Expanding Your Business Horizons – Worksite Health Promotion

As a fitness professional you have the ability to apply your knowledge and experiences in a variety of settings to help increase your revenue. One such area you can apply yourself is in the corporate fitness setting with worksite health promotion.

Businesses everywhere have been feeling the squeeze as health care costs have risen over the past several years. According to an article published on CNN’s Money website, “Over the past decade, the annual cost of family coverage has risen 131% and the annual cost for single coverage is up 120%” (website article “Family health costs jump 5%). As a result, they are looking for ways to save money. Sometimes it involves screening out potential job applicants that are not healthy, or finding reasons to fire a current employee that is unfit. An alternative method to help combat the rising health care costs is worksite health promotion.

In short, worksite health promotion is “the combination of educational, organizational, and environmental activates and programs designed to motivate and support healthy lifestyles among a company’s employees and their families” (Worksite Health Promotion, pg. 5). How does this benefit you as a fitness professional? Well with a little bit of knowledge in worksite health promotion, you can approach local businesses to see if they would be interested in your services.

There are several steps involved in creating and implementing a health promotion program for a given business. They include:

*Identification and Assessment – The first step is to meet with the company to get an idea of the specific type of program(s) they will need (smoking cessation, diabetes education, etc) Part of this can involve speaking with the employees, sending out simple health surveys via email they can respond to, etc. In addition you will want to evaluate the employees in terms of what types of programs they feel would work best. Would they prefer payment assistance at a local gym, be motivated by receiving a reward for reaching their goals, etc.

*Planning the programs – This step includes goal setting, budget setting, figuring out how the program(s) will be implemented, who will run it, and how long it will take before results are apparent. This stage at times also includes proposal creation as you may need to present your information to the company to see if they give it a final okay.

*Program implementation – If you make it past the proposal, you will be in the green to implement your health promotion program.

*Program Evaluation – Your program should be evaluated on a regular basis. This way if you find the current program is not living up to expectations, you can immediately revamp it. If not, the company could feel you are wasting their money, and stop giving some of it to you.

In a way worksite health promotion is not a static system. You may find after you have evaluated the program (the last step) that you need to go back to step one and re-identify and re-assess the employee’s. Or you may find that you have to go back to the program planning stage to re-create some of the employee’s goals. Worksite health promotion is definitely an ever-changing system.