An Assessment of the Effectiveness of a Comprehensive Multiple Health Behaviour Change Intervention in the Workplace: A Mixed Methods Study
MetadataShow full item record
Declining employee health and increasing work and non-work stress adversely affects organizational performance. Workplace wellness programs, intended to improve employee health, are not supported by strong economic evidence due to serious methodological limitations and the sparse number of intervention studies. A few pioneering scholars and training companies are applying sports science methods in the workplace intending to improve health, increase human energy and improve organizational performance. The purpose of this study was to assess the effectiveness a comprehensive multiple health behaviour change intervention in a workplace setting over a 16-week period. A mixed methods quasi-experiment design was used to assess the intervention efficacy among Financial Consultants (n=81) employed in a leading Canadian financial services firm. The quantitative component compared treatment (n=44) and control (n=37) group participants on several measures before, immediately following, and three months after the intervention (six months for sales revenue productivity). The qualitative component used observations, two semi-structured interviews (n=8), and weekly journals (n=10) to understand and reconcile participant experiences with the treatment effect. Nine of the 44 treatment group participants were randomly assigned a certified life coach. Overall, the results from the study showed statistically significant improvements for treatment compared to control participants on self-report measures including thriving, resilience, health, presenteeism, life purpose behaviours, physical activity, and nutrition. Qualitative findings supported these quantitative findings and provided insights on why the treatment was effective. However, findings for engagement improvements were non-significant and may be explained by participants being already engaged before the treatment and thus experiencing a ceiling effect. Sales revenue productivity was non-significant for treatment compared to control participants. However, treatment group sales revenue did not decline, qualitative findings showed many participants spent less time at work, and six-months may not have been an adequate time period to show effect. The quantitative findings for life coaching were inconclusive due to a low sample size. However, the qualitative findings showed life coaching was generally supportive. This study makes an important contribution to the evidence on workplace wellness programs for academics, practitioners, and organizational leaders.