Tips for Recruiting Employees for Worksite Diabetes Prevention Programs

kramerOffering a diabetes prevention program is both relevant and appropriate in many community settings, including the workplace. However, information on recruitment strategies in the worksite is limited.

By M. Kaye Kramer, DrPH, MPH, RN

Our team from the Diabetes Prevention Support Center (DPSC) at the University of Pittsburgh looked at this important issue.  The results were recently published in Contemporary Clinical Trials, titled “Recruitment for a Diabetes Prevention Program translation effort in a workplace setting.”

For this project, the DPSC collaborated with key management at a large international worksite in the Pittsburgh area in order to develop and implement a plan to recruit at-risk employees to take part in the Group Lifestyle Balance™ (GLB) program, a direct adaptation of the successful lifestyle intervention utilized in a large NIH-funded clinical research study, the Diabetes Prevention Program.

feature-march2015-01The recruitment plan focused on:

  1. In-person onsite activities
  2. Implementation of a variety of simple media recruitment tools and methods.

Included in our effort were adult, overweight/obese employees and family members with pre-diabetes and/or the metabolic syndrome. Telephone pre-screening was completed for 176 individuals resulting in 171 eligible for onsite screening. Of that number, 160 completed onsite screening, 107 met eligibility criteria, and 89 enrolled in the study.

Developing an Employee Recruitment Plan for Diabetes Prevention in the Worksite

For those of you who are planning to deliver a diabetes prevention program in the worksite, the DPSC offers the following simple and inexpensive ways to create program awareness and recruit at-risk employees:

  • In-person onsite recruitment activities: Host a company-wide announcement of the program in a town hall or scheduled meeting setting. Continue to promote the program through “lunch & learn” events, health fairs or employee team meetings.
  • Media recruitment tools and methods: Promote the program to employees using a formal letter, informational flyers, large posters and table tents to display in worksite common areas, informational emails and online presentations.
  • Screening and employee eligibility: Conduct phone and/or in-person screening to determine eligibility of interested participants.
  • Information sessions: Offer onsite informational sessions for eligible employees.  Review the background and evidence for the program and provide a comprehensive overview of what participation in the program will entail. This may help facilitate long-term commitment and retention.
  • Non-participation survey: For eligible employees, who choose not to participate, offer a brief survey to better understand their needs, expectations, and their reasons for opting out of the program. This is useful information that can help with future recruitment efforts.

In summary, recruitment in the worksite setting can be a simple and inexpensive process. We found that support from worksite leadership, an invested worksite planning team that included both employees and management, and a solid recruitment plan consisting of multiple strategies were crucial elements for effective workplace recruitment.

What is your experience with recruiting for a Diabetes Prevention Program in a worksite?  Share your insight in the comments section below.