Coworkers and social networks can play a significant role in the culture of your workplace and the success of your wellness program. Because the majority of us spend the bulk of our waking hours at work, our peers inevitably influence our health. Our coworkers' attitudes towards health screenings, smoking, fitness, nutrition, and flu shots can all affect our own decision-making.
This is one reason why successful corporate wellness programs will seek out and nominate "wellness champions," leaders in the workplace who can act as mentors and role models for their coworkers. These employees are often more effective at encouraging group participation than executives or HR representatives.
A wellness network can include a variety of different champions, from those who are more “grassroots” to leaders that are able to coordinate on-site events. How you build your wellness network and how it works will be determined by your office culture, structure and wellness goals. Each network is unique, so you will have to tailor your approach to suit the location/department. Consider the following questions when selecting wellness champions:
- Do you want to appoint roles or ask for volunteers?
- Who are your top candidates to serve as wellness champions? Consider the individual’s social skills, available time and their own personal interest in a healthy lifestyle.
- What roles and responsibilities will your champions have? Be sure they are aligned with your health goals.
- How will your wellness champions communicate? Be sure they are able to establish communication with their peers and program managers.
- How will you evaluate your wellness champions?
When considering roles and responsibilities, there are many areas where wellness champions can impact engagement. Primarily, they serve as a point of contact for your wellness program and help influence communication efforts and create an overall culture of health. They also reinforce the goals of the program, help increase participation in wellness events and encourage employee success stories. Wellness champions act as a cornerstone of a healthy workplace culture by modeling the behaviors and embracing the mindset that their employers are trying to encourage among the staff.
A few activities that your wellness program champions may be responsible for include:
- Wellness program registration
- Event check-ins
- Updating communication materials
- Presenting during staff meetings
- Peer education
- Sending out emails, social media blasts and other communications about the program
- Tracking/reporting progress towards company goals
Take advantage of the powerful figures in your workplace by creating a formal network of wellness champions to communicate wellness messages, inspire healthy behaviors and encourage a positive mindset. Share your tips for creating wellness champions below!