Creating a Healthy Workplace
To ensure your wellness programs remain engaging and effective it's important to:
- Have clear and measurable goals
- Include employees and elected officials in the program design
- Regularly promote the wellness activities and share your successes
- Continually monitor, review and adjust your wellness programs to ensure they meet the needs and interests of employees and elected officials.
Following these 6 steps can make sure a wellness program is effective, engaging and tailored to the needs of your Municipality:
- Establishing goals and purpose
- Designing a workplace wellness program
- Promoting a wellness program
- Implementing a wellness program
- Evaluating a wellness program
- Improving the wellness program
Planning clarifies what you are trying to achieve and the strategies that will achieve success. A plan should be clear and easily understood by all levels within your Municipality.
- Specific and measurable program goals e.g to achieve 40% participation in lunchtime fitness classes by (date)
- The selected strategies and activities e.g to conduct lunchtime classes using the facilities of the local gym
- Timelines for the wellness program, including activities that offer opportunities for immediate participation as well as some longer – term activities.
- Additional resources and tools needed throughout the program
- The use of incentives and rewards
- Promotional activities to get your employees motivated and interested in your program
Once you have determined the specific needs and risk factors of your Municipality or Region, it is important to set clear, measurable, achievable goals. Ensure your program goals are measurable and track them regularly. It is beneficial to track these over time (e.g. 3-6 months) to review the impact of your program including pre, during and post program implementation. This will help to identify any areas that might require more focus.
It's also important to establish benchmarks before you start your program to help you measure the impact it is having on your workplace, on the organization's health and wellbeing culture and your employees.
An important program benchmark to set when starting any activity is to have a target level for employee participation. Strategies to be put in place should also be discussed to increase participation in activities.
Useful benchmarks include:
- Absenteeism levels prior to the programs commencement
- Employee morale prior to the program
- Employee retention rates
- Reduction in smoking rates
- Increased physical activity among employees
- Workplace accidents and injury rates
- Sick leave rates
- Productivity levels
- My Good Health: Health Risk Assessment results
- When setting your program benchmarks, it is also beneficial to identify how you will measure the success of your program and the types of measurement tools that you will need to implement.
Here are a few useful tool to assist you:
Evaluation- Measure the Benefit (459.73 kB) Use this resource to identify your program goals, their appropriate measures and the municipal benefits associated with these activities. Undertaking this analysis prior to implementing your health and wellness programs will enable you to understand your current position (benchmark) on which you need to improve.
Wellness Program Evaluation Checklist (484.8 kB)This checklist will help you plan and conduct a simple evaluation of your activities. Not all of the boxes will apply to your program, but it will help you think about how to evaluate your program. Simply check the boxes that are relevant to your wellness program to better organise and communicate your evaluation activities.
Wellness Program- Evaluating Your Activities (421.13 kB) Encourage employees to provide feedback, it will assist you in ensuring the activities meet their needs, have high participation, and are enjoyable. Sending out a survey to employees is a relatively easy way to invite their feedback. The survey provides information on the employees' feedback regarding the activities, its relevance and impact. The survey template provided is suitable to use if your municipality conducts information sessions, workshops or presentations. However, you may need to tailor this survey or develop your own survey to suit your program activities.
Planning is important. It clarifies what the municipality wants to achieve and the strategies used to do this. It should give a clear and shared understanding throughout the Municipality of the wellness program.
Activities should respond to employee needs and interests
- Conduct a survey to find out about the activities that interest your employees
- Have employees complete a My Good Health- Healthy Risk Assessment to better understand the current health state of employees.
Here are a few useful tips and resources to help design an effective workplace wellness program:
Design a plan
Healthy Workplace Action Plan (394.07 kB) This template is a helpful tool that will assist in the planning of health and wellness programs. The template includes sections to record your program goals and activities, resources and tools required and benchmarks for measuring success. Use the results from My Good Health- Health Risk Assessment as a guide to determine the municipal wellness priorities.
Establishing a budget from the commitment of the CAO, management and elected officials. An accurate budget should outline the estimated costs of implementing the wellness initiatives. Monitoring the wellness budget is important throughout the implementation of the wellness initiatives to keep the costs manageable. It is important to include all elements of the wellness initiative such as equipment and supplies, training fees and incentives. The use of existing resources within the Municipality can also help to decrease costs.
Select the Activities
Workplace wellness program should address the primary needs and interests of the employees and elected officials, as well as fit within the budget and timeline of the wellness program. Check out the Health Information pages for a range of simple, inexpensive strategies for you to choose from.
Designing a wellness program that consists of a mix of different activities works best. Combine activities that involve sharing information such brochures or education sessions, with activities that involve action from employees and strategies designed to help change behaviour e.g. walking groups and healthy public policies.
Things to remember:
- Tailor the activities to the specific needs
- Appeal to the majority of employees
- Cater for a variety of needs.
- It's okay to tackle just one issue, or implement just one activity.
- Don't try to do everything at once!
- Keep it simple, Keep it relevant.
Using Incentives and Rewards
Incentives and rewards are a very important part in designing and implementing a wellness program. It can motivate employees to participate and provide a reason to change behaviours. It also demonstrates to the employees, the municipalities commitment to the program.
Incentives need not be expensive and can include:
- Certificate and awards (eg: workplace wellness award)
- Public recognition at meetings at events
- Prizes at certain stages throughout a competition
- Healthy merchandise such as drink bottles and towels
- Lunch held in honour of the winners
- Time off from work
- Gift certificates or cash incentives
Do you think your Municipality's health and wellness program stands out from the crowd?
Be Celebrated! Enter the annual Municipal Workplace Wellness Awards.
A workplace health and wellness policies provide clear and positive statements outlining the value the Municipality places on the health and wellbeing of its employees. It is a practical and formal way of demonstrating that the municipality is serious about the health of its employees and becomes the key foundation for progressing wellness programs.
What can you do?
- You may choose to start with just one policy in an area of interest e.g. physical activity, healthy eating, mental health, tobacco reduction. Check out the Health Information pages for a range of sample policies for you to choose from.
- Make a wellness policy part of an existing occupational health and safety manual and the Municipality's induction process.
A fundamental part of any health and wellness program is improving employees' knowledge and understanding of their own health and wellbeing.This knowledge, together with the implementation of activities will create the necessary awareness to change attitudes and behaviours.
Regular promotion is needed to build interest and participation. Communication should initially focus on the overall health benefits of participating in the program, followed by promoting the particular activities offered to address specific workplace health and wellbeing issues.
Some ideas for promoting wellness programs include:
- Create posters promoting the activity and it's events and place them in high traffic areas around the workplace e.g. lunch rooms & washrooms
- Promote activities through regular communication channels, these could include email, intranet, newsletters, bulletin boards or staff meetings
- Encourage your wellness champions to generate interest by talking to individuals and groups in informal settings
- Organise an official launch that creates some initial momentum and emphasizes management support
- Hold a competition to develop a name and/or logo for the specific activity/program
- If possible, brand merchandise such as t-shirts and drink bottles
- Organise Health Weeks or Days to increase employee's awareness. Use the wellness calendar to get started
- Share the success outcomes of the program and the experiences from employees with the municipality.
Check out the Health Information pages for a range of sample posters and promotional material for you to choose from.
Program implementation is all about 'making it happen'. It requires leadership to coordinate program activities, enthusiasm, and regular communication. Good administration and coordination are important to the success of a workplace wellness program.
Three important aspects to keep in mind when implementing a wellness program:
Maintaining records of activities conducted (what, when, where, who, cost), levels of employees interest and resources provided or developed (e.g. information sheets, booklets, policies etc.) assists in easy evaluation and replicating program delivery across multiple sites if appropriate.
Managing the Wellness Program
- Workplace wellness committee terms of reference template (391.48 kB) Regular wellness committee meetings terms of reference to keep all parties informed.
- Ongoing communication with CAO's, managers, and elected officials on progress and outcomes
- Organizing the support and resources for the activities selected
- Liaising with any external providers delivery a service
- Managing the budget
- Ongoing promotion on the success of the program
- Reviewing objectives intermediately to see if they will be met, and if not putting in place strategies to drive achievements
- Ongoing communication of the activities within the program
Regular evaluation throughout the program is also critical to ensure the program is addressing the needs of the employees.
- Conduct feedback surveys, formally or informally, after each event to inform the evaluation of individual activities as well as the overall wellness program.
- Implement a satisfaction survey to assess employee opinions of the programs and activities to inform continuous improvement.Wellness Program- Evaluating Your Activities (421.13 kB)
Maintaining Employee Interest, Motivation and Ongoing Participation
Maintaining motivation and ongoing participation is key to the long term benefits of a health and wellness program. Ensure the wellness champions and employees are engaged throughout the life of the program by considering strategies such as:
- Including incentives and rewards that are desired by the employees
- Regularly communicating the health benefits of the activities to encourage participation
- Promoting management support of initiatives by encouraging management participation
- Ensuring all employees are able to access the program activities
Improving the health and wellbeing in the Municipality is not a one-dimensional process. It can take time to change the culture of a municipality, but by involving employees and elected officials and listening to what they have to say, it will become easier to tailor a program to their needs, within the capacity of the municipality. This will also achieve greater productivity and better job satisfaction.
Program evaluation measures the success of the activities, the overall program, and generates ideas for future activities. Evaluation can be done formally through repeating the My Good Health- Health Risk Assessment, or informally via discussions with employees who participated in particular activities.
Anonymous feedback is recommended to ensure accurate information is provided about activities, and knowledge and behaviour change of employees.
Program evaluation will enable a municipality to:
- Determine if a program has been implemented as planned
- Identify opportunities for improvement
- Assess if a program is attracting the volume of participants that it intended
- Ensure the activity mix is meeting employee needs
- Document changes in employee health and wellness knowledge and attitudes
- Measure changes in employee health risk indicators
- Assess the perceived value and overall employee and management satisfaction
- Identify the health outcomes of a program as they relate to sick leave, EFAP claims and absenteeism rates
- Identify the benefits to the municipality (e.g. reduced absenteeism, increased productivity) and establish whether an ongoing commitment to the program is justified
- Use these evaluation tools to assist in developing an evaluation framework
Measure your programs' success
When measuring the success of a wellness program it is worthwhile to demonstrate the achievements with the CAO, management team, AMANS wellness coordinator, elected officials, and employees.
Measuring success may include:
- Assessing the number of actual participants in program activities compared to the projected number
- Comparisons in absenteeism (if possible) across the Municipality – pre, during and post wellness program implementation
- Assess changes in employee knowledge of the issue that were targeted e.g. healthy eating with a follow up knowledge assessment survey
- Compare My Good Health- health risk assessment results before, throughout and after the programMonitor employee morale through employee satisfaction or opinion surveys pre and post the program
Once a wellness activity is completed, it is often worthwhile to provide a summary snapshot that outlines whether the goals set were achieved, the most successful activities implemented, the health and wellness improvements in the employees and any changes made in the workplace such as new policies or environmental changes This is a very powerful tool to demonstrate to management the benefits to the municipality and future cements ongoing support and continuation of a wellness program.
Here are a few useful tool to assist you:
- Evaluation- Measure the Benefit (459.73 kB) Use this resource to identify your program goals, their appropriate measures and the municipal benefits associated with these activities. Undertaking this analysis prior to implementing your health and wellness programs will enable you to understand your current position (benchmark) on which you need to improve.
- Wellness Program Evaluation Checklist (484.8 kB)This checklist will help you plan and conduct a simple evaluation of your activities. Not all of the boxes will apply to your program, but it will help you think about how to evaluate your program. Simply check the b
- xes that are relevant to your wellness program to better organize and communicate your evaluation activities.
- Evaluating Wellness Programs (605.12 kB) Encourage employees to provide feedback, it will assist you in ensuring the activities meet their needs, have high participation, and are enjoyable. Sending out a survey to employees is a relatively easy way to invite their feedback. The survey provides information on the employees' feedback regarding the activities, its relevance and impact. The survey template provided is suitable to use if your municipality conducts information sessions, workshops or presentations. However, you may need to tailor this survey or develop your own survey to suit your program activities.
The information gathered during the implementation of a wellness activity and on its' completion should be used to review and improve the workplace health and wellness program.
Consider which activities were most successful and why:
- Use the program evaluation results as a tool to improve and enhance the wellness program.
- Review employees feedback on the selected activities and how they can be enhanced to further meet the needs of the employees.
- Identify if there has been a change in the municipalities demographics and how this would impact on the needs and requirements for the wellness program.
- It is vitally important to constantly adapt and improve a wellness program to meet the needs of the employees and municipality.