School Employee Wellness Series: Assessment of your employees

Assessing your employee’s needs and interests are the key to creating a culture of health in the school employee environment.

Creating a culture of health and wellness at your school often starts with the employees. What are the needs, interests and demands of the employees at your school? Often schools and other employers guess what the needs of their employees are without asking the employees themselves.

Developing school employee wellness programs in the past has often been sporadic and has involved choosing programs from an array of activities that may not have been based on a specific need or goal. Activitycentered programs may develop awareness among employees, boost morale and provide opportunities for employees to become engaged in activities.

A new trend in worksite wellness includes completing annual screening events or using annual individual health risk appraisals to provide data as a basis for designing targeted health promotion interventions. For example, if the majority percentage of the population has high blood pressure, then a blood pressure program could be initiated.  By focusing on identified health risks concentrates on those who are most at risk. This is becoming a thing of the past; Dr. Dee Edington always says, “Focus on keeping the healthy employees healthy as your main area of focus.”

You can assess the needs and interests of your staff by completing annual surveys and evaluations to make sure the programs, policies and system changes you are making, or plan to make support what your employees are interested in and the goals they want to achieve. For ideas, refer to a general community employee assessment.

If you do not correctly assess the interests, needs and demands of your employees and what they want to change, chances are there may be low participation, engagement and change among your employees. Once you have a baseline of employee needs and interests, you can start to plan, implement and evaluate programs, policies and system changes in your school environment.

A school employee wellness program is vital to create a culture of health where students and employees can thrive. With all challenges come successes in the lives of students and staff on a daily basis.

This article is part three of a series of school employee wellness articles. To access the other article please read School Employee Wellness Series: Identify resources that are surrounding you and School Employee Wellness Series: Identify a leader or leaders.

Please visit Michigan State University Extension for health and nutrition programs and related educational opportunities.

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