Enhancing Employees’ Health and Well-being: Developing a Successful Holistic Wellness Challenge


  • Taylor Andrews
  • Ginny Crosby
  • Rebecca Carrigan
  • Casey Fewell
  • Sandy Ly
  • Monique Papworth
  • Katelynne Santos
  • Asha Timilsina
  • Tam Truong Donnelly


Improving the overall health and wellness of employees is an important focus of many organizations. Healthy employees experience more job satisfaction and productivity. The University of Calgary offers programs and services that promote healthy living, a healthy work environment, and respect the employees’ lives outside of work as well as their work life. Collaborating with the university’s WellBeing and Work Life department, the purpose of our community health promotion project was to develop and provide recommendations for the implementation of a successful holistic wellness challenge for faculty and staff. Drawing on the Population Health Promotion Model, the Community as Partner model, and the nursing process, a windshield survey, key informant interviews, a focused review of literature, and an environmental scan of 15 Canadian universities (U15) and Vanderbilt University (well-known for its excellent occupational health program).  The information gained was used to create then pilot a holistic evidence-based challenge that aims to improve employees’ physical activity, exercise, mental health, social health, financial health, and nutrition. To increase community members’ awareness and participation in the wellness challenge, we developed brochures detail the health benefits to be gained and offer suggestions for implementing each component. Because our evidence-based recommendations are feasible and flexible with clear marketing strategies, they are more likely to be adopted by organizations and their employees.