Assessing Need and Interest
Assessing the need for and interest in a discount fitness club network (DFCN) is the first phase in ensuring its initial success and continued popularity. You can also think of this phase as market research for the project.
Before conducting your needs assessment, define the project’s overall goal and identify internal partners. Use this information to determine what information you want to gather during the needs assessment and who should be asked for input.
Here are some information resources to help determine if there is employee need for increased fitness club access:
- Obtain information on the number, location, and employee population of all work sites from your human resources department.
- Conduct a building audit at each location. Include information on the absence, presence, and extent of on-site fitness facilities.
- Obtain usage data for all on-site fitness facilities.
- Investigate whether your employees already have access to a DFCN through their health plan, auto club, or other memberships. If they already have access to a DFCN, you might wish to skip to Maintaining Interest for ideas on how to promote your DFCN.
Seeking employee input on desired features (specific fitness clubs, proximity, cost, services) is especially important in the needs assessment phase so begin planning early. There are many ways to gather employee input that can be tailored to fit your situation — formal or informal, well-funded or on a shoestring budget. Consider the following:
- Hold employee focus groups.
- Conduct an employee e-mail survey.
- Obtain informal input through existing employee committees.
Before collecting employee input, obtain guidance from appropriate agency experts to help determine what approvals may be needed. For example, federal agencies are subject to Office of Management and Budget (OMB) regulations and will experience a long lead time if OMB approval is needed. Similarly, if your assessment is part of a research project, check with the appropriate institutional review board (IRB) to determine if IRB approval is needed. Each agency or company should work with its own internal and legal staff to develop appropriate guidelines and procedures for gathering employee input.
After you have collected enough information to confirm the need and interest in a DFCN, continue with the planning phase.