Bringing together the national story of the Healthy Worker Initiatives

Details

Status completed

Start Date

End Date

Introduction

The project provided insights on program development and evaluation strategies of Healthy Workers Initiatives across Australia and demonstrated how they were implemented. By identifying the factors that helped or hindered programs, the findings can support policymakers develop and implement future programs to achieve meaningful and sustainable change.

About

Workplace Health Insights: Cross-jurisdictional analysis of Healthy Worker Initiatives

Project title

What is the issue?

Chronic disease is a growing problem in Australia. Many chronic disease risk factors are modifiable and can be prevented through changes to diet and physical activity, reduced alcohol consumption and stopping smoking. There is significant evidence that workplace health and wellbeing programs can be influential in modifying chronic disease risk factors. These programs have been shown to increase worker productivity, improve morale, reduce absenteeism reduce staff turnover, and make their organisations more attractive to prospective employees.

It is important to learn from what has worked and why in workplace health and wellbeing programs, and in chronic disease prevention programs more broadly, to better direct future investment and prioritise interventions.

How did the project address the issue?

As part of the National Partnership Agreement on Preventive Health (NPAPH – agreed to by the Commonwealth Government and States and Territories in 2008), the Commonwealth Government funded the Healthy Worker Initiative, which supported implementation of healthy lifestyle programs in workplaces across Australia.

While the NPAPH has now ceased, the Healthy Worker Initiative has been implemented in all States and Territories. Each jurisdiction took a different approach to the Healthy Worker Initiative, but there were common threads between programs, and some jurisdictions collaborated and ensured their approaches were similar.

Implementation of the Healthy Worker Initiative across jurisdictions therefore provided a unique opportunity to gain insights into what worked and why in chronic disease prevention in a workplace setting.The Prevention Centre worked with State and Territory Health Departments to look at the Healthy Worker Initiatives that were implemented with funding from the NPAPH.

Also, the Initiative and the NPAPH more generally were innovative steps for federal and state governments to work in partnership with businesses. The Prevention Centre believed it was important to showcase the impact of this model of chronic disease prevention.

This project aimed to further our understanding of how different jurisdictions across Australia implemented healthy workplace programs through the NPAPH, and the lessons learned from the experiences and observations of Healthy Worker Initiative program managers.

The project team worked with representatives from each state and territory on this project.

What were the outcomes?

The project provided insights on program development and evaluation strategies of Healthy Workers Initiatives across Australia, and shed light on how they were implemented. By identifying the factors that helped or hindered programs, the findings can help policy makers develop and implement future programs to achieve meaningful and sustainable change.

Relevance for practice

The pooled information provided insights on program development and evaluation strategies of Healthy Worker Initiatives across Australia, and showcased the impacts of these initiatives on implementation. The findings from this project may help policy makers to expand and promote their current workplace health promotion programs, or to improve future programs.

Funding

This project was funded by the NHMRC, Australian Government Department of Health, NSW Ministry of Health, ACT Health and the HCF Research Foundation.