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Employee Wellness Efforts at the Workplace - Does Support From the Top Matter?

Posted by Beth Beth Pirnie, M.S., MCHES

YES! CEO, President, Executive Director, VP's -- Regardless of the specific title that exists at the top level of the hierarchy within your organization -- Support from the top matters when it comes to employee wellness efforts. Worksite health promotion professionals would confirm that support from the top can make or break a program. In my role at WELCOM, I enjoy working with our member companies & assisting with this important component of workplace wellness efforts. If you're involved in leading the workplace wellness program at your organization, garner support from the top.

Not sure whether your top level leaders are supportive of workplace wellness efforts?
• Ask! Providing a brief 2-3 question survey to your top executive(s) can be a great starting point for determining the level of support that exists.

Need more support? Seek it!
• Provide leader with research-based benefits of workplace wellness programs.
• Know your audience. Highlight key wellness-related benefits that are important to your top folks -- Absenteeism? Productivity? Employee Morale? Retention?
• Share a success story from a company of similar size & industry, related to implementing a wellness program - Include tangible outcomes!
• Identify a testimonial written by a top executive to provide your leader with a peer-to-peer message, sharing a positive experience related to implementing an employee wellness program.
• Be considerate of their time & responsibilities. Request support briefly & concisely.

Already have support? Use it!
• Request that the C-Suite'ers openly communicate the importance of the organization's wellness program -- At all-company meetings, in memos to staff, via company newsletters, etc.
• Invite these leaders to participate in the wellness program -- The key is for them to be visible while participating in wellness offerings!
• Share a personal success story related to the top executive's participation in the workplace wellness program.
• Carve out a place for wellness program info within the organization's annual report - This keeps the wellness program in front of employees & reveals that the wellness program is a key component of the organization as a whole.

The field of creating opportunities for employees to engage in healthy behaviors through workplace wellness programs is continuing to advance & grow. In order for these efforts to be successful, support is truly needed from the top. Once that support is secured, wellness professionals are more likely to have the time & resources needed to create a strategic program, with engagement from employees falling right into place!