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What is Program Fidelity?

Program fidelity refers to how closely a social enterprise executes its employee success program relative to planned activities, as well as the consistency in which it delivers program services across all locations and aspects of the social enterprise. 

Why is it important?

Having strong program fidelity enables employment social enterprises to:

  • Offer consistent services – different cohorts of participant workers who enter throughout the year or join across locations can expect a similar experience of supportive services.
  • Understand how their existing services impact outcomes and how to modify their employee success program to increase impact.

Best practices   

Ground program services in a logic model

  1. Create a logic model to translate your organization’s theory of change into clear and achievable outcomes that flow directly from your inputs and activities, including program services.
    • Jointly create your logic model, integrating the viewpoints of program and business staff so that the logic model is holistic and cohesive.
    • Revisit your theory of change and logic model annually to ensure your vision and impact are current and that inputs, activities, and outcomes of the organization continue to map to the vision and impact in a logical way.

Provide consistent service

  • Clearly define your program service delivery expectations.
    • Develop a clear service delivery model that details the specific services you offer, when they are offered, and for how long they are available to participant workers.
    • Your employee success program model should be consistent across cohorts. While you may have different job tracks within the same program, service delivery should be consistent regardless of which cohort participant workers are in or when they join during the year.
    • Your program model should be clear to participant workers so they understand what services are available and how these supports can help them succeed.
  • Emphasize equity over equality.
    • While your organization should deliver employee success wraparound services in a consistent way, this does not mean that every participant worker will need to access every service. The focus should be on meeting the needs of individuals where they are and helping them progress toward their desired outcomes. 
    • Make sure that your participant workers intake process includes a method for understanding where an individual’s needs are and how your Employee Success Program can help them access services to meet those needs.

Evaluate your impact

  • Monitor your program fidelity and address any variations.
    • Develop a process for evaluating your program fidelity. For example, you might choose to look at programmatic outcomes, survey participant workers, or create an oversight system through data tracking and staff review.
    • If your enterprise has multiple locations, consider creating an oversight structure across sites to ensure consistent program delivery throughout.
    • If certain aspects of your program model are not executed consistently, an accountability tool can help your leadership team identify variations, understand underlying issues, make adjustments to the program model, and retrain staff to deliver consistent results.
  • Allow for controlled experimentation.
    • Once you are able to deliver program services consistently and measure their impacts, it can be easier to pilot and track new program elements. Employee success programs should adapt to the changing needs of participant workers and the new capabilities of growing enterprises. If program fidelity to the model is high across your organization, you can understand quickly (through feedback and data) if new service elements have positive impacts