Skip to content
Workplace Wellbeing

Skip to resources

Key Message:
Developing an action plan starts with making a comprehensive list of priorities. A thorough action plan will help you assess your assets and share company resources by connecting your initiative to your workplace system and core values.
Programmes should always include employee participation and should be designed with a long-term outlook. Assembling a Healthy Workplace Team of champions will help ensure success and sustainability.

Once you’ve gained support for your initiative and have set your objectives based on assessments of health issues significant to employees and your organisation, it is important to carefully plan your initiative before taking action in implementation.

First: Set Priorities

Thoughtful planning will help you focus programme priorities from the outset which will inform short-term and longer-term action plans.

Both management and employees from all levels of the organisation [should be involved] in identifying priority health issues through meetings, emails or suggestion boxes.

The Australian Healthy Workers Initiative

Priority setting tips from the WHO

  • Consider the opinions and preferences of workplace parties
  • Consider the urgency of an intervention in the context of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs
  • Consider ‘quick wins’ (how easy it would be to implement a solution to a problem) that might motivate and encourage continued progress
  • Consider the relative cost of the problem if it is ignored (what would happen if you did nothing?)
  • When considering solutions to priority problems, consider all four of the ‘avenues of influence’ which are: the Physical Work Environment, Personal Health Resources, Enterprise Community Involvement and Psychosocial Work Environment

Second: Develop an Action Plan

From your priorities, it is important to make a comprehensive and thorough list of issues to target and corresponding actions to address these as part of an Action Plan.

First develop a broader long-term plan. From this overall plan, you will be able to identify annual activities and start thinking about the details of each initiative to be implemented (such as budget, facilities and resources, timetable of activities, as well as planning for a launch, marketing and promotion of the initiative or policy).

A truly successful program is one whose components are carefully selected, implemented efficiently, and is suited to the employee population.

CDC Workplace Health Model

A key suggestion in the international models is to integrate workplace systems so as to efficiently share resources throughout the organisation. This may be difficult to achieve at the starting point but remember that creating a Healthy Workplace is an on-going, dynamic work in progress. Successful initiatives feed into a healthier culture and healthy projects will start to align better when the value is recognised company wide. A ubiquitous value of “health in all policies” will emerge. What is important at the start is to get in the habit of making these connections and know that with time and sustenance this integration will become easier and almost automatic.

Relevant systems should be integrated, so program design requires an initial inventory of existing health and wellbeing programs and policies and a determination of their potential connections.

NIOSH The Essential Elements of Effective Workplace Programs

Action Plan Tips from the Australian Healthy Workers Initiative

  • Develop goals that state the overall desired outcome for the workplace
  • Develop objectives that state what should be done to achieve the goals
  • Note how, when and where the programme will operate
  • Note what activities the programme will undertake
  • Note how risks will be assessed and managed
  • Note who will be responsible for various aspects of the programme
  • Note what resources are available, both in-house and external, including possible government assistance
  • Note ideas for how the programme can be marketed and promoted amongst employees

Finally: Design Your Initiative

Depending on your organisation’s preferences and resources, you may design your initiative in-house, or you may choose to work with external consultants. We have resources and tools for both instances in our Workplace Wellbeing section which provides information on key wellbeing topics as well as links to HSE and community organisations who specialise in these areas and in developing and delivering workplace wellness programmes.

Initiatives should be based on ones that have proven track records. Sometimes initiatives that ‘sound like a good idea’ have been shown to be ineffective or have nuances that should be considered. The most effective initiatives are ones that are tried and tested. The best way to do this is to consult the research, network with other successful workplaces or hire external consultants that specialise in the wellbeing area.

A key part of planning is allocating necessary resources to realise the plans. These resources include “staff, space and time” (NIOSH). Identifying workplace champions and assembling a Healthy Workplace Team is central to the success and sustainability of your initiatives.

Designing Your Initiative Tips from NIOSH

  • Employee participation is paramount – not only is this a key to success, but it also strengthens the organisation’s Healthy Workplace culture
  • Consider the specific characteristics of your workplace
  • Consider the use of incentives and rewards to enhance engagement
  • Design programmes with sufficient flexibility and adjust as needed based on feedback and evaluations
  • Design programmes with a long-term outlook to assure sustainability

Designing Your Initiative Strategy Tips from the CDC

  • Dedicate senior leadership support to serve as a role model and champion
  • Identify a workplace health coordinator, council or committee to oversee the program
  • Develop a workplace health improvement plan with sufficient resources to articulate and execute goals and strategies
  • Communicate clearly and consistently with all employees
  • Establish workplace health informatics to collect and use data for planning and evaluation


Quick Summary of Step 3

We know all this information can be a bit overwhelming, so we summarised the key points in Step 3 – Plan and Resource. The details are important but we hope these quick summaries makes it easier to digest.

Checklist for Step 3

We developed this checklist to help you stay on track. It encapsulates all the advice we offered as part of Step 3 – Plan and Resource.

Logic Model Template

This is a logic model to help you track your activities and the resources needed to achieve your outcomes. It was developed by the National Clinical Effectiveness Committee (NCEC) for the Department of Health.