Health Fairs 101
It’s no surprise that wellness continues to play a vital role in today’s corporate environment. With health care costs higher than ever, wellness needs be a key component within each organization. As companies continue to think outside-the-box, many decide to offer the traditional health fair as an opportunity to promote health and wellness to employees.
Health fairs are not a new concept. In fact, an annual health fair is often just another component of an organization’s overall wellness events scheduled for the year. With that being said, starting your company’s very first health fair can seem overwhelming. “Where do we begin?” or “How much money will it cost?” are often factors inhibiting employers from creating their first health fair. Although it may seem overwhelming, with a few simple steps and some creative twists, any group can create their first health fair in no time!
Recruit Health Fair Team
Planning a health fair takes a lot of planning, organizing, and strategizing. This can often be overwhelming for one individual to take on solely. Based on the size of your organization, consider forming a team of two to five individuals that can assist with planning aspects of your event.
Once your team is formed, schedule a planning meeting three to six months prior to initially plan for your wellness fair. A few things to discuss:
- Budget: There’s no magic number that a company has to have in order to host a health fair; however, there are likely to be some costs associated with one. Renting a facility, providing snacks, and having drawings, are all costs that need to be taken into consideration. Once your budget has been established, take care of the most important items first (i.e., renting space) and then determine how much is left over for other items.
- Date: The average time it takes to plan a health fair can take anywhere from three months to one year. Make sure that your health fair is far enough in advance to schedule vendors and promote your event.
- Location/Space: Consider different locations to host your health fair. Maybe it’s a community center located next to your office or maybe there’s a gym that you have available in your building. Depending on the size and number of vendors, determine the amount of space you will need and find a place that will accommodate it.
Next, determine the overall “vision” of the health fair and what it is you’re hoping to accomplish. Maybe it’s educating employees on the importance of eating healthy or motivating employees to exercise. This goal will later tie in with the type of vendors you will want present at your health fair. Once the overall goal is set, the fun begins and you can begin to locate vendors.
When selecting vendors for your health fair, let the creative process take over. You may wish to choose vendors relevant to the employee population. For instance, if 30% of your workforce is smokers, invite the American Lung Association to discuss the dangers of secondhand smoke. With obesity on the rise, request the American Heart Association present the dangers of heart disease. Think outside-the-box when planning health fairs. Utilize employees, your health fair team, and Caravus for new ideas. Often times, the best resources lie within the community. In hopes of attracting new clientele, chiropractic offices are often happy to set up a booth and provide chair massages, or dental offices will distribute complimentary tooth brush kits to employees. The possibilities are endless. Other wellness fair ideas include:
- Nutrition Booth
- Healthy Cooking Demo
- Flu Shots
- Biometric Screenings
- CPR Demo
- Hand-Washing Demo
- Fitness Demo
- Vision Screenings
- Fire Safety
It’s a good idea to book vendors as early as possible. Depending upon the time of year, availability may be limited.
Promote the Health Fair
Now that you have decided on vendors, it’s time to promote them! Advertise your health fair one to three months prior to the event. If you’re allowing spouses and children, make sure to send information home with the employee. Post banners, signs, and/or use pay stub stuffers to get the message across. It’s recommended you use multiple channels to communicate the health fair. Emails, Evites, or Facebook posts are all excellent ways to promote your health fair. Additionally, use something to spark employees’ interest. For instance, have a raffle for a spa gift card or a drawing for a yearly membership to a local gym to engage employees’ interest in the health fair.
Your first health fair is often the most difficult. Like any component to your wellness program, it’s important to meet with your team after the health fair and evaluate. Take time to reflect on the health fair to determine whether or not it was a success. Did the health fair accomplish your company’s goals? Which vendors were most popular? What didn’t the participants enjoy? Once you have completed your first health fair, you can begin taking steps to plan for your next health fair and, more importantly, continue to promote wellness year-round within your organization.