Step 5: Set Wellness Goals and Priorities

Setting Wellness Goals, Objectives and Timeline

Start with actions that build momentum, buy-in, excitement and lead to early success!
Once you conduct an assessment, the following points will help you to set goals and objectives and establish priority areas1:


  • the degree to which health and safety risks are present, and ways in which they are monitored
  • the number of employees affected by a health condition or at risk for a health condition
  • the magnitude of the health effects for those employees affected, such as risk of death or disability, or impact on quality of life
  • the current economic cost, such as direct or indirect health care costs


  • the potential health benefits of the program, including the number/percent of employees who might benefit
  • the availability of evidence-based interventions with proven effectiveness
  • the availability of programs and services across various subgroups of employees
  • the return on investment (cost-effectiveness or cost benefit of the strategy or activity)


  • the level of difficulty to implement the intervention or strategy
  • the cost of implementation and ongoing support (including availability of staff/resources)
  • the time needed to plan and implement the intervention or strategy
  • the interest of employees in participating in the chosen intervention or activity

A Three-Pronged Approach to Setting Wellness Goals2

While setting goals and objectives, it is important to combine individual-based strategies with environmental and policy changes as a way to increase impact, making it easier to achieve the desired outcomes (e.g., behavioral change).

Consider having strategies that complement each other. This type of three-way approach is likely to be more successful because it addresses the health issue from multiple perspectives.

Here is one example of a physical activity focus:

  • Individual — conduct a six-week walking campaign that tracks employees’ steps or mileage
  • Environment — map distances and routes for walking near the worksite
  • Policy — implement a written policy that allows and encourages staff to walk over their lunch hour
For a comprehensive matrix of sample policy areas, programs and environmental supports, download our Sample Wellness Policies and Programs (PDF). Samples have been separated by health topic area (tobacco cessation, diet and nutrition, physical activity, etc.) and they have been divided into three categories – Basic, Value-Added, Best-in-Class – based on the estimated difficulty and/or cost to implement.