This is the second post in a four-part series about building a network of wellness champions. In our last post, we talked about the power of wellness champions. Next up, we’ll tackle your first step in building a wellness champion network: Getting approval and buy-in from leadership.
So you’ve recognized that creating wellness champions might be a great way to increase your wellness program’s chances of success. Now you just need support from leadership.
Chances are, your organization’s leaders will want to know how a wellness champions network ties in with the company’s mission, vision, or values. So, first, take a look at your company’s purpose and objectives. Determine if and how wellness champions can help the business meet its goals. If building this network is aligned with your company’s goals, you’re ready to get started.
Outline your reasons for wanting a champion team and how they support your company’s mission and vision. Identify the impact you’re hoping the champions network will have, the steps you will take to build and maintain your network, and what resources you’ll need. Once you’ve got your plan in place, sit down with leadership to pitch the idea.
What do I ask of leadership?
First, present your plan. You’ll want to thoroughly discuss expectations, participation parameters, and steps to measure effectiveness of the program.
Next, ask leaders for support and participation. Company leaders are in a unique position to be able to inspire their teams and to demonstrate that the organization stands behind its initiatives and stated values. If they’re “too busy” or not interested, it might be tough for your colleagues to see the value in participating themselves. But if busy execs are willing to visibly engage and encourage others to do the same, they can set an inspirational example that improves the program’s chances at success.
Here are a few of many ways leaders can help:
- They can be wellness champions themselves. Your first recruits!
- They can announce the launch of the wellness champion network and encourage participation.
- They can send an email or letter to employees reassuring them that it’s ok to perform wellness champion activities on paid time.
- They can sit in on wellness champion meetings or calls, or at least stop in to thank champions for their efforts.
- They can spend some time manning the wellness champion recruitment booth at employee benefits or well-being fairs.
- They can post messages of thanks and encouragement on the wellness champions web portal.
- They can give shout-outs to wellness champions in company meetings.
The takeaway is that getting leadership involved is always a win, and can help any initiative succeed. So ask leaders for support and participation, and brainstorm with them to determine manageable ways that they can help.
Next, chat with your colleagues in wellness and HR. What, specifically, will you be asking of champions? (If you’re not sure, we’ll cover this later.) You may not know just yet what kind of time commitment you’re asking of them, or what wellness initiatives are coming down the pipeline. But, ultimately, you’ll want to put together some sort of document that loosely outlines what will be expected of champions, and asks for them to commit to being a champion for a certain period of time (a year is a great start).
Once you’ve got buy-in from leadership, you’ll be ready to move forward and start building your champions network. In our next post, we’ll talk about what to look for in a wellness champion and ways to recruit your team.