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Impact of health and wellness programs on performance of employees Proposal


Introduction

Health is viewed as a motivating factor and is required in any organization that is considering success. Incorporating health and wellness into the organizational corporate culture is one of the most influential strategies for the promotion of more productivity of employees (Riedel et al., 2001).

It is also important when an organization is seeking to decrease the costs of healthcare (Weinstein et al., 1996). This strategy would place an organization at a level higher than that of its competitors and therefore stand out.

The wellness programs are meant to promote the employee’s health lifestyles. They also help to improve and maintain their health and wellbeing. The programs are useful in preventing (if not delaying) the onset of diseases (Pelletier, 1999). In so doing, the employee would be in a position to work effectively and the organization would benefit.

Ill health is a contributor to decrease in productivity as the employees spend more time seeking treatment than working (Goetzel et al., 2000). This may be in terms of increased absenteeism by the employees. Ill health also contributes to loss of morale in the working place and causes less productivity.

The health and wellness programs aim at assessing the employees’ health risks and provide interventions to the problems (Aldana and Pronk, 2001). This could be in the provision of health education that provides training on lifestyle management that is meant to decrease the risks of diseases and to improve outcomes. The main aim of the programs is to prevent the occurrence of disease.

They may also provide assistance to those workers with chronic diseases. This is through the provision of disease management interventions and other nurse-based decision support systems. Generally, health and wellness programs may be deemed useful in increasing the performance of employees due to the assurance of health and the motivation that comes with it.

Literature Review

Several studies have provided evidence to show the importance of workplace wellness programs. Many organizations have implemented the use of health and wellness strategies in order to realize many benefits. Some of the benefits include an increase in productivity, reduced absenteeism and a decrease in the use of health care benefits (Kessler et al., 2001).

Studies have also shown that the use of health and wellness programs at the workplace increases the morale and loyalty among the employees. Additional benefits of these programs include the reduction of incidences of injuries and long-term disabilities. These programs also help reduce the health care costs (Aldana, 2001).

Through research, organizations have been able to understand that many diseases can be prevented through the use of health and wellness programs. The preventable diseases have been believed to make up to 80 percent of the burden of diseases. This also accounts for about 90 percent of all health care costs (Anderson et al., 2000).

This has prompted many organizations to take advantage of this statistic by implementing health and wellness programs within the workplace. If the employees increase their physical activity and keep fit, they would have lower chances of contracting some common diseases and conditions. Consequently, the companies will need to spend less in covering for the health costs of these diseases.

Apart from this form of cost, companies can also reduce the incidences of absenteeism due to these preventable diseases. With perfect health, employees will be motivated to work more effectively as compared to those individuals suffering diseases.

The United States has been reported to have spent the most on health care as compared to all other industrialized nation worldwide. However, it is also considered the unhealthiest. This just shows the need for workplace wellness programs in the workplace. This would help reduce the need for health care costs since the health and wellness programs would reduce the risks for diseases.

The implementation of the health and wellness programs in an organization has been regarded as a potential high return on investment. This is because of the rise in health care costs that has translated to high expenditure in the event that employees are treated for diseases, most of which are preventable.

Employers get back a substantial amount of return in reduced health care costs as the individuals become more fit and healthy. This program also helps lower absenteeism costs since employees would not require being away from work while attending to their health issues.

Certain research studies have indicated significant relationships between certain health risk factors and the performance of employees. Aspects such as absenteeism have also been seen to have a moderate to high degree of association with the basal metabolic rate (BMI). Research also indicates that there is a relationship between the basal metabolic rate and various components of work performance.

In a certain research by Pronk and colleagues, the number of days spent away from work was used as a measure for absenteeism (Pronk et al., 1999). These were referred to as work-loss days. They concluded that absenteeism was significantly associated with severe obesity. These results corroborated other previous findings on the same.

However, there was a specific study that provided different results that showed gender disparity. In the particular study by Narbro and colleagues, the obese females showed a high level of absenteeism when compared to those who were not obese (Narbro et al., 1996).

When it came to the obese males, the situation was different. In fact, their level of absenteeism was less as compared to their non-obese counterparts. Research conducted by Tsai and Gilstrap (1997) also supported these findings.

Tucker and Friedman (1998) also conducted a similar study. They used the percentage body fat as a measure to categorize workers as obese, average or lean. The skinfold measurement was used in the categorization. They concluded that there was a significant relationship between absenteeism and the degree of skinfold. The measure of skinfold was taken to represent degree of adiposity.

In the study by Pronk and colleagues, a significant relationship between the basal metabolic rate and absenteeism was only found at the level where employees were severely obese. The severely obese category consisted of those individuals who had a BMI of 40 kg/m2 or above. There was no severe significant difference when it came to the obese category.

Where obesity did not have an impact on absenteeism, it caused a decrement on work performance. This was specifically as a result of issues associated with interpersonal relationships.

In order to measure the interpersonal relationships among employees, the researchers considered the degree to which an individual got along with the fellow employees. The results indicated a positive association between work performance decrement with obesity. However, this was not the case for other fitness variables.

The issues to do with interpersonal relationships among employees may be related to lack of motivation for employees to spend their time working. This situation worsens as obesity extends into severe obesity. This is probably because of the social stigma associated with this state.

It reduces the quality of peer interactions and increases the chances for absenteeism from work. Various studies have shown the existence of a relationship between obesity and certain characteristics of interpersonal relationships.

Studies have also shown a relationship between obesity and certain issues related with employment. For example, those individuals who were obese were discriminated against during employee selection and recruitment (Klesges et al., 1990). They were less likely to receive employment. Some were even discriminated against during pay – they received lower salaries than their counterparts did (Frieze et al., 1990).

Studies by Proper and colleagues argued that there was no relationship between employee performance and physical activity programs at the workplace (Proper et al., 2002). In their study, they focused on effectiveness. Therefore, they included the intervention trials only in the documentation search.

Other similar studies show that the association between fitness and other physical activities with work performance is not known. However, the health and wellness programs were shown to reduce absenteeism to a certain degree.

Pronk and colleagues reported a significant association between certain levels of physical exercise and the quality of work performance. The results also indicated a relationship between moderate and vigorous physical exercise and individual job performance. They concluded that those who had cardiorespiratory fitness required less effort to perform the same job.

This type of fitness had a relationship with the quantity of work done. This study is one of those studies that tried to provide a meaningful relationship between physical activities that try to ensure health and wellness of employees and their performance at work.

The workplace wellness programs are continuously providing many tangible benefits to the organizations. Research has provided evidence of an increasing support for the health and wellness programs in various businesses and organizations.

These programs are not limited to the big companies only but may be equally useful for the small businesses. Health care costs have been escalating and has raised serious concerns among the managers. This includes the health professionals, insurance companies and other employers.

The costs incurred by companies come in the form of insurance. Some of the health issues including diabetes and high blood pressure are common for overweight and obese individuals and companies insure them. Other habits such as smoking by the employees also contribute to health complications that need to be paid for by the companies.

The individuals with more risk factors cost the companies more than those with fewer risk factors do. The health and wellness programs help to improve the health of individuals who are already at risk. However, they also benefit the healthy individual. This is mainly through raising awareness of the importance of health. Therefore, they strive to maintain health and to prevent any risk factor such as being overweight.

It is obvious that employees spend most of their awake-hours at the workplace. This makes up about 50 hours every week. Therefore, it is the employees’ obligation to make use of the workplace health and wellness programs.

The programs have other benefits aside health benefits. Other benefits include the improvement of employee relations and morale. Therefore, a combination of these factors would be beneficial to the success of the organization.

Absenteeism is another aspect of employee performance that can be improved using the health and wellness programs. Research has suggested that healthier individuals spend more days at work than the unhealthy ones who need to be away from work occasionally as they seek treatment (Mundt, 1997). Work-loss days account for thousands or even millions of dollars as losses of the companies.

The health of the employees could also translate to better family choices. This means that these individuals would not need to be absent from work as they attend to the family members’ health issues (Simon et al., 2001).

Purpose of study

The purpose of this study is to determine the impact of health and wellness programs on performance of employees. With an increased awareness of the impact of health and wellness on the employees’ ability to work, it is necessary to investigate its impact on their performance.

This study will look at certain aspects of performance in order to determine whether health and wellness programs are necessary for the success of our organizations. The manifestation of the health and wellness programs will be determined by looking at the increase in physical fitness (physical activity) and reduced weight.

The reduction of the level of absenteeism can be measured as the additional days that the employees (who had previously out of work due to preventable illnesses) are available at the workplace following an increase in the level of health and wellness.

The aspects of performance will include the timeliness of performing work, the quality and quantity of work, and absenteeism (availability at the workplace). The aspects that are modifiable with the intervention of health and wellness programs include body weight and physical fitness. Additional aspects of performance will include the number of days that the employees were out of work.

Others include the employees’ performance (quality and quantity of work) at the workplace and their interpersonal relationships. This study will provide useful insight for any organization that is seeking to increase productivity of its employees through providing an assurance of their health and wellness.

Research questions

In order to determine the impact of health and wellness programs on performance of the employees, certain aspects of performance will be measured and analyzed.

  • What impact does health and wellness have on the employee’s self-appraisal and peer appraisal?
  • Does physical exercise contribute to increased physical fitness and the maintenance of weight at healthy levels?
  • Does increased physical fitness and reduced weight contribute to improved quality and quantity of work performed?
  • How is the timeliness of the performed work by the healthy individuals comparable with that of performed by an unhealthy lot?

Scope

Basically, every individual at the workplace will be involved in the study since everyone’s viewpoint and perspective will be considered. For self-appraisal, the individual employees will be consulted in order to get a view of their own performance. In order to reduce biasness in these views, the fellow employees will provide a peer appraisal of the employees in question.

In order to measure the quality and quantity of work performed, the management team will be consulted. The records of employee performance would greatly apply in this case. The views of the managers concerning the timeliness of the individual employees will be consulted.

Methodology

Research strategy

The research design that will be used will be the qualitative research design. This is because the human behavior and habits will be studied. The performance of the employees will be assessed in the context of the availability or unavailability of health and wellness programs. It will investigate whether these programs are useful for managers (in organizations) who want to make their employees more productive.

The variables that will be tested will include the aspects that indicate the outcomes of a health and wellness programs. These include the reduction of body weight, increase in physical fitness or physical activity and increase in the number of days that employees are present in the workplace. The indicators of performance include their timelessness, the quality and quantity of their work and the individual and peer appraisals.

Sampling strategy

For the investigation, 10 organizations will be selected within the area. Considering the amount of time and budget available for the research, this is a convenient and manageable number.

Therefore, the selection of the organizations will be a type of non-probability sampling technique and specifically the judgmental sampling. However, the organizations must not be in the same industry (performing similar businesses). This would ensure a representation of different employees from diverse working environments.

In each organization, 25 individuals will be selected randomly in order to reduce biasness. Of the 25 individuals, five were managers in the organizations. Therefore, a total of 200 employees and 50 managers will participate in the study.

The sampling technique that will be used to reduce bias but at the same time get a representation of the entire employee population will be the stratified sampling technique. This will also provide a higher statistical precision because the variability within the sub-groups will be lower when compared to variations that exist when the whole population is considered.

Data collection

Questionnaires were used to collect data. The kind of information that would be collected using the questionnaires includes the incidences of absenteeism. The employees would be asked to provide the number of days (including full days and partial days) that they were absent from work.

In order to understand the reason for absenteeism, the employees will be asked to include whether it was due to health issues, compulsory leave or other reasons. This is in order to avoid biasness when all incidences of absenteeism are assumed to be due to illnesses. In order to understand the characteristics of the employees, information such as age, sex and position in the company were inquired.

Questionnaires will be distributed to both the employees and managers. The data on self-appraisal and peer appraisal will be collected using the questionnaires distributed to the employees. Information on interpersonal behavior and other personal habits will also be collected using the same questionnaires and during interviews (Kobak et al., 1997).

This information is vital because it is also an indicator of performance. The information collected from the managers will include those involving the quality and quantity of work performed by their employees.

Additionally, a 5-point self-anchoring rating scale will be used to measure the employee’s quality of work. This measure will be applicable for situations where the employee is actually working (working hours).

The interference with the quality of work done will be measured by the score indicated. A score of one will indicate a significant level of interference with the quality of work done. A score of five, on the other hand, will represent no interference.

The amount of physical activity of the employees will be quantified using a special kind of questionnaire. This is referred to as the Godin Leisure Time Physical Activity questionnaire (Godin and Shephard, 1985). This information will be combined with the amount of weight lost due to the physical activities performed during the health and wellness programs.

Data analysis

Least squares regression analyses will be used to find the associations between the risk factors and the work performance. They will also be adjusted for sex, age and positions to determine the associations between physical activity, weight and performance.

In order to describe the characteristics of the population, several measures of central tendencies will used. Where applicable, graphs and charts will be used to analyze information in the questionnaires.

Validity and reliability

In order to ensure that the observed effects in the research are actually due to the variables, the intervening, extraneous and confounding variables will be controlled. This would be necessary to ensure that the realized health facilitated by the health and wellness programs were responsible for the increased performance of the employees. Reliability of the data collected will also be ensured.

The correct instruments and tools will be used in data collection. Since the data on the employees’ quality of work will be collected twice (using self-rating and rating from the managers), the parallel-forms or alternate-forms reliability will be used (Dillman, 1991). It will be used to assess the consistencies of the data from the two sources since it is the same variable measured at the same time.

Gantt chart

Gantt chart.

References

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Aldana SG & Pronk NP 2001, ‘Health promotion programs, modifiable health risks, and employee absenteeism’, J Occup Environ Med, vol. 43, pp. 36–46.

Anderson D, Whitmer RW & Goetzel RZ 2000, ‘Relationship between modifiable health risks and health care expenditures: a group level analysis of the HERO research database’, Am J Health Promot, vol. 15, pp. 45–52.

Dillman DA 1991, ‘The design and administration of mail surveys’, Annu Rev Sociol, vol. 17, pp. 225–249.

Frieze IH, Olson JE & Good DC 1990, ‘Perceived and actual discrimination in the salaries of male and female managers’, J Appl Social Psych, vol. 20, pp. 46–67.

Godin G & Shephard RJ 1985, ‘A simple method to assess exercise behavior in the community’, Can J Appl Sport Sci, vol. 10, pp. 141–146.

Goetzel RZ, Guindon AM, Turshen IJ & Ozminkowski RJ 2000, ‘Health and productivity management: establishing key performance measures, benchmarks, and best practices’, J Occup Environ Med, vol. 43, pp. 10–17.

Kessler RC, Greenberg PE & Mickelson KD 2001, ‘The effects of chronic medical conditions on work loss and work cutback’, J Occup Environ Med, vol. 43, pp. 218–225.

Klesges RC, Klem ML & Hanson CL 1990, ‘The effects of applicant’s health status and qualifications on simulated hiring decisions’, Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord, vol. 14, pp. 525–535.

Kobak KA, Taylor LH & Dottl SL 1997, ‘A computer-administered telephone interview to identify mental disorders’, JAMA, vol. 278, pp. 905–910.

Mundt JC 1997. ’Interactive voice response systems in clinical research and treatment’, Psychiatr Serv., vol. 48, pp. 611–612.

Narbro K, Jonsson E & Larsson B 1996, ‘Economic consequences of sick-leave and early retirement in obese Swedish women’, Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord, vol. 20, pp. 895–903.

Pelletier KR 1999, ‘A review and analysis of the clinical and cost-effectiveness studies of comprehensive health promotion and disease management programs at the worksite update’, Am J Health Prom, vol. 13, pp. 333–345.

Pronk NP, Tan AW & O’Connor PJ 1999, ‘Obesity, fitness, willingness to communicate and health care costs. Med Sci Sports Exerc, vol. 31, pp. 1535–1543.

Proper KI, Staal BJ & Hildebrandt VH 2002, ‘Effectiveness of physical activity programs at worksites with respect to work related outcomes’, Scand J Work Environ Health, vol. 28, pp. 75–84.

Riedel JE, Lynch W & Baase C 2001, ‘The effect of disease prevention and health promotion on workplace productivity: a literature review’, Am J Health Promot, vol. 15, pp. 167–191.

Simon GE, Barber C & Birnbaum HG 2001, ‘Depression and work productivity: the comparative costs of treatment versus non-treatment’, J Occup Environ Med, vol. 43, pp. 2–9.

Tsai SP & Gilstrap EL 1997, ‘Illness absence at an oil refinery and petrochemical plant’, J Occup Environ Med, vol. 39, pp. 455–462.

Tucker EL & Friedman GM 1998, ‘Obesity and absenteeism: an epidemiological study of 10, 825 employed adults’, Am J Health Promot, vol. 12, pp. 202–207.

Weinstein MC, Siegel JE, Gold MR, Kamlet MS & Russell LB 1996, ‘Recommendations of the Panel on Cost-Effectiveness in Health and Medicine’, JAMA, vol. 276, pp. 1253–1258.

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IvyPanda. (2019, May 15). Impact of health and wellness programs on performance of employees. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/impact-of-health-and-wellness-programs-on-performance-of-employees-proposal/

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IvyPanda. "Impact of health and wellness programs on performance of employees." May 15, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/impact-of-health-and-wellness-programs-on-performance-of-employees-proposal/.

References

IvyPanda. 2019. "Impact of health and wellness programs on performance of employees." May 15, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/impact-of-health-and-wellness-programs-on-performance-of-employees-proposal/.

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IvyPanda. (2019) 'Impact of health and wellness programs on performance of employees'. 15 May.

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