involve-employeesOne of the most obvious ways to engage employees is to involve them in the planning process for the program. This often involves conducting a needs assessment to inform program design. A needs assessment can be as simple as a survey or as complex as a series of focus groups with employees who are representative of the company as a whole.1 An employee survey can be used to:

  • Help establish a baseline for comparison after the program has been implemented;
  • Gather information related to the specific health needs and current behaviors of your employees;
  • Collect information on features of your organization that can be used to support the program; or
  • Uncover organizational barriers that may stand in the way of specific activities or goals.1

Online resources, such as the Healthy Workforce 2010 Health Promotion Sourcebook for Employers2 and AHA’s Fit-Friendly website, can help you develop a survey of your own that determines employee needs and interests and worksite support for programs.

An alternative (or supplement) to a traditional survey is conducting focus groups. Focus groups usually involve 6-10 participants, are led by a facilitator or program champion and provide more in-depth information and feedback than a survey.3,4 Focus groups give you a chance to further explore answers that interest you and may reveal problems or strengths you were not aware of. Duke University’s Trinity College and the University of Kansas’ Community Toolbox provide online guides to help you design your own focus group.