Wellness Program : Building a Health Promotion Program.

Wellness Program : Building a Health Promotion Program.

There’s no single right way to approach wellness programs but winning wellness programs share common success factors. These include commitment from management, worker involvement, adequate resources, and a policy concerning health that goes hand in hand with the corporation’s mission, vision and values.

Health Promotion Program –  A Range of Approaches

Even though the goal is to eventually have a long-term, extensive health promotion program, some corporations prefer to begin with a single program at a basic level.

For  instance, the first steps may be as simple as offering lunch-hour sessions on first aid or healthy eating; or they could launch a pilot project to find out how interested staff are to ensure staff needs are being met before taking on anything more ambitious.

This approach provides a chance to show the impact on staff and the workplace so senior management will be more willing to consider a bigger and more far-reaching strategy.

Other businesses plan a selection of wellness programs to meet the needs of the different types of people  that make up their workforce.  And some decide to develop a sound company case, complete with a health strategy, before attempting any kind of wellness program.

Corporations want to ensure that a new health promotion program is fully integrated with their overall business vision and mission.

Wellness Program –  Success Factors

Whether your corporation chooses to think large from the outset or to start with something smaller, always keep in mindthe following key success factors –

• support and participation from management;

• worker involvement in planning;

• health promotion programs that meet worker needs;

• A realistic budget; and

• continuous review.

In sports, a game plan is a series of steps that a team must follow to accomplish its goal of winning. Most winning teams plan to win. Organizations also need game plans, even when they don’t call them by that name.

Good planning will help to ensure that your wellness program happens the way you want it to, and that costs could be identified in advance and kept within budget. Good planning avoids small problems from becoming bigger.

Steps in Developing a Wellness Program

Obtain senior level management support. You might need to develop a corporation case to convince managers that the health promotion program is a corporation strategy-that staff member health and job satisfaction affects their productivity. Workers need to see evidence that senior level management believes in and is committed to staff member health.

Establish a planning committee. Members can include representatives from staff member groups in addition to from human resources, safety and health, and communications.

Collect information.  To prove that your health promotion program is beneficial, establish a benchmark before the health promotion program starts. You could wish to look at staff member satisfaction, absenteeism rates, stress levels, drug costs or WCB expenditures.

Assess what worksite facilities are available to support personnel to make healthful options like showers and change areas or a secure place to store a bicycle. Assess employee needs through a recent survey or questionnaire, suggestion box or focus group. Communicate the results.

Develop the plan to reflect the information collected. Include health promotion program goals, activities and how you’re going to measure whether your goals were met.

Keep the plan flexible. You might have to change direction in response to worker feedback or changes in the company’s structure.

Get upper management approval. Support for staff time and a budget are needed.

Put activities in place. Give a selection of activities that create awareness, increase knowledge, create skills, and provide social interaction.

Activities could include walking clubs, participation in national campaigns such as Employee Wellness Week, SummerActive, WinterActive, corporate challenge, golf days, and newsletters that provide information about community resources.

Worksites can also make it easier for staff members to make healthy choices by providing flextime to allow staff members to fit activity in when it is convenient or by subsidizing wellness programs in cooperation with community or private fitness facilities. A policy on catering for meetings can ensure that healthy foods are offered.

Evaluate the plan. Share your successes with others, learn from your mistakes and modify activities.

A health promotion program doesn’t have to be complicated or a immense investment. Just do it. Get support from management, bring a few committed individuals  together to generate some ideas and get started.