posted on July 27: Charting employee health and wellness resources


Athletics & Recreation in partnership with Human Resources is conducting an assessment of what programs and services are available to enhance employee wellness at work.

The goal of the new initiative is to determine what is available on campus to help employees be healthy and create a University profile of health and wellness needs.

Once an inventory of programs is compiled and analyzed, both groups will make a recommendation for a direction for a comprehensive employee work site wellness program.

“Wellness touches every aspect of an employee's life on campus and outside the work environment,” said Therese Quigley, director of the Department of Athletics & Recreation.

“We don't have a good assessment of what is in place. We need to get a baseline and discover what we do well and what we don't have that people might want and would be beneficial.”

Simon Ouellet, director of benefits, compensation & staffing, said the study will indicate the awareness level of employees about the advantages of a healthy lifestyle.

“Many employees are aware that a healthy lifestyle has long term benefits at work and at home,” Ouellet said.

The project received $25,000 from the 2000-2001 allocations of the McMaster University Futures Fund (MUFF).

Several initiatives to support employee wellness were approved for MUFF funding by the Board of Governors this year.

They include a one-year pilot project through Student Health Service that ensures a physician is available on campus to address employees' health and wellness needs. Staff physician Finola Foley distributed a questionnaire to employees this week asking for input on what health and wellness services interest them. (See July 19 Daily News story Student Health Service opens door to employees.)

Buffett Taylor & Associates Ltd. is conducting the needs assessment study on behalf of Athletics & Recreation and Human Resources.

The consulting company will use a variety of tools to collect the data, build the inventory and obtain feedback about employee health and wellness. The firm will conduct interviews with internal and external stakeholders and review the results of the Reacon staff survey pertaining to employee morale, stress, job satisfaction and work/home life balance issues.

Ouellet said any information that is collected or statistics that are gathered from health, disability and Workplace Safety & Insurance Board records will be generic in nature, will not identify individuals and will be treated with complete confidentiality.

The needs assessment and a final report should be completed by November with plans for a report to go to the Board of Governors in December.

Employees who wish further information about the project may contact Debbie Marinoff, manager of recreation services or Wanda McKenna, human resources officer (benefits) at