Workplace Health Model

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends a workplace health model incorporating elements and fundamental ideas of The Community Guide’s framework and Healthy People 2020 in a coordinated approach to impact health at the workplace. This approach should be “coordinated, systematic and comprehensive”.

Assessment
Program success and employee engagement demands information to be obtained about the workplace, either formally (i.e. needs assessment) or informally (i.e. conversations with employees), collecting data regarding individual lifestyle, work environment, and organizational details. Data should be collected for both employee interests and available aggregate data, including, but not limited to, health status, health issues or cultural survey data. Engaging employees, including the leadership team, from the beginning of program planning and development will help drive commitment, responsibility, and participation; as well as, creating a culture of health and great place to work. Additional information to assist with workplace assessment can be found using the CDC Assessment Module.

Program planning
Next is to develop a strategic plan that considers the pertinent assessment results from a vantage point of both the individual’s actions and environmental context in accordance with the direction from the governance structure. This should always be completed prior to implementation or evaluation; however, keeping the end in mind (how will I evaluate this program to know it was successful?) will help drive the overall plan. The recommended strategy for “direction leadership and organization” by the CDC includes: leadership support dedicated to championing wellness and modeling behaviors; workplace Wellness Committee, Coordinator or Council; development of a resource list of available assets; defined mission, vision, goals, objectives and strategies; comprehensive communication plan; evidence-based practices; and data collection and analysis. A thoughtful strategic plan will select and deliver interventions, policies, and programs that are most advantageous to the particulars of the employee population. Additional resources can be found by visiting the CDC’s Planning/Workplace Governance Module.

Implementation
The implementation stage is where the rubber meets the road. Employees often see this stage as the “Wellness Program”, and typically do not understand what goes into the process to provide a comprehensive strategic plan. Therefore, implementation occurs when the strategic plan executes the opportunities to support an employee’s health. The CDC recommends four main categories for interventions or strategies that successfully influence health: “health-related programs; health-related policies; health benefits; and environmental supports”.

Evaluation
To determine impact and success, evaluation is crucial to the longevity of a workplace wellness program. Everything from programs to policies to environment must be evaluated to determine return on investment (ROI), value on investment (VOI), health impact, employee satisfaction and sustainability. “According to the CDC (2016), evaluations can often be overwhelming, time-consuming and expensive; so focusing on relevant, salient, and useful information is key to quality evaluation practices. An evaluation tool should be designed to support the program process, quality improvement, and identification of gaps for future strategic plans.” Source: Wikipedia

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