Now it is time to monitor progress and track results of your program. Always know that there is room for change and improvement for both short and long-term goals. Gathering the right information is essential but it does not have to be complicated.

Evaluation is important since it:

  • Provides evidence that an activity/program had the desired effect
  • Assesses the efficiency of the activity/program (cost-benefit analysis)
  • Identifies areas in need of improvement and suggest methods for improvement
  • Provides comparisons between similar activities/programs
  • Demonstrates accountability to the stakeholders

Make sure to:

  • Review the program to help you know what is working and what is not
  • Consider the objectives you set in the beginning

Your program should have the following components defined as best as possible before starting the evaluation process:

  • Goals and objectives
  • Target audiences
  • An organizational structure that supports data collection
  • Activities
  • Success indicators/outcomes

The clearer these components are outlined, the easier it is to structure the framework for the evaluation and develop questions to assess ongoing progress.

Use the results of your review and evaluation to help gauge what is working and what could be enhanced to maintain the program.

There are two types of evaluation: process and outcome.

Process evaluation
 examines the procedures and tasks involved in implementing a program. It includes:

  • Tracking quantity and description of people who are reached by the program e.g. Who participated? How many people participated?
  • Tracking quantity and types of services provided e.g. How many programs, activities were provided? Were they varied?
  • Descriptions of how services are provided e.g. Was there adequate promotion? Were there incentives available? When were they carried out?
  • Descriptions of what actually occurs while providing services e.g.  Is staff free to focus solely on the service when it’s provided?
  • Quality of services provided e.g. Were they appropriate for the demographics of the workplace? What could be improved upon? Would staff participate again?

Sample methods for evaluating process are:

  • Participant/instructor feedback forms
  • Attendance lists for events
  • Questionnaires/surveys
  • Individual interviews or focus groups (group interviews)
  • Piloting program materials

 

Outcome evaluation measures the effect or impact activities have on the organization. It seeks to answer the question, “Did the program meet its stated goals and objectives?” Outcome evaluations can assess both short-term outcomes (immediate changes in individuals or participants, such as participant rates, awareness, knowledge or behaviour) and long-term outcomes (sometimes referred to as impact evaluation). It can also analyze the results in relation to the costs of the program (cost-benefit evaluations).

Outcome evaluation includes:

  • Changes in attitudes, knowledge or behaviour e.g.  What was learned? Was there attitude or behaviour change?
  • Number of people participating e.g. What was the response rate to the programming?
  • Cost-benefit analysis – cost-benefit evaluates the program in terms of costs. It measures both the program costs and the results (benefits) in monetary terms. This means that the results of the program or benefits must be translated into a dollar value. e.g. Despite the cost of the programs, has it decreased absenteeism, injury rates, saved money overall for the organization?
  • Cost-effectiveness analysis – In this type of evaluation only program costs are expressed in monetary terms. Benefits are expressed only in terms of the impacts or outcomes themselves (they are not given a dollar value). Interpretation of this type of analysis requires stakeholders to decide if the benefit received is worth the cost of the program or if there are other less expensive programs that would result in similar or more benefit. e.g. Is the health of employees worth the financial cost of these programs?
  • Changes in policy e.g. Have health policies been developed or modified?
  • Impact assessments – Impact assessments evaluate the effect the program had on the participants or other stakeholders of the project. It measures outcomes but also measures what changes occurred as a result of those outcomes. e.g. Has the program resulted in a change in the health of the employees?

Sample methods for evaluating outcomes are:

  • Pre and post surveys
  • Individual interviews or focus groups (group interviews)
  • Pre and post audits of health policies and programs
  • Pre and post assessment of metrics’ data e.g. WSIB claims, absenteeism, EAP

  • Reflect. Reflect on what has worked well and areas that still need to be improved. Consider how this can be done.
  • Refine and keep going. This is a cyclical process. Reassess priorities. Refine and implement activities as needed. Celebrate successes!

  • Ongoing evaluation has been built into the workplace action plan
  • Both process and outcome evaluation have been addressed
  • Issues that require change (as per evaluation results) have been identified
  • Evaluation results have been communicated to all stakeholders
  • A person(s) responsible for program changes has been designated
  • A timeline for instituting the changes has been established