As the science behind Employee Wellness Programs continues to evolve, the need
to define and articulate the components of this comprehensive approach increases.
In 1987 Allensworth and Kolbe (1987) expanded the prevailing definition of comprehensive
school health to include the domains of Health Instruction, Environmental Health,
Health Services, Physical Fitness Education, Counseling and Psychological Services,
School Food Service, Employee Wellness Programs for Faculty and Staff, and the
Integration of School and Community Resources.
To promote the health of school age children, prevention specialists have found
that an integrated comprehensive approach is the most effective strategy. Relying
solely on health education or Physical Fitness Education initiatives to foster
children’s health has demonstrated limited effectiveness. Consistent health
messages delivered by numerous agents increases the possibility of attaining
health goals and objectives. A similar model is essential if Employee Wellness
Programs are to impact positively on the health and performance of all employees.
A comprehensive model of Employee Wellness Programs includes the following
components; Health Education Programs, staff member Health Services and Benefits,
physical fitness and nutrition Programs, Employee Wellness Plan Policies and
Procedures, Counseling and Employee Assistance Programs, a Safe and Healthy
Work Environment, and the Integration of Company and Community Resources. This
model can be used to evaluate and plan for Employee Wellness Programs that are
truly comprehensive in nature, focusing on primary, secondary, and tertiary
prevention strategies for employees.
One value of a truly comprehensive model is that it is possible to promote
a holistic philosophy of staff member health. A healthy, productive staff member
is one who is given the opportunity to develop physically, emotionally, intellectually,
socially and spiritually. In addition, this model supports the ideals of wellness
and optimal health by encouraging worksites to go beyond initiatives designed
to only reduce health care costs, prevent disease, or maintain health.
A key factor in the utility of this model is the integration and overlap of
responsibilities. Design and implementation are dependent upon the motivation
and cooperation of qualified – and ideally – credentialed consultants throughout
the administrative structure of a corporation. Such a model requires consistent
communication between health educators, medical staff, human resource managers,
physical therapists, industrial hygienists, exercise physiologists, ergonomic
engineers, dietitians, occupational therapists, psychologists and independent
consultants. Planning must also incorporate active involvement of workers, administrators,
family members, and corporation retirees at all stages of the development, implementation
and evaluation stages. All must be committed to the development of a healthy
organization where employees are happy and proud to work.
Various groups are working to advance the science of Employee Wellness Programs.
Health educators have the expertise and training to be leaders in this area.
On the basis of theoretical foundations of behavior and the results of empirical
research, we must start to articulate a clear vision of what optimal initiatives
should consist of. The Components of this model are included below for reference
and will be discussed individually in coming posts.
- Health Education
- physical fitness and nutrition Programs
- staff member Health Services and staff member Benefits
- Employee Assistance Programs and Counseling Programs
- Safe Work Environment
- Health Related corporation Policies and Procedures
- Integration of corporation and Community Resources