So you’ve built a foundation for your workplace health program based on strong evidence, you’ve come up with some great initiatives and hopefully you even have a little bit of money to support it – but that’s no guarantee your program will be a success.
Convincing people to “get on board”
Changing the way your organisation works isn’t a case of “build it and they will come.” Instead, you’re going to need to sell your workplace health program – much of it will be voluntary and you will need staff participation to succeed.
Some ideas to get your workplace health plan up and running and meaningfully engage your staff include:
- Hold a virtual or real program launch to raise awareness
- Invite a guest expert to speak to staff and make sure staff can attend
- Put posters up in the workplace where people will see them and have flyers and brochures available where staff can easily access them
- Create regular workplace events like a walking group, bicycle user’s group
- Send regular reminders about upcoming events and activities in staff newsletter, employee emails or online
- Similarly, use these platforms to share success stories from staff who have participated, or get staff to share their experiences – including challenges – as a way to make the program more relatable
- Find people in the organisation that are passionate and appoint them as program “champions” who can spread the word and help motivate people to take part
- Link your health program with external initiatives and days like Ride2Work Day, World Diabetes Day or R U OK? Day
Keep the interest up by planning for the long run
Change happens over the medium and long-term, not overnight. There’s no point in having a big launch and lots of excitement if your initiatives fall by the wayside after a few weeks or months.
Plan six to twelve months ahead and know how you’ll pick up the interest again when the slumps happen and other work priorities inevitably intervene.
To get others involved and accountable for keeping up the momentum, create reps at each of your sites or in your teams to meet (in person or virtually) and link back to other staff.
Some of the things to keep in mind to maintain momentum and motivation over the long term include:
- Time – people are busy and you need to make it as easy and convenient for them to take action as possible;
- Access – Can all your staff take part? Think about your sites, shift workers, casuals, those with disabilities or from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds;
- Knowledge – Ensure people understand what the benefits of involvement are and what they need to do;
- Cost – Try to include costs in your program budget rather than charging staff.
Make sure someone is in charge
Maintaining a workplace health program doesn’t need to be a lot of work, but for it to be successful, it will need some ongoing, day-to-day “maintenance”. It’s important to have someone with a dedicated amount of time per week in their work plan to carry out the work.
This day-to-day work includes:
- Organising, running and following-up on your health group meetings;
- Logistics, staff supervision and planning for individual activities;
- Ongoing monitoring and evaluation;
- Managing the budget;
- Liaising with external trainers and guest speakers;
- Liaising with management and providing regular progress updates;
- Communicating progress, success stories and future activities to the wider staff group;
There are at least two good reasons to invest some time in monitoring and evaluation.
1) It will give you a real picture of how much good your program is actually doing; and
2) It will give you hard evidence to advocate for continuing your program, possibly with a larger scope and a bigger budget.
In the next – and final – part of our workplace health series we’ll be delving into how to best evaluate your program.
Has this guide been helpful? We’d love you to share your experiences in setting up or improving your organisation’s healthy workplace program with us in the comments below!
More information: Read the full report: “Ten steps to implementing a workplace health program”
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