Assessing Workforce Health

Conducting a workplace environmental assessment is among the most important steps to workplace wellness. Studies show that when a health promotion program is unfocused, it has little long-term impact. So choosing the right kind of program is vital to achieving a positive impact on employee health, return on investment, and program sustainability.

Small steps such as healthy food choices in vending machines, encouraging walking during break times or no smoking policies on worksite grounds make it easier for employees to adopt healthy habits.

The value of assessments

Completing an environment assessment helps you identify your worksite’s strengths and improvement opportunities related to wellness. Some companies will have additional needs such as worker safety, repetitive injury prevention, fatigue management, or ergonomics. You may find some of the actions for supporting healthy behaviors are easy to do and others may not be feasible or efficient in your worksite. Doing an assessment helps you target the most effective next steps. The initial results provide a good baseline measure and way to track progress over time.

Getting started

Choose a workgroup of at least four to five people who will be responsible for completing the assessment. Participants could be human resources, employees from various departments, supervisors or your current safety committee members. Once you have completed the assessment, determine which areas the workgroup will focus on, such as healthy eating, physical activity, general health, etc. Also determine a schedule for annual assessments, so that the assessment can serve as a tool for continuous improvement and accountability over time.