“Does anyone know? Can you get any help?” Experiences from an ambassador-facilitated health programme: insights from a qualitative study

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Abstract

Purpose
Health ambassadors are co-workers assigned to facilitate healthy choices amongst the ambassadors'' colleagues and are increasingly used in workplace health promotion. In a municipality in the southern region of Denmark, occupational health and safety (OHS) representatives were appointed as health ambassadors to facilitate the development of healthy lifestyle initiatives at the ambassadors' workplace and the uptake of various health offers from the municipality's workplace health programme amongst the ambassadors' colleagues. The aim of this study was to understand how employees and managers from the municipality experienced the health ambassador-facilitated implementation of the health programme.

Design/methodology/approach
The study was designed as an interview study with (n = 13) semi-structured interviews. Using purposeful sampling, the authors invited participants who held different positions (e.g. managers and regular employees) on two different work teams in the municipality. The work teams (a construction team and a healthcare team) differed in gender profile and work tasks but were both categorised as physically heavy work. Malterud's systematic text condensation was used to devise the strategy for the analysis.

Findings
The authors' findings show that the employees considered health a private matter that the workplace should not interfere with, and this challenged the implementation of the health programme. Secondly, the health ambassadors were not properly trained to facilitate health initiatives amongst the ambassadors' colleagues; instead, the managers were the driving force in the implementation of health initiatives.

Originality/value
The study provides useful insights into the processes of implementing health in the workplace and emphasises the importance of involving employees in design and planning of initiatives for workplace health promotion.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Workplace Health Management
Volume16
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)281-293
ISSN1753-8351
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 28. Jul 2023

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