When I first came to the field of workplace wellness over a decade ago, I came from a business background. I noticed there was very little written about, or well-adopted practices, on planning wellness programs. Every successful business has a well-thought out strategy. By definition, strategy is a high-level plan to achieve one or more goals under conditions of uncertainty. A wellbeing program certainly falls under the category of "conditions of uncertainty," health and wellbeing is an ever-moving target. To be successful, every business needs to have a strategy for the goals they want to achieve, and that includes employee wellbeing.
Yet, in 2014, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, in conjunction with the Worksite Wellness Council of Massachusetts, conducted a state-wide benchmarking survey. That survey showed that only ten percent of the respondents had a written strategic plan for their wellness program. This was surprising to me, particularly considering that we know when companies take the time to plan, just as they do with their other business initiatives, their wellness programs have statistically greater impact. It is an obvious opportunity for industry growth.
Just like any other business objective, a workplace wellbeing initiative needs to be fully thought out and planned. A strategic plan for wellbeing initiative is a documented plan that identifies a vision, mission, goals, objectives, as well as the infrastructure and resources that will be required to achieve the goals of the initiative. Other elements of the strategic plan include a communications plan, a plan for the incentives, if they are going to be used, and an evaluation plan.
With so many elements to consider, taking the time to plan when it comes to your wellness program is a necessary and important step.