As awareness of the impact of workplace health on productivity and organisational culture increases, many organisations are choosing to implement corporate health programs.
The question is no longer whether to adopt a corporate health program, but how best to go about creating a successful one. This is where the benchmarks for best practice corporate health promotion come in.
Conduct a Thorough Needs Assessment
Diagnosing the specific needs of an organisation is the first step in creating a successful corporate health program. This not only will be the guide for the design and implementation of the program, but will also provide the criteria by which the program can later be evaluated.
A thorough needs assessment should identify health related costs to the organisation, including direct costs such as workers compensation claims, and indirect costs such as absenteeism or loss in productivity.
Three separate groups of data should be gathered: employee (surveys/focus groups), employer (organisational costs) and external (EAP statistics, etc).
Design and Develop a Tailored Program to Meet Specific Needs
The data gathered in the needs assessment is used to determine goals and objectives, and then to select specific interventions and targets that will make up the workplace health program.
A long term action plan should be developed (3-5 years) that includes timelines, budgeting and marketing, roles and responsibilities and ongoing evaluation.
The details of the action plan will vary according to the organisation’s needs, but should include a program launch, education and training, assessments, and a calendar of events such as health expos and targeted health activities.
A workplace health committee should be established that will oversee the program and work in conjunction with the necessary providers.
Maximise Employee Participation
Employee participation is crucial in making a workplace health program successful. Programs supported and endorsed by managers send a message to employees that the company is serious about improving their health and wellbeing.
Personal messages of encouragement from managers, and active participation in program events, help to maximise the program uptake and increase the benefits across the company.
Create a Marketing Plan
A best practice program should always implement a marketing plan to promote the schedule of activities and events available. High visibility in the form of posters and flyers should be established, and existing communication networks (e.g. email, intranet, phone, newsletters) should be employed to promote the various program initiatives and encourage maximum participation.
Carry Out Ongoing Evaluation and Development
Ongoing consultation and evaluation is necessary to tailor workplace health programs to the continuing needs and interests of the organisation. Health outcomes and ROI should be evaluated every 2-3 years, and strategies applied accordingly.
Remember that the emphasis should be placed on long term results, as poor health and lifestyle habits have often developed over decades and take time to amend. A long term commitment is the best way to achieve long term benefits for the employee and in turn the organisation as a whole.