Getting Started

As for any agency program, initial planning must be done before the FitForce Physical Readiness Program can be put into place. Agency administration will likely do most of the planning with input from rank and file, training staff, legal, HR, and perhaps the ruling governing body. How much work your agency has to do depends on the present program, policies in place, resources in place or needed, and the amount of documentation required. We have a number of questions we ask our clients including:

  • Who is expressing interest in (beginning) a program?
  • Is there support or resistance for a program?
  • Who is the target population?
  • What are the program, staff, and facility needs?
  • What are the legal implications?

Once all of the questions are considered for your agency – we review a total of 13 areas, we can outline what to do for each of the Nine Initial Planning Steps we have identified and used in our FitForce Administrator Course.

Initial Planning: The Committee

Although the ability of a committee to get work done may be inversely related to its size, more hands can make work light when it comes to developing a program. For this reason we suggest establishing a Physical Readiness Committee or Task Force. We feel that having a committee:

  • Allows you to share responsibilities
  • Gives all levels of the agency say and ownership of the program
  • Provides a group’s worth of solutions and improvement ideas
  • Broadens the base of supporters who can act as ambassadors for the program

To get started on forming your committee:

  • Obtain administrative authority (permission) to establish the group.
  • Select supervisory and line staff who have an interest in and knowledge of fitness, have respect of their peers, and are dependable.
  • Conduct preliminary meetings to discuss in broad terms the goal of the committee and to make adjustments in staffing if needed.
  • Define the group’s roles and responsibilities to include:
  • Gathering input and brainstorming ideas
    • Implementing planning tasks
    • Program promotion AND information dissemination
    • Program evaluation.
  • Identify the group Chair who will conduct positive, productive meetings and will delegate responsibility.

Initial Planning: Needs Assessment

An assessment of the agency’s needs is necessary to document the reason(s) for your program. The amount of documentation needed will vary by agency but the step is a critical one that helps to avoid creating a ‘black hole’ that money gets dumped into from time to time. By objectively collecting data and interpreting that data an agency can get off on the right foot – which should include quantifying the needs. For instance, sick time usage has a definable cost. Industry experts have long suggested one of the benefits to a physical readiness program is a reduction in sick time costs. A pre-post analysis will help in assessing the efficacy of the intervention and hopefully build a case for sustaining the program long-term. When assessing the needs of the agency consider:

  • Major health risks that a physical readiness program could address, e.g. high blood pressure
  • Major job-performance problems that could be addressed such as sick leave
  • The current fitness levels of agency personnel
  • Perceived barriers to the implementation of a program
  • Preferences for services, activities, education, etc.

The data can then be reviewed in light of industry or population information, associated costs, potential partnerships in the community, and the potential for future grantsmanship.

If we can assist you and your agency in putting together a comprehensive physical readiness program, consider hosting a FitForce Administrator Course or contacting us directly.