Here’s a frustrating situation I’ve seen play out too many times: An employer works with their consultant to create a really great annual wellness calendar and roll out exciting wellness events to their employees but ends up with mediocre participation. I can tell you from experience that great programming on its own won’t guarantee employee participation and satisfaction – it pretty much takes a proverbial village to create a successful wellness program.
In previous roles as an onsite corporate wellness coordinator, I remember feeling like I was the only person (in a building of 200 people) that was responsible for the success of my company’s program. Knowing I likely couldn’t deliver a successful wellness program singlehandedly, I often recruited key individuals throughout the building to join the cause. I would ask for help from the front desk associates and the security team; I gathered support from the colleagues I’d established strong relationships with; I called on members of the wellness committee to help get folks excited. Looking back, I can say that our wellness programs were successful because of the support of those key people in the building. The moral of the story, and like most of us already know, keeping people engaged and involved in wellness is difficult and takes persistence. It truly does take a collective effort to make wellness programming successful.
Wellness champions communicate wellness programs by word of mouth and spark wellness conversations among employees that may otherwise not take place, creating a certain openness around these topics. They can also create support for employees who aren’t feeling ready to join the culture of wellness. Readiness for behavior change is another topic for another time, but wellness champions can help nudge individuals along from just contemplating participation into taking action.
Please do your wellness program justice! Recruit individuals who are already engaging in wellness, or those who have a leadership role within your company, to be part of your wellness committee so they can set the tone and entice those who are not yet engaged. A wellness program, no matter how good, will not be successful if it’s established and then left to speak for itself.