Set your priorities and objectives around the opportunities you identified from your baseline data:

  • consider 3 to 5 high-level priorities, and 
  • break each into smaller objectives.

Your priorities and objectives will guide your actions moving forward.

Key element:

Your MSK health strategy should align with your workplace’s mission, vision and values. The link to short and long-term business goals needs to be clear. 

Consider having a dedicated KPI specific to employee MSK health. This KPI needs to tie in to your company’s goals and strategies. 

For example: 

  • Disability and engagement trends reflect Sun Life’s leadership in MSK health

During busy or high-demand times, you may be tempted to set aside your employee health goals. In doing so, you will only delay progress towards your broader MSK health goals.   

Consider including achievements related to the MSK health strategy in leaders’ evaluations. Document the outcomes. This will help to keep leaders accountable.   

You will also want to understand how employees perceive your initiatives and actions. Consider adding questions about health and safety into employee engagement surveys. 

A successful workplace MSK health strategy focuses on:

  • preventing harm 
  • promoting positive outcomes
  • managing injuries 

Strategies should span the continuum of health. 

It's important to recognize that mental health and physical health are intertwined. The quality of an individual’s mental health can influence their physical health, and vice versa. It’s important keep this in mind when developing your MSK health strategy.

Did you know:

  • Canadians experiencing symptoms of depression report three times as many chronic physical conditions as the general population.1
  • Canadians with chronic physical conditions are twice as likely to experience a mood or anxiety disorder.1

Financial health is also an area of concern. Research shows that financial issues have caused more than one in 10 Canadian employees to miss at least one day of work in the last year.2

At Sun Life, we focus on three pillars of total well-being:

mental health
physical health
financial health

Investing in all pillars of health is important for improving total well-being in the workplace.


1Canadian Mental Health Association. The relationship between mental health, mental illness and chronic physical conditions.

2Sun Life (2019). Sun Life sustainability report

When setting your priorities and objectives, think about the resources you have available and the degree of effort needed. For example, time, money and people.

Start with a small number of achievable goals — some quick wins. It can build both momentum and focus. 

Here are some examples:

  • Create a detailed physical demands analysis for each job at your organization.
  • Make the most of all your EAP/EFAP services and programs. For example, financial, social, physical and mental health support.   
  • Offer MSK health education sessions to employees. For example, proper lifting techniques, warm-up tips and injury management. 
  • Launch a formal manager MSK health training program for all people leaders. Incorporate this training into the onboarding process.
  • Create a robust communication plan.
  • Make sure messages are consistent and employees know that MSK health is a priority for your workplace.
  • Help employees understand what benefits they have and when and where to access them.
  • Incorporate employee physical health and safety into your business continuity and emergency response plan.