Why Wellbeing Champions are Critical and How to Help Them Win
August 10, 2017 / Employee Engagement
A Champion’s Purpose
More organizations are recruiting, training and utilizing champion networks to communicate and promote the benefits of their wellbeing programs. Champions generate enthusiasm for the wellbeing initiative, evangelize the wellbeing lifestyle, nurture their peers and lead them toward success.
These efforts instill wellbeing deeper into company culture and ensure that employees know that they are an integral component of the wellbeing program.
A key benefit of a champion program is the amplification of your wellbeing program’s messaging, goals, events and rewards. Those individuals also provide continuous feedback to the wellbeing leadership team based on their experiences with their colleagues.
It’s important that those chosen as champions are credible role models. Typically, wellbeing champions embody a personal passion for wellbeing which translates into an authentic enthusiasm among colleagues.
Since champions are often volunteers, it’s important to be mindful of their primary obligations so that the role of champion isn’t overwhelming or an unwelcome additional responsibility. Scheduling meetings on a specific cadence can help champions identify timelines and deliverables well in advance.
To help drive the success of your champion program, provide the planning materials, tools and resources that clearly outline your wellbeing program’s messaging and goals. Virgin Pulse offers clients comprehensive, branded and turn-key champion kits that generate excitement and provide program alignment across potentially dispersed workforces.
Keys to Success
A successful champion program needs to begin from the very top of an organization. It’s critical to get executive (and union) support and commitment. And, those leaders need to demonstrate that commitment through their actions and their communications. This often includes allowing workouts during lunch and providing healthier food options in the workplace.
To maintain continuity by your champion team, it’s important that your champions make a commitment to their role for a specified period of time, often one year. Train your champions at the launch of the program, each time new champions begin their role and periodically throughout the year. Training will build continuity and develop a team with a unified approach to their roles.
It’s important to be agile with your planning. You’ll likely find that your team will need to make adjustments throughout the year to optimize the results of your champion program.
Best in Class
Several Virgin Pulse clients have demonstrated highly effective champion programs that have increased employee engagement and built stronger corporate cultures.
Brown-Forman created a unique wellness champion role and leveraged these individuals to develop, launch, and drive the success of their program. The champion role comes with specific responsibilities; a time commitment of 20 hours per quarter, manager approval, and a formal job description. Some of the champion teams’ favorite perks include building genuine relationships with their peers and receiving Live Well branded swag kits.
Leveraging the Virgin Pulse platform, Florida Hospital empowered their Health Champions; a multidisciplinary network of over 800 employees serving as motivational wellness ambassadors.
These Health Champions are employees who are on their own health journeys and are interested in sharing their experiences to help create a culture of health in their departments. Florida Hospital has elevated the role of Health Champions to become an integral component of their great wellbeing mission. Those colleagues not only promote and encourage program participation across a diverse and multigenerational workforce, but they create their own initiatives, lead social challenges, and bring wellness to life in their units.
St. Joseph Health
As part of their Choose Well (TM) wellbeing program, St. Joseph Health has a large network of program champions at each of their locations; the Choose Well Crew. These team members take responsibility for sharing peer to peer information at the grassroots level. The results from those efforts is impressive; SJH has seen exceptionally high year over year program enrollment and sustained engagement. Broad program brand recognition also drives wellbeing deeper into their company culture.