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Are Wellbeing Champions the Secret to Motivating Your Workforce?

August 6, 2020 / Employee Wellbeing Best Practices

Written By: Jordan Dunne

Employee wellbeing is the secret ingredient for the most successful companies around the world, and more organizations are recognizing the importance of creating a culture of health in this post-pandemic world. The return to the workplace will be different for each organization, but most will be dealing with a dispersed workforce as well as budget constraints. Your employees will be looking to you for guidance as they enter their new environment. The best ways to empower your employees to prioritize their health are through wellbeing champions and intrinsic motivation. 

How to Successfully Prioritize Employee Wellbeing: 

Know the Importance of Wellbeing 

Research shows that more and more businesses are beginning to offer wellbeing programs, and, at Virgin Pulse, 90% of our members believe that wellness programs make their companies a far better place to work. Wellbeing has helped managers meet department goals by lowering absenteeism and increasing engagement as well as productivity. A movement towards health and wellbeing across the organization encourages all employees, from lower management to executives, to improve workplace culture and put wellbeing first. 

Why Wellbeing Champions are Necessary 

Health and wellbeing champions provide motivation, support and encouragement for their peers. Champions not only drive employee engagement with your program, but true adoption of the positive behaviors you’re trying to reinforce, leading to the health and business outcomes that matter most to your organization. Wellbeing champions can evangelize the benefits of wellbeing and be a model for embracing your culture of wellbeing 

Motivating Frontline Wellbeing Champions 

These leaders are essential to the success of wellbeing programs, so it’s important to invest time and attention into these champions. Small gestures and incentives, such as providing small, frequent rewards for healthy behavior and continuous recognition, can go a long way. For example, the opportunity to enter into selective gift card raffles or obtain free swag ensures that your wellbeing champions will stay motivated and continuously spread that positive energy across your workforce 

Intrinsic Motivation is Key 

woman watching an exercise video at homeIn 2020, the name of the game seems to be rapidly changing business challenges, dispersed workforces, budget limitations, and more. A traditional rewards-based wellbeing program might not be a viable option for your organization depending on your circumstances. But the good news is that creating meaningful, lasting changes and maintaining a high level of participation from employees can be achieved by shifting from extrinsic rewards to intrinsic rewards – encouraging your people to participate in healthy habits because the reward comes from within (i.e., I’m doing this because I know it’s good for me and I like feeling my best!) 

You can leverage wellbeing champions to help you convert financial awards to meaningful recognition. These key players in your wellbeing program can help build a supportive culture and leverage leadership buyin, hold frequent wellbeing challenges, and encourage ongoing camaraderie and communication. Additionally, your wellness champions will serve as intrinsic motivators as they inspire their colleagues to participate and build a culture of wellbeing. 

If your company is able to influence your employees to become intrinsically motivated, you will be driving behavior change that positively affects their daily habits. 

Set Goals 

In order to ensure that your wellness program succeeds, you need to set realistic goals. Most importantly, the safety, health and wellbeing of employees must be placed first. These goals should focus on promoting healthy lifestyles, addressing the needs of your at-risk populations and highlighting the available resources in addition to your wellbeing program.  

While getting your workforce to embrace a culture of wellbeing requires a little extra effort, creativity and persistence goes a long way. By leaning on intrinsic motivators like wellbeing champions, your organization can achieve success with a wellbeing program that is customized to fit your needs, integrates healthy competition and streamlines communication.  

Get expert insights on the future of employee wellbeing in our webinar, Global Employee Wellbeing Landscape: 2020 & Beyond, with our Science Advisory Board member Dr. David C. Batman on Wednesday, August 12, 2020 at 2pm EDT. 

About The Author

Jordan Dunne is on the marketing team at Virgin Pulse, focusing on social strategy and health and wellbeing content. Outside of work, you can find her at the gym, hosting trivia, taking photos of food, or snuggling up on the couch with her dogs.

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