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Once assessment and planning have been completed, the next step is implementing the strategies and interventionsA generic term used in public health to describe a program or policy designed to have an impact on a health problem. that will comprise the workplace health program. Program implementation involves all the steps needed to put health promotion strategies and interventions into place and make them available to employees.
Some program implementation considerations have already been discussed in the planning module such as:
- Developing Communications strategies for leadership and employees
- Obtaining Resources such as staff, equipment, or vendor contracts to provide programs and services
- Establishing data and informatics systems for program planning and evaluation
Health topics addressed in the implementation module
Workplace health programs are implemented to improve the health of individual employees and of the overall organization. The selection of strategies and interventions that make up the overall program can focus on different levels within the organizations including1:
- Individual – elements of an employee’s lifestyle, such as their health behaviors, health risk factors, and current health status
- Interpersonal – elements of an employee’s social network including relationships with managers, coworkers, and family that provide support, mentoring or role models
- Organizational – elements of the workplace structure, culture, practices and policies such as health benefits, health promotion programs, work organization, and leadership and management support
- Environmental – elements of the physical workplace such as facilities and settings where employees work as well as access and opportunities for health promotion provided by the surrounding community where employees live
It is important for the overall workplace health program to contain a combination of individual and organizational level strategies and interventions to influence health, including:
- Health-related Programs – opportunities available to employees at the workplace or through outside organizations to begin, change or maintain health behaviors
- Health-related Policies – are formal or informal written statements that are designed to protect or promote employee health. Supportive workplace health policies affect large groups of workers simultaneously and make adopting healthy behaviors much easier. They can also create and foster a company culture of health.
- Health Benefits – part of an overall compensation package including health insurance coverage and other services or discounts regarding health
- Environmental Support – refers to the physical factors at and nearby the workplace that help protect and enhance employee health
The evidence-based strategies and interventions presented in this module are organized into these four main categories.
Workplace health programs are not add-on benefits but basic investments in human capital, similar to training, mentoring, and other employee development programs.
Regardless of which interventions are selected, the program should strive to:
- Use multiple interventions, such as combining program and policy interventions, for a single health issue. Combinations are more effective than any one intervention alone
- Use interventions that address multiple health issues at the same time, which is more effective than addressing each single health issue separately
Example: Encouraging both individual smoking cessation clinical referrals and smoke-free workplace policies will have a greater impact on tobacco use among employees than using only one of these interventions.
It may be more prudent to focus on one or two policies and programs at first and build on early successes, rather than implement several interventions with insufficient resources. Also, many effective interventions such as health-related policy changes exist that are low-cost, which is especially important for small-and-medium-sized companies that may not have extensive resources to dedicate to employee health.
Tools and Resources
- Leading by Example: Creating Healthy Communities through Corporate Engagement published in 2011 by the Partnership for Prevention features 19 businesses and business groups who are providing leadership and reaching out to improve the health and wellness of their communities providing many benefits to their organizations.
- Leading by Example: The Value of Worksite Health Promotion to Small- and Medium-sized Employers published in 2011 by the Partnership for Prevention provides best practices and strategies for creating or enhancing a worksite health promotion program as well as worksite health program descriptions from almost 20 small employers
- Healthy Workforce 2010: An Essential Health Promotion Sourcebook for Employers, Large and Small , published in 2004 by the Partnership for Prevention, provides extensive information on worksite wellness programs based on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services 2010 health objectives. It lists elements of a comprehensive worksite health promotion and has a complete section on planning and implementing any type of worksite health promotion program
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Healthier Worksite Initiative includes a wide variety of workplace health program strategies and interventions that focus on both individual employees and the workplace environment including workgroups, lifestyle classes, grocery store tours to promote healthy eating, fitness centers, an on-site fresh food market, individual fitness evaluations, and healthy food choices in vending machines and cafeterias
- The CDC Community Health Resources website is a searchable database that includes communications and marketing campaigns; cross-cutting programs; data and statistics; guidelines and recommendations; policy, partnership, and planning tools is related to worksite wellness
- Division of Population Health/Workplace Health Promotion
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