How to set up a worksite well-being program

Nothing worthwhile was ever created by winging it. The same is true of a worksite well-being program. The program itself is straightforward, but it’s important to invest time up front for planning. Here’s a general outline of the steps you should take to get your program started:


Step 1: Solicit management support.

To set the stage for a successful worksite well-being program, you should begin by getting management support. It will help you secure the resources and backing necessary to create real change. Here are some tips to help you gain management support:

  • Inform managers about your program early on and encourage them to participate.
  • Align your well-being value proposition with your company’s mission statement.
  • Regularly communicate the goals of the program and the anticipated benefits to both the company and your employees.
  • Encourage managers to provide well-being updates during meetings to help build momentum for your well-being program.

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Step 2: Create a well-being committee.

When deciding who should be on the well-being committee, think about the groups of individuals that will be helpful to the program and the groups of individuals that the program will affect. The purpose of the well-being committee is to plan, promote, and implement the program. The committee establishes continuity, motivation, and broad ownership of the program and provides an excellent vehicle for communication.

When deciding who should be on the well-being committee, think about what groups of individuals will be helpful to the program and what groups of individuals the program will affect. Committee members should be enthusiastic, eager to talk about healthy behaviors, and encouraging of worksite well-being program participation. Consider interviewing employees and offering an incentive to selected members.

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Step 3: Collect data.

The research and planning step is the most critical to the program’s success. Important tasks to focus on during this step include:

  • Ask employees for input on their health interests and needs.
  • Assess your company’s environment and culture.
  • Review outcomes from previous wellness initiatives.
  • Set goals and determine the steps required to reach them.
  • Seek support from outside sources to minimize implementation time.
  • Develop a budget for prizes and incentives.

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Step 4: Create an operating plan.

A comprehensive, successful well-being program can take up to three months to plan. Varying the types of programs you offer will help maintain employee interest, cover a wide range of topics, and involve a wide range of people. Scrutinize your workplace, too. Do policies need to change to create a more health-centric workplace?

Our sample plan templates can help you build a comprehensive well-being program. Use these templates as your framework or as a jumping-off point to design your own plan based on the size, needs, and interests of your company and employees. You can also visit our Learn page to find toolkits and resources to help with your annual planning efforts.

The sample communication plan is a structured planning document to guide you through the planning process. This document includes a high-level overview of what you can expect your plan to accomplish, as well as assistance with planning your strategy and integrated communication plan. A planning calendar is also included to help you plan events and communications in an organized manner.

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Step 5: Implement and promote your program.

Consider making a formal announcement when you kick off the program. Allow plenty of time to promote scheduled events and activities. Flyers, banners, posters, email announcements, and newsletters are all good ways to spread the word.

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Step 6: Create a supportive environment.

This is the time to start working on policies to create a supportive environment. Those policies should focus on data from Step 3. They could include a tobacco-free workplace policy, healthy meeting policy, addition of walking paths, stretch breaks, relaxation rooms, or whatever you identified as top needs. Consider these sample policies and plans:

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Step 7: Evaluate.

After each event or program, evaluate the outcome so you’ll know exactly what you achieved. You might find that some programs were so successful they’re worth re-running throughout the year. Or others were too complicated or didn’t really affect employee health. This information will help you refine your plan so you use your time and money as efficiently as possible.

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