Once assessment and planning have been completed, the next step is implementing the strategies and interventions 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
Before implementing any interventions, the basic program’s governance structure and evaluation plan should be developed.
Program strategies and interventions can focus on different levels
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
Implement a combination of strategies and interventions
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.
In addition, enacting both physical activity and nutrition programs will affect not only obesity but also type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol among the organization’s employees.
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.
1. McLeroy KR, Bibeau D, Steckler A, Glanz K. An ecological perspective on health promotion programs. Health Educ Q. 1988;15:351–77.