Graduate School of Business


Doctor of Business Administration (DBA)


Amy Puderbaugh


Employee Wellness Programs, Nurse Retention, Healthcare Wellness Programs


Business | Nursing


Many organizations are faced with the challenge of managing employee retention and absenteeism. While retention strategies are focal to organizational leaders across the board, the growing shortage of nurses nationwide creates a critical concern for healthcare leaders. The purpose of this qualitative case study was to delve into the existing body of research pertaining to the impact of employee wellness programs on employee retention and absenteeism and further explore the reasons why employees choose to/ not to participate in wellness programs offered by employers. The intent of this study was to add to the existing body of knowledge on employee wellness programs as well as fill the gap in current literature addressing participation among registered nurses working in East Tennessee. The key findings of the current study indicated that leadership style, the use of incentives and personal health expectations all impacted the decision to participate in employee offered wellness programs. The current study further identified the perceived lack of time as a primary barrier to participation among registered nurses. The findings supported the expected outcomes based on an extensive review of literature that transformational leadership and personal health expectations are key drivers in the decision to participate. In addition to the contribution to existing knowledge, this study offers recommendations beneficial to healthcare leaders and human resource managers seeking to reduce absenteeism and improve employee retention. Finally, this study supports the concept that participation in employee wellness programs is a strategic investment and has potential to enhance overall productivity and performance of healthcare organizations.