Table of Contents

Corporate Wellness Programs

Corporate Wellness Programs

Linking Employee and Organizational Health

Edited by Ronald J. Burke and Astrid M. Richardsen

Corporate Wellness Programs offers contributions from international experts, examining the planning, implementation and evaluation of wellness initiatives in organizations, and offering guidance on how to introduce these programs into the workplace. Previous research evidence surrounding corporate wellness programs is reviewed, to illustrate reduced health care costs, higher levels of employee well-being, greater work engagement, higher levels of performance, and financial gains on well-being investment costs. In this innovative book, various chapters examine the planning, implementation and evaluation of corporate wellness initiatives with guidance on how to introduce these programs in one’s workplace. In addition, organizational case studies highlight best practices and lessons to be learned from them.

Chapter 1: Corporate wellness programs: an overview

Ronald J. Burke

Subjects: business and management, human resource management, organisational behaviour


Organizations today are facing new and major challenges, including globalization, meeting the needs of customers, change and transformation, adopting new technologies, attracting and retaining the best talent, decreasing costs and increasing revenues, and building organizational capability. Organizations can copy the technology, manufacturing processes, products and strategies of their competitors but they cannot easily copy their human resource management processes (Pfeffer, 1998). Critical organizational assets reside in employees and human resource management practices. Research evidence has accumulated over the past 20 years showing that human resource management practices associated with high-performance workplaces are also associated with healthy employees and higher levels of productivity (Burke and Cooper, 2008; Lowe, 2010). Research has shown a positive relationship between human resource management practices and organizational financial performance (e.g., Becker and Huselid, 1998; Katzenbach, 2000; Becker et al., 2001). Pfeffer (1994) identified 16 inter-related human resource management practices that were proposed to be effective and later condensed these to seven broader strategies (Pfeffer, 1998). These were: employment security, selective hiring, self-managed teams and decentralization, high compensation contingent on performance, training and development, reduction in status differences, and the sharing of information. O’Reilly and Pfeffer (2000) suggested six human resource management levers across eight highperforming organizations.