So, your company has asked you to start a wellness program. Before you have a panic attack, check out the wellness planning toolkits and articles in our Recommended Resources section. The toolkits and articles include countless program resources to guide you through this process. The following are pointers to get you started.
Step #1: Gain Support – seek support from a variety of sectors within your company including senior management, union representatives, human resources personnel, health & safety officials, employee assistance contacts, and others.
Step #2: Create a Wellness Team – this should be a diverse group with representatives from the above and employees who have an interest in health and fitness. Try to include some “wellness champions”, managers who have some “pull” within the company to expedite the program budgeting and roll-out.
Step #3: Collect Data to Support the Wellness Program – take your time to accurately find and record this data. This data becomes your foundation from which you will build your program. Having representatives from a variety of company departments will be beneficial for the obtainment of this crucial data. Areas to cover in this step include:
- Population demographics
- Sick leave / absenteeism
- Disability & workers compensation claims
- Employee turn-over rate
- Past medical claims analysis (identifies the major health expenses and modifiable lifestyle risk factors to reduce these expenditures)
- Health risk appraisal summary (identifies aggregate data on the health status of your employees and information for employee health improvement)
- Worksite organization health survey results (designed to obtain information on company’s environment from both managers and the general workforce)
- Employee wellness surveys: the following sample employee interest surveys and scorecards will help you in collecting valuable information to be shared with your wellness team:
- Physical environment and company culture audits (workstation ergonomics, break rooms where employees can store and prepare nutritious foods, stairwell access, cafeteria and vending stations, outside resources for walking paths, etc.). Examples include:
Step #4: Develop an Annual Work Plan (include a mission statement, goals and objectives, timeline, budget and expected results). Learn more on how to write a mission statement and Smart goals & objectives:
Here is a sample wellness program plan:
Step #5: Plan and Implement your Program – from the data derived in Step #3, your wellness committee should be able to identify a number of areas that have the best anticipated return on investment for your company. Take into consideration the modifiable health risk factors affecting each health issue and develop your program accordingly. Try to consider several different approaches that could help with the success rate for your stated goal. And, realize that there are stages for readiness for change, as identified by Prochasta and others in 1977, which will impact your employee participation levels. Thus, offering a variety of programs and services will result in a greater impact rather than just “one shot in the dark”.
Step #6: Create a Supportive Environment – behavior change for many is a very difficult process and may result in several failures before success. Employees trying to kick the smoking habit are perfect examples of this.
Step #7: Evaluate your Programs – did your programs have an impact on your targeted health deficiency? Sample evaluation areas to consider include participation levels, program satisfaction levels, behavior changes, biometric changes, productivity and return on investment.
Step #8: Plan for the Next Year – Congratulations, you survived the first year of operation! Share your evaluation results with your wellness committee and start putting together next year’s goals and objectives.
Check out the wellness planning toolkits and articles in our Recommended Reading section for more details for starting a wellness program at your site.