Health Promotion Strategies

Health Promotion includes four strategies for encouraging and promoting health.  Below is a description of each of the strategies as they relate to comprehensive workplace wellness:

1. Awareness Raising/Education

These are activities that increase employee awareness and understanding of a health and wellness topic in order to help them make positive changes. For example:

  • The creation of a wellness bulletin board to feature resources related to healthy lifestyles,
  • The inclusion of short articles in internal newsletters or staff e-mails,
  • Regularly updated Intranet pages dedicated to wellness topics.

Comprehensive workplace wellness critically recognizes that education alone does not increase behaviour change, therefore, it is complemented by the following promotional strategies:

2. Skills Building

These activities provide staff with the skills needed to switch to and support positive health and wellness behaviour. For example:

  • Deliver interactive presentations or workshops through “lunch and learn” sessions on health and wellness topics (e.g. having a cooking session followed by participants eating what they made),
  • Set up and promote inclusive healthy lifestyle contests (e.g. encourage employees to team up to go for walks, count their steps and see how long it takes to cross Canada),
  • Offer incentive programs to encourage employees to try new activities (e.g. organize a class that encourages stress reduction and relaxation like pilates, T’ai Chi, or yoga and put the participants’ names in for a draw prize).

3. Creating a Supportive Environment

The definition of a supportive environment is broad. It can range from having sustainable activities that encourage ongoing participation to ensuring the tools required for employees to participate in health and wellness behaviours are in place. For example:

  • Have flexible working hours to allow employees to balance work-life activities (i.e. to participate in physical activities, to support breastfeeding mothers, to attend medical appointments, etc.),
  • Offer appropriate healthy foods in workplace cafeterias, vending machines and at workplace functions,
  • Provide on-going education and training for management and employees,
  • Offer a workplace quit smoking program/support group,
  • Place monitored bike racks on the property to encourage active commuting.

4. Healthy Workplace Policy

Workplace policies are designed to define and support healthy lifestyle choices. They are a very important goal for wellness committees. They show dedication on behalf of the employer and help to clarify roles and expectations between employees and employers. For example:

  • Have policies regarding healthy food choices when catering for meetings or for staff vending machines,
  • Have policies that ensure the needs of breastfeeding moms are supported.