Wellness committees = awesome wellness programs.
If you’re planning your wellness initiatives on a whim, you’re basically taking a shot in the dark and hoping for the best when it comes to employee engagement.
When companies create a solid wellness committee, it empowers the employees who take part — inside and outside the committee. Bringing in enthusiastic volunteers helps in developing strategic, thoughtful programs that boost employee engagement.
A well-designed wellness program will:
- Improve employee health
- Increase productivity
- Reduce absenteeism
- Boost employee morale
- Decrease medical claims
At the core of successful wellness programs is a committee that planned it every step of the way. Here we offer insight and specific steps to create the best wellness committee possible.
What is a Wellness Committee?
Wellness committees plan, promote, and implement wellness initiatives for employees to improve their mental and physical health. In turn, these initiatives can lower healthcare costs, increase productivity, employee morale, and more. A wellness committee also provides guidance and support throughout various phases of wellness program implementation.
Getting Started With Your Wellness Committee
A solid foundation creates success for any new program launch. If this is the first go-around for your wellness committee, expect some bumps.
As you try new tactics and initiatives, your members will learn along the way what works best for your workplace.
Here’s a look into how to form your wellness committee with ease:
Step 1: Organizing the Committee Takes Time
If you’re looking to create a high-quality committee, understand it won’t happen overnight. The leadership approval process and volunteer selection alone will take some time. Doing it well the first round will ensure you won’t have to start all over in six months.
Get leadership support – Starting a wellness committee without leadership support is a guaranteed recipe for disaster. Additionally, employees should directly request permission from managers to participate on a committee. Leadership buy-in is a critical part to wellness committee success, as research shows.
Be inclusive - Ideally, 8-12 committee members is a good starting point with employees from various organizational levels. Don’t just invite the health nuts, either. This will allow for diversity in viewpoints for successful program planning.
Confirm service terms - A one-month commitment isn’t going to work since wellness initiatives are ongoing. Set up terms that make sense for everyone and allows for continuity in programming. A year is a good start.
Step 2: Define the Wellness Committee Purpose
After a dedicated group of volunteers has come forth, it’s time to work on the nitty-gritty of the actual tasks and purpose of the wellness committee. You’ll also take this time to gather important details that will create the “why” of your committee.
Assign Roles - Committees need specific roles filled to keep programs on track. Some specific roles might include:
- Chairperson - This role might fall to an HR rep or benefits coordinator. A senior management leader may also act as the leader for the committee.
- Co-chair - When the chairperson is gone, this person may fill in to lead meetings, request funding, coordinate initiatives, assign tasks, etc.
- Secretary - Takes notes during meetings for distribution to all members
- Committee team members - Active members who partake in planning, organizing, and executing wellness initiatives.
Gather information - Collect information to assess the needs of employees. A simple survey is a great start for this. Once you’ve got your answers, create your goals/strategy for your first initiative.
Some other sources to collect data from:
- Biometric screenings
- Disability reports
- Safety reports
- Suggestion box
- Aggregate reports
Develop your mission - With employees in mind, you’ll want to dive into your mission statement. This will keep your team focused as they develop more-involved wellness initiatives. Mission statements (or purpose statements) offer clarity for committee members to focus their efforts.
Here are two examples of mission statements:
- The purpose of this wellness committee is to provide activities and resources that encourage a culture of health and wellness in our workplace, improving the quality of life and reducing health care expenses for all employees.
- To serve employees in a manner that promotes better health and wellness in personal and professional endeavors.
Step 3: Monthly Progress Checks Keep Everyone on Track
Once a wellness committee has established goals and action steps, it will be important to meet monthly to report progress and offer feedback on current initiatives. Additional items to consider checking in on:
- Budget - Keeping a budget in mind while goal setting is helpful to keep initiatives realistic. Discuss the budget at the start of every new wellness initiative.
- Reporting - It's important to reflect upon feedback and measure employment satisfaction as wellness initiatives expand.
- Strategy - Discuss plans for current and developing programs. Setting broad goals like healthier eating, exercising, etc. paired with activity ideas like monthly luncheons or group fitness opportunities at each meeting can help the committee narrow down the game plan.
Measure Success Along the Way
You’ll create your ideal wellness committee if you build upon what works.
When wrapping up a wellness program, check in with employees and committee members to see what went well. Look into participation and employee satisfaction as key indicators of success. Measurable results like lowered blood pressure, weight loss, etc. are also great indicators of employee wellness program engagement.
If it’s working for your wellness committee, keep going with it. Keep detailed documentation with employee surveys, feedback, and results each step of the way. This offers insightful data for leadership and wellness committees to keep improving.
Cheers to your wellness committee success!
What questions do you have about creating a successful wellness committee?