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Employee Wellbeing Interventions and Their Effectiveness Analytical Essay

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Updated: Dec 21st, 2019


As components of organisational development, wellbeing interventions are intended to produce change to an organisation or part of it to ensure that there is an improvement in production. The wellness interventions for employees are aimed at improving their performance at the workplace to ensure that they contribute positively to the organisation.

According to Armstrong (2006), an intervention refers to a series of planned activities, events, or actions in an organisation. The activities are aimed at improving its performance. Intervention levels in an organisation can be categorised into strategic interventions, which focus on the organisation as a whole, techno-structural interventions that subdivide functions and roles in the organisation, and the human resource interventions (Ryness, Gerhart & Minette 2004).

Human resource interventions improve the performance of individuals working in the organisation with the target of influencing the overall organisational improvement (Armstrong 2006). Many interventions have been tried in the past. Some of them have some degrees of effectiveness. Examples of interventions that are aimed at employees include goal setting, performance appraisal, reward systems, workforce diversity management, and career planning and development (Armstrong 2006).

The other intervention that has been used in the past is counselling and coaching for the employees. Many other interventions have been useful in the improvement of organisational performance. Different scholars and researchers have demonstrated the effectiveness and failures of some of these interventions.

In fact, some interventions have been discontinued from the use in organisational development. In this essay, two wellness interventions for employees and their effectiveness will be discussed. These interventions include reward systems and goal setting.

Reward Systems

The use of reward management in an organisation has proved useful in the motivation of employees and the improvement of their performance. There exist many literatures detailing the effectiveness of reward management in the improvement of employee performance (Armstrong 2006).

Reward management consists of actions by the organisation and individuals that are aimed at improving their performance at the organisation. Reward management can be used as a solution to high turnover rates in an organisation, competitiveness, and poor performance. According to Armstrong (2006), people are attracted to organisations or institutions that offer the best rewards.

An organisation is able to attract qualified and competent employees based on the nature of reward system that is present in the business. Karami, Dolatabadi, and Rajaeepour (2013) observe that reward management is able to achieve three things in an organisation.

For instance, it improves attraction to customers and qualified employees and that it is a tool for receiving performance feedback. Besides, it promotes the motivation of employees. According to Armstrong (2006), reward systems are a means of promoting performance and maximum returns for individuals and corporations.

The rewarding of employees is linked to the natural predisposition of human beings to work towards achieving favourable targets. Theories of how reward management works to improve performance have been developed. They include the classical conditioning theory.

A reward system has to first identify the principle needs of employees within the organisation and then establish the best way to improve returns to the benefit of the organisation and the concerned employees (Armstrong 2006). Reward management has been described as one of the basic scopes of management of employee performance (Schaufeli & Bakker 2004).

The effectiveness of rewards at the organisational level is the subject of many researches, which have concluded that for effective employee motivation, reward systems have to be appropriate, timely, and effective (Armstrong 2006). The rewards that organisations should consider basic include availability of resources at the workplace, fair compensation, and a positive interaction between managers and employees (Schaufeli & Bakker 2004).

The behaviour of employees is greatly influenced by what the organisation values. Organisations should reward their employees based on what they want to improve. According to Mujtaba and Shuaib (2010, p. 112), “Proper reward systems for all employees and vendors, as part of a comprehensive performance management programme, can help enhance performance and productivity in the workplace.”

Mujtaba (2008, p. 225) asserts, “Performance management is a way of measuring and making sure that the activities of everyone in the organisation are aligned with the overall shared mission, vision, and goals of the company.”

Organisations may influence their performance through the efficient use of reward management, which entails the provision of meaning for the intended performance, how it will be measured, and feedback on its effectiveness. Performance management programmes such as reward systems should be used to align employees with the organisational goals and strategies for efficiency purposes (Kiyani, Akhtar & Haroon 2011).

In most organisations, the main reward management method involves the financial rewards that are accorded to the employees. Organisations should first consider their employees as the most valuable assets and then engage in practices that enhance their motivation in the organisation.

The rewarding of employees involves the provision of financial rewards and other tangible benefits (Schaufeli & Bakker 2004). The measures of effectiveness of rewarding as a wellness intervention in organisations can be done through the evolution of performance and the degree of motivation for employees.

Since the pay for employees is the most basic motivating factor in the organisation, it can be compared to the motivation levels for employees to establish the degree of efficiency.

According to Schaufeli and Bakker (2004), the salary that employees get is closely linked with their performance at the workplace, and hence the overall organisational performance (Schaufeli & Bakker 2004). Other forms that reward management systems in organisations use include bonuses, promotions, allowances and physical prices, and benefits (Ganster & Fusilier 1989).

Extrinsic and intrinsic rewards have different ways of evaluation, with the extrinsic rewards being easier to assess in relation to the intrinsic ones. When employees are awarded these rewards based on their performance, they are encouraged to pursue progress in their careers. This strategy is associated with improved performance at individual and organisational level.

However, managers and other organisational leaders have to establish a link between the rewards that they give to employees and the improved performance (Schaufeli & Bakker 2004). The main ways that organisations link performance to the organisations’ rewards is through the training of employees at the workplace. For organisations that manage to establish a link between rewards and improvements for employees, they often report improved performance.

The measurement of the reward system in an organisation can be done through an assessment of the employee perceptions on the various factors that are important to the organisational improvement. The organisation should frequently engage in feedback activities on the different functions to assess how well the employees are receiving them (Schaufeli & Bakker 2004). Through the feedback gotten from these activities, an organisation can measure the effectiveness of rewards in improving organisational performance.

Many theories try to explain the effectiveness of reward systems. Most of them are based on the research done by individuals over long periods and/or because of observation of the employee behaviours. According to Bowen (2000), the motivation of employees can be achieved if the management strengthens the reasons for these employees to choose a desired behaviour or action.

Armstrong (2006, p. 8) observes that strategic reward management involves understanding the needs of the employees and the organisation in general besides determining how best these needs can be satisfied. Since rewards affect employee motivation, it is important to evaluate the theories behind the increase in motivation from rewards.

An important concept in the explanation of the relationship between motivation and rewards is the Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. It consists of five categories of needs for human beings (Kaufmann & Kaufmann 2005). The satisfaction of individuals means that they have to fulfil the lower-ranking needs before they can satisfy those in the higher levels.

According to Kaufmann and Kaufmann (2005), a meaningful job is one that is able to satisfy the most basic of their biologic needs. Apart from the most basic of the needs, which include the physiological needs (level 1), the other levels of needs include security needs (level 2), the love needs (level 3), the esteem needs (level 4), and the need for self-actualisation (level 5) (Kaufmann & Kaufmann 2005).

Another theory that is important in the explanation of the relationship between rewards and motivation is Hertzberg’s two-factor model (Kaufmann & Kaufmann 2005). Frederick Hertzberg found out two main concepts that employees reported in their assessment of job satisfaction (Kaufmann & Kaufmann 2005).

He described satisfaction and dissatisfaction as being independent dimensions. He provided cases where a factor such as hygiene can lead to the dissatisfaction of employees when absent. However, it was not associated with satisfaction when present in the organisation (Kaufmann & Kaufmann 2005). He also stated that motivators in an organisation could lead to employee satisfaction. However, when they are absent, they do not result in the dissatisfaction of the same individuals.

The expectancy theory is another of the theories that show a link between rewards, motivation, and performance in an organisation. In this cognitive theory, the actions of individuals are a product of conscious and rational choices, which form the basis of human behaviour (Kaufmann & Kaufmann 2005).

The actions of different individuals are determined by what they think of the result of their actions and/or whether they stand to benefit from such actions. Therefore, this theory purports that the actions of employees are dictated by the likely outcomes of performing an activity. Providing rewards is a way of influencing this notion. Armstrong and Stephens (2005, p. 74) supported this theory by stating that the outcomes of an activity are often assessed by employees before they engage in any particular bustle.

The other theory that is important in the explanation of the effectiveness of the reward systems is the goal theory that was first presented by Locke Edward (Kaufmann & Kaufmann 2005). This hypothesis states that the main motivational strength for individuals is the plan that they have of going for explicit objectives (Kaufmann & Kaufmann 2005).

Setting more specific but difficult goals ensures that the employee is more motivated as compared to setting simple goals or general goals (Kaufmann & Kaufmann 2005). The theory also associates improved performance with the provision of feedback in organisations. There is a need to ensure that employees set goals in organisations. This move can be guaranteed through the provision of rewards for specific goals. These rewards should be adequate to cause a motivational effect on employees.

The equity theory is among the theories that try to explain the relationship between motivation, rewards, and performance at the workplace. In the theory developed by Stacy Adams, equity is recognised as a motivational factor, with equitable treatment for employees being associated with satisfaction at the workplace (Kaufmann & Kaufmann 2005).

According to Armstrong and Stephens (2005), inequitable treatment for employees or other individuals at their place of work causes equity. Therefore, it is an important determinant of the work productivity of employees in the organisational setting.

Motivation of employees at the workplace can influence their performance and wellbeing. Reward systems can be equated to performance based on the research that has been done in this area (Ryness, Gerhart & Minette 2004). When measured using a variety of parameters, the wellbeing of employees was found to be markedly raised when the appropriate rewarding is done. Researchers have evaluated the relationship between performance of employees and motivation.

According to Ryness, Gerhart, and Minette (2004), the performance of employees is directly linked to the motivation that the employer accords them. The above theories relate to the different kinds of motivation. It is clear that employers can achieve improved performance from employees through appropriate motivation. The above motivation types have also been tried in the past with success. For instance, in well paying companies, the level of motivation is usually high.

Reward systems have been described as some of the most effective ways of increasing the performance of employees and organisations in general. Researchers have shown that the most effective motivation in the organisational setup is monetary motivation where employees are rewarded for their work in the organisation.

The wellbeing of employees is also related to their level of inspiration. Enthused employees have a generally positive attitude. Such employees have a higher chance of being satisfied at their workplaces. This situation is apparently reflected positively on their wellbeing.

Goal Setting

Goal setting is another type of organisational intervention that can be used to solve problems in organisations. Goal setting has been recognised as an important part of problem solving in organisations. Many researchers have described this intervention as being as important as any other intervention at the workplace in solving problems.

Employees are taught how to set goals, which are the main drivers for their performance at the organisation. The organisation has to have specific goals that are aimed at contributing to their self-fulfilment and satisfaction. Goal setting is the main reason behind the existence of mission, vision, and objectives for organisations.

The effectiveness of goal setting as an intervention in organisations has been widely studied, with theories being created to explain it. According to Armstrong (2006), goal setting is part of organisational development. The two strategies are inseparable. Goal setting may be done at the level of the organisation, the department, the individual, or the integration of the three levels (Schaufeli & Bakker 2004). Schaufeli and Bakker (2004) also state that a goal is the object of the action that an individual uses to achieve a particular task.

The goal-setting theory has a number of components. Some of the major findings in the theory include that difficult gaols are associated with better performance (Beersma, Hollenbeck, Humphrey, Moon, Conlon, & Ilgen 2003). Many organisations face the problem of poor performance based on the easy goals that they set.

Organisations are also more successful based on the specificity of goals that they set. According to Armstrong (2006), specific goals allow organisations to achieve better results compared to setting general goals. In organisations that have managed to set specific goals, there are easy ways that can be used to measure them. This strategy results in more success at the level of the organisation.

Setting individual goals at the workplace can be difficult. In most cases, there is a need for the organisation to train its employees on how to set and achieve goals. Employees who have a goal-oriented way of performing their activities at the workplace are assured of success while those who do not set goals often end up underachieving (Beersma et al. 2003). This outcome has been observed in organisations that have implemented a training programme for their employees to ensure that they are able to work towards achieving their own goals.

The setting of goals can be challenging for individual employees without the facilitation of the employer. The objectives that are made may be deserted along the way if workers perceive them as excessively tough or complicated to accomplish. When employees participate in goal setting, they are often motivated to achieve these goals at the individual level (Armstrong 2006).

Employees that have been involved in goal setting for their organisations often report better satisfaction at the workplace compared to those who are not (Armstrong 2006). Therefore, job satisfaction is an efficient measure of the efficiency of goal setting as an intervention in the organisation. It is aimed at improving employee performance.

The other aspect of involvement of employees in goal setting is the provision of feedback. Previous studies on the effectiveness of goal setting indicate that there is improved performance from employees if they are provided with feedback on the goals that they helped set at the organisation (Armstrong 2006). Feedback allows employees to set realistic and specific goals. They are able to achieve these goals more easily.

The other aspect about goals is that they are independent of training and education of the individuals that are involved in their setting (Beersma et al. 2003). According to Armstrong and Stephens (2005), the seniority of employees in the organisational hierarchy is also not an influence of success in goal setting. Most of the employees that have success in goal setting experience this success out of practice.

In teamwork, goal setting can be practiced with a considerable degree of success. Individuals are allowed to set goals for the organisation with a little help from the other members of the organisation. Afterwards, they are assessed on how best they are able to achieve the goals (Beersma et al. 2003; Brown & Harvey 2006).

Teams within organisations are encouraged to set goals that are relevant to their workplace. Organisations that use goal setting in organisations end up being more successful. In the goal setting theory, another concept that emerges is the support for management within an organisation (Armstrong & Stephens 2005). Employees that support management are better in achieving goals than those that do not because they get facilitation to achieve their goals at the level of the organisation.

Armstrong and Stephens (2005) claim that in the determination of a goal, individuals must involve three major factors, namely the determination of the goal, achieving commitment towards the goal, and overcoming any resistance that may be present. The development of commitment to goals by employees is an important part of goal determination. This step involves the trust by managers, their support teams, and the promotion of positive competition between the individual employees (Armstrong & Stephens 2005).

For employees to overcome any resistance towards the goal setting, they should ensure that they get training on the same. Managers also need to have an effective incentive and reward system in place to ensure that their employees have the basics on how to set their goals (Helm, Holladay & Tortorella 2007). Success in setting personal goals is also influenced by the participation of employees in goal setting within organisations.

The management of goal setting activities in organisations may be done through efficient strategies at the level of management. These strategies need to emphasise the specificity of the goals. Brown and Harvey (2006) stated some of the other characteristics of good goals, including their claim that the goals should be measurable, reachable, and time-bound.

There are many measures for the effectiveness of goal setting as an intervention at the workplace to improve employee performance (Brown & Harvey 2006). One of the most widely used measures is the performance of the organisation in general, which is discussed in the previous section. Employees’ individual performance can also be measured in relation to goal setting that they practice (Brown & Harvey 2006). These measures agree that goal setting is an appropriate intervention measure in any organisation.

Goal setting is also an important part of motivation and employee wellbeing. In organisations where employees are trained on goal setting, their general performance at the workplace reflects the training. There is documented evidence that employees who set goals are better at their workplaces with their wellbeing being relatively better compared to those who do not practice goal setting.

Conclusion and Recommendations

In conclusion, this essay has established that it is necessary for organisations to implement interventions that are aimed at solving some of the prevalent problems to improve performance. The main interventions that are discussed are rewarding for employees and goal setting. The two interventions have been found to have a positive relationship with employee wellbeing. The paper has gone ahead to show how well rewarded employees reflect their contentment through their heightened wellbeing. Rewarding employees is described as effective in the motivation of employees, with this strategy causing improved performance in the organisation.

The measurement for the effectiveness of rewarding as an intervention method includes the performance employee output and the organisation in general. Some of the theories that support the use of rewards in human resource management intervention have also been discussed in the essay. Therefore, rewarding employees emerges as an important intervention to undertake at the organisational level.

Goal setting is another intervention that has been used in the past to manage the employee performance in organisations. The essay has established that this mode of intervention for employees is less effective compared to rewarding in the organisation. However, it was made clear that it boosts the wellbeing of employees by keeping them focused in their work.

The measurement of goal setting is similar to that of rewarding. Managers have an obligation to assist their employees to set goals. They should also provide an environment that facilitates goal setting at the individual level since deteriorated wellbeing is associated with individuals who have no goals to pursue in their lives and vice versa.


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