How to Get Started a Workplace Wellness Program. Part 2 (Stages of Implementation)
Updated: Jul 24, 2019
Many managers may believe that Workplace Wellness Programs are only for large corporations with large budgets for employee perks, but more and more small to medium size businesses in Australia are getting started on promoting health and wellness in the workplace. You don’t need deep pockets or excess square footage. A joint effort and commitment from management and employees is all you need.
If you need a backgrounder on the Different Types and Elements of Workplace Wellness Programs’, refer to our previous article: How to Get Started a Workplace Wellness Program. Part 1 (Elements Choice)
Stages of Implementation
There are many types of Workplace Wellness Programs, so don’t be over ambitious in your goals. Success will come easier if you keep it simple to start, and add to your initiative over time.
Step 1: Management Commitment
Management commitment will comprise of either 2 or 3 parties:
The first party is you: a manager in HR, operations, or finance…whatever the case is…you see the benefits and the need to facilitate healthier choices within the company.
Second is commitment from top management, being either the owner, president or CEO. You and top management will have to agree on an initial budget, time allocation from your job, and reporting methods. Again, keep it simple to start and it will be easier to get others on board.
A third party is an advocate from the rest of employees depending on the size of your organization. This person will act as an evangelist or spokesperson to liaise between you and the rest of employees. For a smaller company, the third-party might also be you.
Step 2: Get Employees’ Input
Get input from employees on what their needs and health concerns are. You can gather this information either through a survey, interviews, suggestion boxes, employee luncheons, etc.
This is a critical step in the process. Finding out what your employees’ needs, interests, and attitudes are towards certain health issues are key in implementing a successful program. Survey results will also serve as a way to prioritize initiatives as you try to find a balance between employee needs and management budget.
Step 3: Create a Plan
From reviewing input from Steps 2, identify priorities. You may be overwhelmed with all of the goals, but as with any type of planning, you should prioritize goals into short-term and long-term. Plan and implement one goal at a time.
Also consider what is currently in place and create extensions of that to support your initiative. One example is Employee Assistance Programs that tie into workplace wellness which can be a part of an Employee Benefits package.
Step 4: Launch The Plan
A big part of implementation is the announcement that a Workplace Wellness Program is being launched. The announcement should state that there is management support for the program but it is not mandatory. The announcement should remind employees of the survey/feedback/interview that they completed in Step 2 and that the program initiative addresses a priority voiced from employees.
Step 5: Feedback and Refinement
Once you implement your program initiative, you may discover that you have missed something or would like to add something based on employee feedback. The process of feedback and refinement deserves special attention, as a Workplace Wellness Program should be tailored to employee requirements if you want continued employee participation.
Step 6: Monitor Success Factors
Review your program at each milestone for short-term and long-term progress. For example:
What was the attendance at each employee information session (short-term)
What is the current rate of absenteeism (long-term)
Management likes reports with Return on Investment or Key Performance Indicators. If a certain task had an associated budget to it, then report back on the success factors, no matter how small it is. For example, if a budget was provided for employee lunch n’ learns, then report back on the attendance from session to session. This will help in getting management support for future programs.
Data that can be used to track a program’s results are:
Rate of absenteeism
Cost of absenteeism
Rate of turnover
Cost of group insurance (prescription drugs, dental, etc.)
Number of events or activities held last year
Participation/attendance in program events
Changing behaviors or attitudes towards more healthy habits
Number of employee promotions/year
Return to work rate from injuries or illnesses
Cost for Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs)/year
Percentage of employee suggestions that are implemented
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