How to Plan, Implement & Evaluate a Worksite Wellness Program
- Identify a coordinator, someone who can dedicate time to worksite wellness. This is the minimum necessary to start a wellness program. At least one employee needs to have time that can be used for worksite wellness activities.
- Form a wellness committee. The work is much easier to do if a group of people are involved. This also helps create enthusiasm for worksite changes, especially if the committee members represent different levels of the organization.
A needs assessment helps identify where to start with a worksite wellness program. It shows existing resources and areas needing improvement. For assessing the environment for heart health supports, Heart Check is a good tool.
While some questions on heart check are specifically heart disease-related (e.g., hypertension screening), others are related to many chronic diseases as they look at the availability of healthful foods and opportunities for physical activity.
To increase employee buy-in, employees can be surveyed about their needs and interests. The results of these surveys added to Heart Check results give a good idea of where to start.
Making a Plan
Plans do not have to be long and difficult. They can simply list an outcome, areas to work in, and things to do.
Questions to ask about outcome:
- What do you want to get out of a worksite wellness program (e.g., reduced turnover, decreased absenteeism, fewer injuries, healthier employees)?
- What could realistically be done in a year or two?
- What would employees like to see done?
Once the outcomes are chosen, activities can be planned to help achieve them. The following are a variety of activities that can help.
- Activities to increase physical activity
- Activities to increase healthful eating
- Activities to decrease tobacco use
When conducting a special physical activity or nutrition promotion, it can be motivating for employees to have incentive items attached to small successes. For example, if an employee reaches her physical activity goal, she could receive a small item like a pedometer, microwave vegetable steamer or good athletic socks as a reward. Items that can facilitate increased wellness are the best, e.g., orange peeler, dyna bands, stress balls, wrist pockets.
How do you know if what you did improved the environment and the bottom line? Heart Check and the employee interest surveys can be used before and after the wellness interventions to see if the environments, practices and opinions changed. To see if the bottom line was affected, attendance, sick leave usage, and employee turnover can be reviewed before, during and after interventions. If your business is self-insured, you can also review health care usage. It may take several rounds of interventions, if they are small-scale, to begin to see cost savings