One of the most difficult tasks in developing any program in the workplace is convincing your employer that it is good for both the company and the employees. This section will provide you with tools to help involve your employer and convince him or her to provide support (both financial and human) for a Stairway to Health program in your workplace.
1. Formulate Your Idea
Before you approach your employer with any new idea you need to have a good sense of exactly what you want to do. It is best to create a few scenarios, possibly starting small and then as the program develops, moving to larger initiatives. To formulate your ideas plan to view the following sections of this website: success stories; the benefits of stair use; ideas to increase stair use; design considerations; interactive tools; and, planning your stairway to health event.
2. Do Your Homework
Once you have formulated your idea, do some preliminary research to determine exactly what you will need to overcome or have in place for a successful program. Firstly, determine what other programs or events are currently in place in your workplace and determine if a stairway to health program can be included- ask coordinators for any problems encountered and tips on how to best convince your employer. Plan to consult the barriers fact sheet to review some of the possible barriers you might encounter and if any of them apply, think of possible solutions to overcoming them. You should also develop a budget. To help plan your budget please consult the costing out fact sheet and budget template.
3. Request a Meeting
The idea is in place, the homework is done, now it is time to request a meeting with your employer to discuss the stairway to health program. This meeting can be as formal or as informal as you want, the key is to be well-prepared to describe what you want to do and answer any questions the employer may have. Approach your employer or their scheduling assistant, request a 30 minute meeting, then book the time in both agendas. Send an agenda 2-3 days prior to the meeting outlining what you are planning to present and any background materials you feel would be useful. A powerpoint presentation is always a good option and depending on the technology available to you, you can plan to run the presentation or simply print it off and go through it manually. To assist you, please consider using the stairway to health powerpoint template (hyperlinked). This powerpoint template explains the stairway to health benefits to both employers and employees and allows you to add in your own ideas, management structure and budget.
4. Secure Commitment
At the end of your meeting secure some kind of commitment from your employer to proceed with the program, commit to another meeting or agree to future discussions. Set dates for getting back to them on any questions and if further discussions are needed, book the time before you leave.
5. Moving Forward
Once you have commitment from your employer you are ready to start building your stairway to health program. If you are new to this area, take a look at the section called quick start where you will find information on how to develop, implement and evaluate your program.
6. The Bigger Picture
Stairway to health is a great initiative for incorporating active living into the workplace and should be seen as one of the many ways employers can encourage employees to be active. For more information on the benefits of physical activity in the workplace and program ideas, please take a look at the Business Case for Active Living at Work, Health Canada's Physical Activity Guide and the commuter challenge.