The 3 Cs of creating employee support for your workplace health program September 28th, 2012, by Ken Buckley

In this sixth blog in our series on delivering a successful workplace health and wellness program, we show you how to gain the support of your employees through the three Cs: Committees, Champions and Coordinators.

In every organisation, there’s a group of engaged employees who enthusiastically embrace every new program and give it their best. Then there’s the group, or groups, of the less engaged and the couldn’t-care-less employees.

Even if you can get them to show up to your various activities, you’ll still struggle to truly engage them.

Sometimes, a strong message about the personal benefits of taking part, the ol’ “WIIFM” can budge some, but other times you need something more strategic.

Two experts on corporate health and behaviour change, Dr Troy Adams and Dr Steven Aldana, have identified three practices which are proven to engage these stubborn groups and create genuine employee support for your health and wellness program. These are: Committees, Champions and Coordinators.

The power of committees

The term committee has pretty bad PR. It’s too commonly associated with unnecessary bureaucracy or scone baking. If the word doesn’t work for you, change it to “taskforce” or something equally punchy.

Your committee is one of your most powerful tools in planning, developing, implementing and evaluating your Annual Health Program. It will help you defuse opposition; identify what won’t work where; adapt your program to suit all the various situations and subcultures across your organisation, and promote your program formally and informally.

What does a committee do?

Your committee should have responsibility for:

–          Setting vision & policy

–          Identifying objectives

–          Overseeing planning & budgets

–          Choosing the right third-party provider

–          Promoting the program

–          Communicating with senior management

–          Helping to evaluate the program

Make sure the assignments given to the Committee are meaningful but manageable. Too much detail and they’ll get bogged down without achieving anything. Start with the low-hanging fruit – with highly visible, concrete actions that will give you kudos and momentum.

Who should be on the committee?

The size depend on the size of your organisation and program, but generally a committee of between 6 and 12 works well.

The real key is the composition of committee members: these need to be people who represent all the different departments, shift times and levels. It needs to include people with clout. Include the junior assistant by all means, but back it up with some movers and shakers too.

Another best practice tip is to change committee members every one or two years, to ensure fresh ideas and to adapt to the changing power structures in your organisation.

How often should it meet?

The short answer is “enough but not too much”. If you want more specifics: Research into best practice corporate health programs shows that the most successful committees meet at least quarterly, and sometimes more during peak times of planning and implementation.

Avoid creating too many meetings or tasks, or otherwise the more senior members will start “delegating” to their junior team members, reducing the committee’s influence.

The power of champions

Once you’ve got your committee sorted, you may want to consider empowering some Champions as well.

Program Champions, sometimes called Ambassadors or Captains, are your energy creators. Their role is to spread an infectious enthusiasm for your health program.

They can also be a huge help with communication, as they can spreading the word and provide tailored updates for each location or team. They are also vital for bottom-to-top communication, giving you feedback on what’s working and what needs to change.

Your champions don’t have to be health role models – they don’t need to be the healthiest or fittest. The most important skillset is people skills and being able to encourage and motivate others to take part.

The power of Coordinators

In our next blog, we talk more about the vital role of the third “C”: the Coordinator,  and reveal the most important attributes of successful Coordinators.

 

Healthworks offers proven, effective health and wellness solutions for organisations across Australia. We work closely with each client to develop customised programs, and to provide expert advice on how to plan, develop, implement and evaluate a successful health and wellness program. Call Healthworks on 1300 90 10 90.

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