I Like Wellness. Yes, I do! I Like Wellness. How ‘Bout You?
With apologies to the rock band Queen, we are the champions (of wellness), my friends. Sometimes, it takes more than incentives to get employees involved and interested in wellness. What may be needed is a wellness champion, or even a network of wellness champions. This is a group of employees who are actively and intently trying to promote a corporate culture of wellness and improve everyone’s health through education about what the company’s wellness program offers.
Wellness champions almost always volunteer for the task, though some companies may provide a token reward such as a gift card or similar compensation. Regardless, the champion must be passionate about the wellness program or a specific aspect of it (weight loss, smoking cessation, diabetes management, etc.) and it further helps if that champion has already achieved their wellness goals. The champion must also place a high importance on the goal of improving one’s health and sharing their experiences to motivate others.
A wellness champion isn’t just a role model for other employees, he or she is able to demonstrate that they have “walked in the shoes” of the employees facing similar health issues. Having social media skills is also desirable since it will be easier to connect with colleagues and offer encouragement and regular communication.
So what can a company do to ensure the success of a wellness champion? According to an article on Society for Human Resource Management’s (SHRM) website titled, “Building a Wellness Champion Network,” the company’s wellness leader, or HR department, should set clear expectations, ask about any conflicts of interest (for example, if the employee also sells health products as a side business), establish reporting metrics, and encourage the social aspect of it with health fairs, educational “lunch and learns,” and other on-site wellness activities.
For the wellness champion, or network of champions, to be successful they should communicate on a regular basis, make sure what they’re doing is visible and inviting to all employees, share examples of how they and their fellow co-workers achieved their wellness goals, organize health-related activities, and, above all, make it fun! The greater the success of the wellness program and its champions, the greater the likelihood of others joining the cause, becoming wellness champions themselves, and adding their enthusiasm and experiences to the network.