After conducting the organizational opportunity assessment and reviewing existing programs, you will be able to demonstrate the potential value of a workplace health program that addresses depression and identify current programming gaps.
Successful strategies begin with buy-in from executive leadership, followed by leadership communication that makes clear the importance of the initiative to the individual employee and to the organization.
Planning should include:
- An overall vision statement
- Measurable goals and objectives aligned with overall business objectives
- Timelines and budget for specific interventions
- Defined roles and responsibilities for key stakeholders, including vendors and program partners
- An evaluation plan
- A communication plan
Forming a Committee or Council Can Help Drive the Development and Implementation of the Initiative.
Ideally, the committee will have representatives from a broad range of organizational units and a diverse group of managers, employees, unions, and wellness representatives, in order to capture cross-organizational opinions and ideas and build support for the process. This increases the initiative’s likelihood of success in reaching and affecting employees across the entire organization. This committee can address implementation requirements such as staffing, identification of roles and responsibilities, financial support, and materials.
Mobilize All Resources by Including Your Vendors in Developing and Maintaining an Effective Strategy.
Your organization has probably partnered with many best-in-class organizations to deliver outstanding programs to your employees—health and wellness, EAP, behavioral health services, work/life, medical, disease management, disability, pharmacy, utilization management, intensive case management, and health coaching, to mention a few.
Alert them to this initiative. Partner and collaborate with them to develop clear goals, clear protocols for identification and referrals, integrated communications, and solid metrics. Every employee touch point represents an opportunity to support the overall initiative.
You might consider hosting a kick-off “summit” with all vendors, followed by regular check-in meetings, and then another summit each year to evaluate progress and re-adjust as needed.
Because the goal is to simplify access to benefits, care, and resources, and ensure appropriate utilization, many organizations have turned to a benefits “navigator” for their employees. This simplifies vendor coordination as employees gain access to the full spectrum of health information and support, in a tailored fashion.
Design Programs with a Long-term Outlook to Ensure Sustainability.
Short-term approaches have short-term value. Programs aligned with the core product/values of the enterprise endure. Programs should be sufficiently flexible to assure responsiveness to changing workforce and market conditions.
Although the overall program design should be comprehensive, starting with modest targets is often beneficial if they are recognized as first steps in a broader program. For example, begin with a target of increasing company-wide awareness of depression-related programs and resources and build to a target of increasing depression treatment engagement rates. Consider phased implementation of these elements if adoption at one time is not feasible.
As the Strategy is Rolled Out, Be Prepared to Adjust the Program as Needed.
Successful programs reflect an understanding that the interrelationships between work and health are complex. Programs must be evaluated over time to determine effectiveness, to identify any unanticipated effects, and to adjust based on analysis of experience.