Organizational Change | Physical Activity Evaluation Measures

Organizational change measures for physical activity1-3

Physical activity, along with other health habits, require ongoing support from employers. New programs can be added over time and evaluated periodically for their effectiveness in establishing, maintaining, and increasing employee physical activity. For best results, recognition of the benefits of physical activity should become an inherent part of organizational change and corporate culture.

Measuring organization change is an assessment of company-initiated programs and policies that affect most employees regardless of their health status (e.g., establishing walking trails on the company campus). These efforts need to be integrated for greatest effectiveness and will require time for full implementation. Regular measures of employee attitudes and program success are key in determining whether new programs are effective or require further adaptation to prevent continuing investment in ineffective efforts.


  • Determine workplace barriers to employee’s engagement in physical activity
  • Assess current workplace physical activity programs
    • List current physical activity options for employees through worksite and identify number of employees (i.e., participation) using each option. Examples:
      • Number of physical activity programs (e.g., education seminars, group physical activity classes), availability and use of physical activity facilities
      • Availability of educational materials on physical activity
      • Number of physical activity-related policies
      • Number of environmental strategies such as stairway signs, walking trails, and exercise rooms
    • Conduct baseline workplace walkablity audit
      • Number of partnerships with community resources for physical activity such as YMCAs or health clubs
    • Determine costs of current company physical activity programs such as:
      • Gym memberships
      • Capital investment in buildings, facilities, or campus
      • Staffing, equipment, and space
      • Maintenance of on-site fitness equipment or facilities
      • Incentives tied to physical activity programs
    • Conduct survey of employee satisfaction with current workplace supported physical activity options


  • Reassess barriers to employee physical activity
  • Document steps taken and progress toward implementing each intervention selected
    • List numeric goals in each form of intervention within a designated time period (e.g., 12 months from startup):
      • Employee reach (e.g., number of educational pamphlets distributed)
      • Employee participation (e.g., number of desired participants in physical activity classes)
    • Describe timeline for implementation of each planned intervention (e.g., length of time and timing of tasks to develop, initiate, and conduct a mass campaign)
    • Create a baseline budget for new interventions including classes, instructors, classroom space, exercise equipment, gym fees, etc
    • Identify opportunities for new partnerships with community groups who provide physical activity programs (e.g., YMCA, local health department, local health club, etc.)
  • Reassess employee satisfaction regarding workplace supported physical activity programs


  • Measure reductions in the number and type of employee barriers in engaging in physical activity at the workplace
  • Assess changes in workplace physical activity programs
    • Measure changes in the number of physical activity options for employees through the worksite and changes in employee participation using each option before and after the physical activity program or campaign. Examples:
      • Number of new programs developed and offered to employees and participation in these programs
      • Number of new educational materials developed and made available to employees
      • Number of physical activity-related polices developed and implemented compared to baseline
      • Number and type of new environmental support changes made (e.g., number of multi-purpose rooms allocated to physical activity; walking trail or fitness facility built; changes in hours of operation in existing fitness facility)
    • Using the walkability audit tool, the number of walkability enhancements can be documented
      • Number of new partnerships with community groups created to enhance access and opportunity for employees to be physically active
    • Assess changes in program costs from baseline
      • New capital investments made (e.g., on-site fitness facilities)
      • Increases in staffing or equipment needs due to new program offerings
      • New incentives or changes in existing incentives based on employee participation
    • Assess changes in survey responses for employee satisfaction following implementation of a workplace supported physical activity program and compare with baseline

Depending on goal success, evaluate the need to adjust workplace programs.


1.  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Framework for program evaluation in public health. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 1999;48(No. RR-11): 1-40.

3.  Goetzel RZ, Ozminkowski RJ. Program evaluation. In: O’Donnell MP, editor. Health promotion in the workplace, 3rd edition. Albany, NY: Delmar Thomson Learning; 2002. p 116-165.

3.  US Department of Health and Human Services. Physical activity evaluation handbook. Atlanta, GA: US Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; 2002.