A colleague and I were developing a physical activity program for a client and were reviewing the rough outline.  Our manager asked on what we were basing the program goals? I am embarrassed to admit, after doing this for a while, I had jumped in and started planning based on my overall knowledge. I did not begin with the data.

I had committed a cardinal sin in Worksite Health Promotion. While there may be some common factors in most challenges or programs, each audience is unique. Whether this is your first challenge or 100th you should always start with the data.

What had previous challenges or the Health Risk Assessment (HRA) told us about how much the employees at this organization were exercising? Based on the HRA and previous challenge evaluations or employee interest surveys, what did we know about what employees wanted or were ready to do?

I remember reading an article about an organization that wanted to target physical activity, based on the companies HRA results.  The employee interest surveys showed there was a large interest in baseball.  A Spring Training Physical Activity program was developed.  Brilliant, the employees were instantly engaged.

To give another example, a company develops a healthy eating campaign.  The goal is to eat eight servings of fruit and vegetables as day.  If the organization knew the employees were currently only eating one to two servings of fruit and vegetables a day, how would that change the program or the goal?  What are the chances of hitting the goal of eight servings a day if you are starting at one?

Most companies offer some type of wellness programs. The majority are activity centered – they throw a bunch of activities at employees and hope for results.

In contrast, results-oriented initiatives are those programs that are based on company data and thoughtfully designed. Results-oriented programs are more likely to impact the organization’s bottom line through high participation levels, improved employee health and increased productivity.

Valorie Bender