There is an increasing doubt regarding whether wellbeing programs are effective and worth it. Many organizations have established well-being promotion programs to help workers, yet it is not clear whether such initiatives are dependable. This paper explores the effectiveness and worth of well-being programs in general and in the city of Kamloops as presented in the case study by Rilkoff (2012).
Literature Information on the Effectiveness of Wellness Programs
People expect quite a number of positive outcomes from well-being promotion programs within organizations. In any entity, well-being programs are schemes aimed at enhancing the welfare of employees. Some of the significant programs include inventiveness conceived to prevent the incidence of illnesses or the development of diseases from their initial unknown phase to an increasingly severe form (Goetzel et al., 2014; Jones, Molitor and Reif, 2019). Therefore, wellness programs generally focus on improving the health status of the targeted community.
The outcomes expected are always varied and with considerable hopes of achievement of specific goals. Although well-being promotion programs are costly, companies have been supporting such projects to ensure employees’ sense of safety. However, some of the expectations of well-being programs are challenging and hardly achievable without careful planning (Mazur and Mazur-Malek, 2017). For example, some well-being programs are costly, making companies unable to achieve a financial return far over what an organization expects from its investments.
Additionally, it is expected that health promotion programs can produce significant return-on-investment (ROI) regularly in one year. ROI measures the amount of cash gained relative to the money spent on any investment. Accordingly, Goetzel et al. (2014) asserted that only a few worker-provided subsidies are anticipated to yield a constructive ROI. For example, a common American employer presently spends huge amounts of money on health insurance for employees and other health care premiums. Further, Mazur and Mazur-Malek (2017) noted that there is limited evidence showing whether health care expenditures yield a positive ROI. An argument that stands is that at best, some of the well-being programs are cost-effective. While profit-making is an aim of some of the well-being initiatives, all strive to ensure that employees enjoy quality health care services.
Evaluation of the Wellness Programs
Well-being programs can be evaluated using a framework of measurement organized into a structure, medical expectations, productivity outcome, and delivery process. An effective well-being program should follow the best practice principles that are in place. If a well-being program is not well-designed or structured, it will not produce positive outcomes (Jones, Molitor and Reif, 2019). It is essential to note that wellness programs’ interventions should align with the demographic, as well as the health status of family members and employees. It is also paramount to identify how the program is delivered to populations (Goetzel et al., 2014). Accordingly, a well-being promotion program should have reliable operations, and services offered should be relevant to workers and their family members.
The assessment of the structure considers both quantitative and qualitative data complemented by management reports. In qualitative assessment, the evaluation focuses on absence, survey, disability, epidemiology, health risk, and claims among other related things. Quantitatively, the structural assessment focuses on observations and interviews (Goetzel et al., 2014). Programs considering quantitative and qualitative data can keep managers updated on the functionality of wellness program interventions.
Effectiveness also depends on how well the program is designed, in addition to its practicable implementation. An effective well-being program needs to be executed and progress according to the plan. All operations and delivery processes must continue smoothly for a wellness program to be successful. Additionally, there should be a feedback loop to offer a mechanism for continuous wellness program evaluation and improvement (Mazur and Mazur-Malek, 2017). Regardless of how good a wellness program structure is, poor implementation and inadequate or lacking monitoring and evaluation will result in project failure.
Throughout the implementation process, a well-being program should ideally involve the right people. Further, the people who participate and complete the intervention need to be recognized. Importantly, an effective wellness program should warrant participants’ progress by promoting positive attitudes and behaviors (Goetzel et al., 2014). Any initiative that fails to promote employees’ well-being or meet their needs is not worthy. In summary, the effectiveness of a wellness program can be ascertained by the nature of employees’ feedback; positive feedback implies a successful initiative.
Well-being Programs in the City of Kamloops
The city of Kamloops has established many wellness programs across its regions. One such essential initiative is the Kamloops Homelessness Action Plan, which has reported considerable success. As depicted in the case study by Rilkoff (2012), the program worked on housing, support services, and facilitated financial independence. The plan was also designed to ensure that homeless individuals could sustain their jobs, housing, and stability. The program is effective as it has established emergency shelters, private and entry-level homeownerships, subsidized housing, and temporary supported housing. The project’s success has been partly attributed to its participatory approach, in which it engaged community representatives and held forums. The program also identified clear goals, including the assessment of local housing situation, offering greater housing stability, and helping people based on their priority needs.
Much has been done in the homelessness program, including awareness issues which have been raised through various media platforms. Different events have been conducted, followed by regular media releases through online sites such as Facebook, blogs, and Twitter (Milobar, 2020). Moreover, there has been an increasing spirit of collaboration that has assisted in the formation of new partnerships, as well as the strengthening of existing networks. Lastly, the homelessness program made use of evidence-based practice by carrying out research. The program partnered with institutions of higher learning, including Thompson Rivers University, to help in collecting the evidence required to verify priority needs and map trends.
The city has also adopted children and youth programs that involve younger generations in various learning activities. The programs have been successful in engaging the younger generation in arts and culture through events such as dance, art, sports, pottery, and others. The programs have a well-established schedule across the week with specified activities that can help the younger generation develop skills in arts and culture (Milobar, 2020).
The city has also established a fitness and health program to warrant a high quality of life among residents. One of the primary goals of the city is to bring the residents together and nurture a sense of strength in unity. The city emphasizes that the health of its residents is important, and has thus opened various fitness and health facilities. These facilities support different wellness activities, including exercises through sports, yoga, and dancing among others. The fitness facilities also involve education and training workshops where people are taught about the essence of wellness and how to promote the same (Rilkoff, 2012). Based on the achievements demonstrated in the case study by Rilkoff (2012), it is arguable that Kamloops’ wellness program has been a success.
Recommended Well-being Programs in the City of Kamloops
Work Well Programs
Although the city of Kamloops has established many wellness programs, there are still more interventions that need to be implemented. First, every organization in the city should develop work-well programs to ensure well-being in the workplace. According to Spence (2015), there are many reasons employees need well-being programs. In particular, a workplace well-being program reduces absenteeism and increases teamwork, morale, and staff retention, as it safeguards employees from avoidable health crises. Additionally, work-well initiatives for employees offer an organization a framework to demonstrate its ethical capabilities. Caring through wellness programs is a popular organizational strategy to practice corporate social responsibility and give back to society. In enhancing the effectiveness of every program, the city council needs to take a leadership role in coordinating the board of agencies and people engaged in programs related to the well-being of employees.
Drug and Rehabilitation Programs
Another area that the city of Kamloops cannot overemphasize is the need for more drug and rehabilitation centers. The city has focused more on poverty and homelessness issues without or with less consideration of challenges relating to drugs. However, drugs are one of the primary factors that affect employees’ well-being. It is essential to establish programs that involve educational workshops on the use of drugs to prevent substance abuse and ensure rehabilitation of those already addicted.
Appropriateness of the Risk Assessment Process
The content of the wellness program needs assessment for both risk and reliability. As was previously noted, workplace wellness interventions aim at supporting the prevention of reversible health issues such as stress management, weight loss, and smoking among others. In the contemporary world, employees’ wellness programs may also provide such services as vision care, dental care, fitness programs, rehabilitation, diet planning, pharmacy, and wellness coaching.
Whenever one is introducing an effective wellness program, there are best practices that must be considered as proposed by researchers. For instance, Mazur and Mazur-Malek (2017) emphasized that it is important to embrace best practices in carrying out a proper assessment of the requirements and resources available. The best practices identified in research are inclusive of assessment, planning, implementation, and evaluation. Regarding assessment, it is essential to appropriately assess the objectives and the needs of the program before it begins. Importantly, the needs are to be understood primarily as those that are focused on workers. Accordingly, it is advised to research on what the primary problems and risks among employees are and evaluate resources to reduce them.
Risk assessment is essential for any program, including well-being interventions such as those of Kamloops. Building a program requires the identification of possible risks, as well as the assessment of the implementation. It is important to know if the people will come once a well-being program is launched, as well as identify all the factors determining employees’ participation (Mazur and Mazur-Malek, 2017). Indeed, risk assessment is essential to recognize such factors as misalignment of service needs, work and time pressures, resource accessibility, readiness to change, and balance of responsibility for change.
Specifically, risk assessment might help in identifying obstacles that might limit the effectiveness of a program. Through risk assessment, program managers can detect low participation associated with the delivery of services which attract little interest or relevance. At the same time, managers could pinpoint appropriate ways of making the program effective. Risk assessment also helps in the identification of any pressure and formulating alternatives that are better to make a program effective (Mazur and Mazur-Malek, 2017). Hence, organizations or programs have a critical mandate to accomplish in ensuring that negative factors do not operate against what is proposed in an intervention.
Through the assessment process, managers could conduct planning practices and equally set up a team for the program. Managers could introduce wellness ambassadors, create records, and ensure effective communication along with education. During the implementation stage, Mazur and Mazur-Malek (2017) propose that it is necessary to contact and educate every stakeholder. Thereafter, an evaluation process should always follow to identify the effectiveness of the program by harnessing the feedback of employees. In any case, the program is specifically a wellness intervention and focuses on the health needs of employees. Therefore, it is necessary to satisfy employees’ well-being and obtain important information from them for evaluation purposes.
This report has attempted to bridge the gap that increases doubt about the efficiency of wellness programs. The research has shown that wellness programs might be effective depending on the process of execution. An effective program needs to be well-planned and executed to meet the needs of employees and guarantee satisfaction. The city of Kamloops has succeeded in implementing some of the wellness programs, including homelessness programs, fitness and health, and children and youth programs. On the other hand, the city needs to improve in the implementation of work-well programs and drug and rehabilitation interventions to promote continued wellness among its residents. Additionally, the issues emerging from the implementation of wellness programs need risk assessment before execution. In applying the research findings of this report, the City of Kamloops is likely to develop and implement effective wellness programs.
Goetzel, R.Z. et al. (2014) ‘Do workplace health promotion (wellness) programs work’, Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 56(9), pp. 927-934.
Jones, D., Molitor, D. and Reif, J. (2019) ‘What do workplace wellness programs do? Evidence from the Illinois workplace wellness study’, The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 134(4), pp. 1747-1791.
Mazur, B. and Mazur-Małek, M. (2017) ‘Evaluating the effectiveness of a worksite wellness program’, International Journal of Contemporary Management, 15(4), pp. 77-89.
Milobar, M.P. (2020) City of Kamloops: sustainable Kamloops plan foundation for sustainability. Web.
Rilkoff, L. (2012) ‘The city of Kamloops case study’, in Bratton, J. and Gold, J. (eds.) Human resource management: theory and practice. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan Publishing, pp. 494-495.
Spence, G. B. (2015) ‘Workplace well-being programs: if you build it they may not come… because it’s not what they really need’, International Journal of Wellbeing, 5(2), pp. 109-124.