A variety of resources are necessary to support the workplace health program. Resources can be monetary or other. The organization can hire internal staff to manage the program and contract with vendors to provide programs and services. Additional costs for administration, incentives, equipment or supplies should be considered. Additional resources include participants’ time and talent.
Members on the wellness council committee should be able to volunteer their time to attend planning meetings, and employees must have the time and supervisory approval to participate in workplace health activities. The organization can engage in partnerships with community organizations to provide needed expertise or capacity that the workplace health program lacks. These partnerships may also help in minimizing costs.
All the necessary resources should be itemized in an annual budget and included in the workplace health improvement plan. Accurate tracking of program costs can be used as part of the evaluation strategy to compare the organization’s investment with program goals and outcomes. Available resources are a factor in determining which workplace health activities are feasible to pursue and the time required to achieve them.
Ensure sufficient resources are available to support the workplace health program
- Resources include financial resources, such as vendor contracts, purchasing of equipment or supplies (e.g., influenza vaccine or renting mobile screening equipment), marketing or educational materials, or hiring staff to oversee and manage the program
- Resources for all phases of the program’s development including assessment, planning and implementation of programs, and evaluation
- Additional resources include staff time for planning and implementation, space, and employee’s time to participate
- Community partners can bring additional resources into the program to meet needs or fill gaps that the workplace health coordinator or committee can not accomplish alone:
- Experts from local hospitals or universities can be brought in to conduct health promotion seminars
- Organizations such as the YMCA can provide access to fitness facilities for opportunities for physical activity
- State or local health departments can provide health data that can be used for benchmarking
- Voluntary health organizations such as the American Cancer Society or American Heart Association have educational materials or programs that address employee health needs
- Incentives used to motivate employees to participate in program activities, including the type and amount, should be accounted for in the overall workplace health improvement plan budget as well as the manner in which employees will be eligible to receive them. Incentives can come in many forms including:
- Financial rewards such as gift cards or subsidies for health promotion classes or gym memberships
- Time off from work
- Lower health insurance premiums related to achieving health goals
- Merchandise or prizes such as t-shirts or pedometers, or
- Recognition by coworkers or supervisors
Incentives are effective in increasing participation in health promotion programs, but it is unclear if they are effective on long term behavior change.1-2
- The CDC National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has developed as part of its WorkLife Initiative the Essential Elements document which identifies twenty components of a comprehensive work-based health protection and health promotion program and includes both guiding principles and practical direction for organizations seeking to develop effective workplace programs. The Essential Element’s twenty components are divided into four areas: Organizational Culture and Leadership; Program Design; Program Implementation and Resources; and Program Evaluation
1. Matson DM, Lee JW, Hopp JW. The impact of incentives and competitions on participation and quit rates in worksite smoking cessation programs. Am J Health Promot. 1993; 7(4):270-80, 295.
2. VanWormer JJ, Pronk NP. Rewarding change: principles for implementing worksite incentive programs. In: Pronk NP, editor. ACSM’s worksite health handbook, 2nd edition. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics; 2009. p. 239-247