Module 4
Planning your program

In this section you will learn:

What methods to use for assessing your workplace

Ways to effectively consult with your workforce

What kind of consultation questions to use

How to create SMART objectives

How to create a workplace health and wellbeing action plan

Effective ways to evaluate your workplace health and wellbeing program

Workplace assessment and consultation

All workplaces (and their employees) are different, which means there is no “one size fits all” solution. It’s important to assess your workplace and consult with staff in order to understand what is impacting on health behaviours, so that solutions can be found to improve them.1 Use assessment and consultation to answer:


What are the current gaps and barriers?


What do employees want?


How can things be improved?

Steps to assessing your workplace


Review existing health (or related) policies and what they do and don’t cover.

Find out what you already have in place, work out whether it’s sufficient and highlight any gaps.

For example, you might have a comprehensive alcohol, physical activity and healthy eating policy, but not a smoke-free policy, despite having a number of smokers on site. You have identified that you need to start developing a smoke-free policy that’s in line with current legislation.


Observe and audit the workplace environment/s

Observe the workplace environment, see how employees interact with it and how this may be affecting health in order to identify improvements.

For example, 100% of your workforce might be seated behind computers all day, with employees only getting up every now and again to collect printing, get a cup of tea or use the bathroom. Employees might even eat lunch at their desk! How would you alter the environment to encourage people to get up out of their seats more?


Review current and past health activities and any evaluation information.

Do you know if any activities have already taken place at your organisation, and how successful they were? Use this information to plan the next event.

For example, if a healthy cooking class was carried out, ensure you consult with staff on what they thought of it. If you find out quite a lot of people attended, that is a great indicator to show staff are already motivated to make healthy behaviour changes.


Gather demographic information about your workforce (e.g. percentage of men vs women, average age, language spoken, education level etc)

If you’re able to collect this information, it can tell you a lot about how to best promote your program. Ensuring anonymity for employees will help with participation in a survey that seeks to gather this type of information.

For example, if English is a second language to many employees, you would need to tailor your resources and messages to ensure they are meeting your employees’ needs.


Compare your industry data to the national average

Compare you industry data to the national data as discussed in module one. Have a look at the How Healthy is Your Industry data.

Effective staff consultation

Staff consultation not only helps you to understand employee wants, needs and barriers, but is also a great engagement tool. You may need to manage employee expectations during consultation, as the workplace may not be able to deliver on all requests. Before you start consulting, there are three decision to make:

Decide how you will consult

Think about how you are going to collect results. Here are some methods of consultation you could use:

  • Online surveys are great for computer based staff
  • Paper based surveys given out to staff or left in high traffic areas
  • Face to face chats or informal discussions with staff members
  • Focus groups including staff from different departments or locations
  • Attending compulsory meetings to conduct a survey on the spot
  • Using existing groups or committees as a focus group (e.g. social club)
  • Using natural leaders or health champions within your workplace to help gather feedback

Using a number of different collection methods will help you collect the information you need. Offering healthy incentives for staff to participate in consultation might result in better response rates.

Decide who to talk to

Determine how many and which staff members you wish to consult with – do you want to speak to your entire workforce, or just a specific group? If you have a large workplace, look at consulting with a high risk group. You could even use this group to test out your strategies.

Decide what you’re going to ask 

What is it that you will be asking them? Think about the information you are aiming to gather and ensure your consultation covers the following:

  • Strategies employees would like to see implemented
  • Current behaviours, awareness levels and attitudes around SNAP risk factors
  • Current barriers to undertaking healthy lifestyle behaviours

Example consultation questions

The following provides some example questions that can be used for consultation purposes. The  questions are grouped by health risk factor, and can be used to measure awareness levels, attitudes and behaviours. You may like to utilise questions such as these to measure baseline levels or track changes that occur over time.

The list below contains sample questions, but is not exhaustive. These questions can be downloaded from the resources tab below.

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  • General questions

    In addition to assessing staff awareness levels, attitudes and behaviours it is important to consider:

    • What employees want from the program.
    • What may stop them from participating in the program.
    • What would encourage them to get involved in the program.

    Some example questions are shown below:

    • What strategies would you like to see implemented in the workplace (think about policies, infrastructure, facilities, education and activities)?
    • What would assist you in making healthier choices at work?
    • What is currently supporting you to be healthy at work?
    • Are there any barriers preventing you from being healthy at work?
    • Do you think there is adequate infrastructure and facilities to support you to be healthy at work? If no, what could be improved?
    • What would encourage you to participate in a workplace health and wellbeing program?
    • What motivates you to make healthy choices (e.g. improved health, family role model)?

Creating SMART objectives

SMART objectives ensure everyone clearly understands what is being worked towards. As opposed to a general objective which can be interpreted in many different ways, SMART objectives allow you to confidently measure whether or not success has been achieved.

Ensure the objectives you set cover the following:

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What specifically do you want to achieve?

“Increase by 20% the proportion of employees achieving at least 30 minutes of exercise on 6 days per week” is more specific than “increase the number of employees exercising”


Can you measure if you have achieved success?

By adding in specific figures, it will be easier to measure whether you have been successful e.g. You can see if there’s been a 20% increase in the proportion of employees achieving 30 minutes of exercise by surveying employees before and after your strategies are implemented and comparing the results.


Can you realistically achieve your objective with the time and resources available?

If you’re low on resources, including time and money, you may need to adjust your expectations. Objectives shouldn’t be too easy, nor too difficult to achieve.


Does your objective reflect your organisation’s and employee’s needs?

Focusing on reducing smoking rates in an organisation with no smokers, would be a waste of time and money. Ensure you consult effectively so that your objectives are relevant.

Time bound

When do you want to achieve your objective by?

Adding a completion date will help you to keep focused. Try to choose time lines within 6 to 12 months and remember to ensure it’s a realistic timeframe.

Writing SMART objectives is not a complex process; it may just take a little getting used to. Below are a few examples you can use as a basis for creating your own:

  • Increase the proportion of employees that are achieving at least 30 minutes of exercise on at least 6 days per week by 30 June 2015 by 20%.
  • Increase by 10% the proportion of factory staff achieving the recommended fruit and vegetable intake (2 fruit and 5 veg) everyday over the next 12 months.
  • Decrease the proportion of employees who smoke by 30% over the next 6 months.
  • Reduce by 50% the proportion of workshop employees who are drinking more than 2 standard drinks at any work event over the next 12 months.

Creating a workplace health promotion action plan

Once you have decided on the priorities for your workplace, an action plan will allow you to describe what you want to achieve and the steps you will take to do this. You can use your action plan to keep track of your program’s progress and successes. Below are the essential components of an action plan that will help to keep your program on track. Click on each to reveal more information:

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Evaluation enables you to determine a number of things regarding your program, for example:

  • Have you achieved your objectives?
  • Strengths of your program (i.e. what helped you to succeed?)
  • Barriers to success (i.e. what hindered the achievement of objectives)
  • Improvements that can be made


It also allows you to demonstrate success to management, increasing your chances of ongoing support. Evaluation can be simple or detailed, depending on your organisation’s needs. It’s important to plan for evaluation at the beginning, prior to developing and implementing your action plan. This is so you are able to effectively measure whether or not your program has made a difference to the health of your workforce.

Now for the good news, once you’ve completed your consultation, you have probably got most of the information needed for your evaluation. If not, you can just add a few questions in addition to your consultation questions.


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Answer the following short questions to complete this program

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