only become possible when information about employee wellness improves. Contribution/value-add: This study provides new information about the nature, content, context, participants, role-players, anticipated benefits and possible drawbacks of EWPs in the South-African context.