Planning a Successful Health Fair
Click to download pdf Guide to Planning a Successful Health Fair
A company health fair is a wonderful way to encourage healthy options for your employees. Creating an event that is educational, well attended and supportive of long-term health management can be achieved by following the recommendations in this guide.
IAB Health Productions, LLC offers FREE online tools to manage every aspect of your health fair while keeping your personal contact information private. Click here to begin scheduling your event.
Planning Your Event
Start planning your health fair at least five months in advance. A planning team can be assembled for the event to assist with the tasks. This may be the human resources department, or it can be representatives from various areas of the company. Health Fairs are better attended when various department managers are involved in the planning, as they are more apt to promote and encourage their staff to participate.
It is critical for leadership to support the health fair and encourage employees to participate. Having memos sent out from executive staff members reminding the employees about the event is imperative for participation. It is also great to have C-level staff members at the health fair mingling with both the vendors and the employees.
Health fairs are also a great time to introduce your employees to long-term health programs that are scheduled within the company. Long-term initiatives can include employee paid programs such as weight loss programs, smoking cessation programs, chair massage services, stress management classes, walking programs, etc.
You can allocate a theme for your event and encourage participating vendors to support this theme at their table for increased engagement. Themes can revolve around health-related topics such as a season, a charity, or a popular book. Here are some examples you may like to consider below.
- Hike Your Way To Better Health – Encourage employees to wear hiking clothes and bring backpacks. Encourage vendors to bring water bottles, trail mix, nature bars
- Don’t Gamble with Your Health – Encourage Vendors to set up a casino-style booth and wear visors.
- Valentine’s Day – Hearts Matter – All Vendors have hearts on their tables.
- Spring – Spring into a New You – Vendors bring flowers
- You always had the POWER – Vendors dress up or bring items related to the Wizard of Oz
When determining the best time of year to host your event, consider company peak periods and facility needs during these times. Timing your health fair during slow times can increase morale and participation. Therefore it may be wise to consider a slow period. If space is an issue, you may also want to consider a warmer season, so you could have the option of hosting your event outside. Schedule the event around the time that you feel your employees would be most available to visit the event to increase the chance of high attendance.
For the purposes of attracting qualified vendors to display in your health fair, it is not recommended to hold the fair for longer than 5 hours, nor is it suggested to have your health fair start before 9 AM and end at 5 PM. Below is a good outline for the length of your health fair.
• Up to 50 employees (2 hours)
• 100-200 employees (3 hours)
• 200+ employees (4 hours)
If your company has multiple locations, you may need to plan your events on separate days so you can have vendors attend all events. In the circumstances that your locations are spread out, you will need to duplicate all the instructions below for each event. If the other locations are too small to support a health fair, request additional materials from your vendors to make available to the employees at the other locations.
When selecting your venue, you will need to consider space and electrical access. It is also important to take into account what size tables you have for the vendors to display their information (6ft or greater is suggested) and how many will fit comfortably in this space. One foot or greater is suggested between vendors and a minimum of three feet walking space for your employees with all fire exits clear works well.
You may want to take into account that your vendors will need extra floor space and electric as they may provide screenings and video displays. When considering Chair Massage, Vision, Spinal screenings along with flu shots and biometrics, remember that each of these will require space for both the vendor’s display and the employees. Many vendors use tall stand-up displays that will block traffic and event visuals. Request that all vendors place their banners behind their booth and with this in mind, give the vendor 3ft behind their booth for their supplies, chairs and movement.
It is estimated that 30% of your vendors will need access to electric, so when designing your floor plan, take into account the total number of tables you can accommodate and give two-thirds access to electric.
It is important to remember that your insurance providers are your employee health partners. A health fair is a great way for your employees to interact with their insurance providers to learn more about their benefits and the health resources available to them through their insurance plans. Decide what insurance providers you would like to have at your health fair and what information and giveaways you would like to have them bring.
Wellness Providers (vendors)
The vendors that you decide to have at your Health Fair will be the cornerstone of your event. When selecting the educational topics and vendors that you consider appropriate for your health fair, you may want to consult with your insurance broker or provider to get a utilization report lending information to the health risk of your employees.
Keep your event information and fun by including information that employees would not usually have the opportunity to understand like Acupuncture, Water Filtration, Reiki and, most importantly, Mental Health. You may also use a national online listing of vendors to help arrange what is best for you.
All Providers should be sent an invitation to participate in your event 60 – 90 days before the event date. You can invite vendors using a free online web tool, via email, via phone, or both. You will need to provide the following information in your invitation.
- Event Name: Theme Name or “Company” Health Fair
- Event Overview: Tell the vendors about your event. Explain your theme; focus on how you will promote the attendance of your employees. Let them know if you will be providing the employees and or them food or any special promotions to encourage participation.
- Event Date: From (“Start Time” to “End Time”) Allow 1 hour before the event start for vendors to set up.
- Number of Employees that will be invited to the event: Usually the total number of employees at your location
- Anticipated Attendance: This is needed by the vendor so they can prepare materials and giveaways for employees
- Location of Event: Provide Address and area event is to be held (conference room, outside parking lot, cafeteria)
- Any Certificate of Insurance or Waivers that will be required
- Event Point of Contact name and email address
- Ask vendors to bring a raffle prize for an overall raffle for employees
Vendors will need to RSVP and provide you with the information listed below. IAB provides an online registration tool for vendors that allows employers to review the requesting vendor’s information before accepting their registration. This gives employers a broad range of prospective vendors to choose from.
- Company Name
- Representatives names
- Electric Needed
- Linen Needed
- Extra Floor Space Needed (how much)
- Providing Screenings/services
- Copy of any COI or Waiver (if needed)
- Employee Communication
Save the Date
60 – 90 days before the event it is suggested to send a “Save the Date” out to your employees so they can put the event on their calendar. This can be emailed and posted throughout your facility near high traffic areas to ensure maximum exposure to the information. Offer suggestion boxes in various places for employees to suggest creative ideas or vendors. A survey or hints to win prizes at the event can also be contained in this posting.
- Event Title and Theme
- Event date
- Event time (start-end)
- Event location
- Listing of vendors
Preparing the Venue
Two weeks before the event, all vendors and their booth requirements should be finalized. Each of the below items will now need to be considered and ordered for your event. IAB’s free online tool provides employers with a detailed listing of each registered vendor’s needs.
- Number of Tables you will need (rent if needed)
- Number of Linens you will need (tables will need covers)
- Number of Vendors that require electrical access (extension cords may be needed)
- Event Requirements
You will need a few items on hand for your event. Below is a list of suggested items you will need to have prepared for your event ahead of time.
- Extension Cords
- Raffle Ticket Basket
- Raffle Tickets – Provide a way for employees to enter a raffle for attending the event. Vendors will bring raffle prizes.
- Event Guides– It greatly helps to provide your employees with a listing of each vendor with their contact and services information
- Table Tag Displays will be used for placing your vendors; those will need to be printed and prepared once your list is complete.
Design a floor plan placing each vendor in the room based on the vendor’s booth needs along with your room & table size. Make sure you have accounted for a check-in table and with a familiar staff member to greet each employee.
Try to keep all vendors in one room. If screening rooms are used, there should be a check-in table or proper signage to direct the traffic. This helps with the flow of employees and allows you to keep an eye on how the event is going. When placing vendors’ tables, try to keep vendors that provide similar services separately. As tempting as it is to put them together, it does cause friction and competitive nature among providers, which could make it unpleasant for everyone.
One week before the event, communication should be made with all participating vendors to provide them with final details. Provide details such as where they should unload their car and where they are expected to park after that. Remind them to bring their raffle prize and of the set-up start time. Make sure to provide vendors with a contact and phone number they can reach should they get lost on the way to your event or need to cancel for an unforeseen reason. IAB automates this for you.
One day before the event, send a final event promotion to your employees. Make sure the venue is set-up and ready to go for the vendors if you have an early event.
Have a minimum of two staff members to assist with the event at all times, also make sure you have the room ready for vendors 1 hour before the event start time. This will give you and your vendors plenty of time to get in and safely set up before your employee’s arrival. Some vendors will arrive early and some will be late. This is to be expected and considered on the event day, so please keep this in mind.
- Have a welcome table for HR/Wellness team. Items to have on the welcome table:
- Raffle prizes (IAB requires all participating vendors to provide a raffle prize)—should be collected from each vendor and placed on welcome table for employees to see as they enter the event
- Raffle tickets
- Raffle ticket entry container
- Wellness Guides (if applicable)—Handed out to the employees as they enter the event
As vendors arrive, greet each one and direct them to their booth. Let them know where the restrooms are and if any refreshments are available to them. Many vendors will want to make small talk with you as you are trying to greet and accommodate other arriving vendors. Let them know you will be around during or after the event to speak with them in more detail.
Have two staff members at the check-in table to greet the employees as they arrive. It is highly suggested that a C-Level staff member also is present at your event to show employees their endorsement. Staff members can rotate between checking in employees and checking on the vendors.
As vendors begin to pack up and leave, take the time to thank each one for their time at your event