Employee wellness : a strategy for enhancing performance in the KwaZulu-Natal Administration.
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Employee Health and Wellness Programmes were introduced in the workplace as employer-initiated programmes to assist employees whose performance has been impaired. The aim of this was to identify and provide recommendations on problems that impact on the employees’ ability to perform their duties. In relation to employee wellness and employee productivity, the concept of performance management has been in the forefront of transformation in the Public Service post-1994. The need to review practices to ensure optimum performance and service delivery was identified in this study. Employees experience a multitude of factors that impact on the quality of performance, thus resulting in the workplace exploring programmes such as Employee Health and Wellness. The study was conducted within the scope of Provincial Administration and from the perspective of a Developmental State. The study aimed to provide a greater understanding of the linkage between Performance Management and Employee Health and Wellness, as a means for supervisors to contribute to the agenda of service delivery. One of the key questions in the study was to ascertain the perceptions of supervisors of Employee Health and Wellness programmes as a performance management tool to attain the desired work outcomes. Mixed methods was adopted and undertaken through a research paradigm of Pragmatisms with closed-ended questionnaires and in-depth interviews. The study was theorised within the paradigm of Public Management, highlighting the synergy between healthy and productive employees and good service delivery relationship and the need for optimising worker productivity and enhanced service delivery. Views from Supervisors, Employee Health and Wellness Practitioners and Managers and Provincial Forum Members informed the findings of the research study. The theories underpinning the study were Goal-Setting, Attribution Theory and the Results-Based Model. The research focused on the importance of accountability of public service supervisors to ensure that employee performance is aligned with the developmental agenda of the Public Service. The research proposed an integrated approach to addressing problems in managing particularly poor or impaired performance. A key finding was that supervisors need to be capacitated to manage the impact of Employee Health and Wellness, on the employees’ ability relative to performance. The research provided recommendations in terms of policy and workplace interventions to address the impact of poor or impaired performance, and its consequential effects on service delivery. The study concluded with the need for a nuanced approach for supervisors to manage performance in the public service. This is whilst embracing the health and well-being of employees, and in so doing, mitigate the risks impacting on good governance.