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A mixed-method approach to tailor the implementation of a participatory Total Worker Health® program

Suzanne Nobrega (Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Massachusetts Lowell, Lowell, Massachusetts, USA)
Cesar Morocho (Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Massachusetts Lowell, Lowell, Massachusetts, USA)
Michelle M. Robertson (Department of Psychological Sciences, University of Connecticut, Storrs, Connecticut, USA) (Management and Organizational Development, Northeastern University, Boston, Massachusetts, USA)
Alicia Kurowski (Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Massachusetts Lowell, Lowell, Massachusetts, USA)
Serena Rice (Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Massachusetts Lowell, Lowell, Massachusetts, USA)
Robert A. Henning (Department of Psychological Sciences, University of Connecticut, Storrs, Connecticut, USA)
Laura Punnett (Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Massachusetts Lowell, Lowell, Massachusetts, USA)

International Journal of Workplace Health Management

ISSN: 1753-8351

Article publication date: 11 June 2021

Issue publication date: 21 July 2021

164

Abstract

Purpose

Total Worker Health® (TWH) programs, which represent a holistic approach for advancing worker safety, health and well-being, require an employer to adapt programmatic coordination and employee involvement in program design and delivery. Organizational readiness for such measures requires competencies in leadership, communication, subject expertise and worker participation. In the absence of documented methods for TWH readiness assessment, the authors developed a process to prospectively identify implementation facilitators and barriers that may be used to strengthen organizational competencies and optimize the organizational “fit” in advance.

Design/methodology/approach

The mixed-method baseline assessment instruments comprised an online organizational readiness survey and a key leader interview; these were administered with key organizational and labor leaders in five US healthcare facilities. Findings about organizational resources, skills available and potential implementation barriers were summarized in a stakeholder feedback report and used to strengthen readiness and tailor implementation to the organizational context.

Findings

The research team was able to leverage organizational strengths such as leaders' commitment and willingness to address nontraditional safety topics to establish new worker-led design teams. Information about program barriers (staff time and communication) enabled the research team to respond with proactive tailoring strategies such as training on participant roles, extending team recruitment time and providing program communication tools and coaching.

Originality/value

A new method has been developed for prospective organizational readiness assessment to implement a participatory TWH program. The authors illustrate its ability to identify relevant organizational features to guide institutional preparation and tailor program implementation.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

Funding: The study is supported by Grant Number 1 U19 OH008857 from the U.S. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. This content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of NIOSH.

The authors thank members of the SHIFT Research Team, including Merve Armagan, MS for her assistance with coding interview data; Winnie Chin, ScD, Yuan Zhang, PhD, and Jessica Espinoza for conducting interviews; and Diana Tubbs, PhD, for her contributions to the design and production of the employer ORT customized reports for each facility. Winnie Chin, ScD, was instrumental in the implementation of the HWPP in the facilities in the study and assisted in developing and communicating the tailored recommendations to facility personnel using results from the baseline assessment. We are also grateful for the support from key facility personnel in the facilities where these data were collected.

Citation

Nobrega, S., Morocho, C., Robertson, M.M., Kurowski, A., Rice, S., Henning, R.A. and Punnett, L. (2021), "A mixed-method approach to tailor the implementation of a participatory Total Worker Health® program", International Journal of Workplace Health Management, Vol. 14 No. 4, pp. 409-425. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJWHM-01-2021-0004

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2021, Emerald Publishing Limited

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