Participatory programs involve employees in all levels of the organization in the design of interventions. Our studies show that when front-line employees have a central role in designing workplace interventions, they provide valuable insights on how to improve health and safety in the workplace. Engaging in participatory design efforts itself is also known to alleviate stress.
This participatory approach offers the following advantages:
- Promoting employee involvement in program planning is a sign of a healthy organization.
- Participatory design efforts are health promoting. Employees who are engaged feel a sense of control and reward.
- Employee innovation improves health and safety practices. Employees can contribute very creative ideas for interventions to benefit their own health and safety if given the opportunity to do so, and if provided with some help in prioritizing and developing their ideas.
- Interventions designed by employees are more willingly accepted than those imposed from the top down. When employees themselves design workplace interventions, they assume "ownership" of these interventions, making it more likely that these interventions will be promoted, accepted and supported by employees. For some interventions, this can significantly increase participation rates.