Understand Who You Are Looking For
There are different definitions of the word “champion.” For most people, the first thing this word recalls is the athletic kind of champion. Maybe it’s Cristiano Ronaldo doing his epic goal celebration after having just won a championship. But there’s another meaning to the word “champion,” the slightly harder-to-imagine kind who fights on behalf of those who would not otherwise be able to fight for themselves. They pick a worthy cause, get to work, and don’t stop until their goal is accomplished. The wellness champion you’re looking for needs to be both kinds of champion.
While the athletic type might not be exactly what you’re looking for, the determined attitude he represents is. The same goes for the champion who fights for a cause. This champion’s determination to improve the lives of others is a trait all your wellness champions should share.
The Society for Human Resource Management defines a wellness champion network as “a group of employees who work to improve the health and culture of the workplace in conjunction with an employer-sponsored wellness program.”
Both definitions of the word “champion” define them. They’re a representative sample of your employees who are openly enthusiastic about being champions for all the facets of your wellness program. And they’re champions who share the tenacity and determination to meet wellness goals just like Cristiano himself.
Whether that goal is another run at a World Cup, or simply to quit smoking, both can arguably take the same level of determination. Finding these champions can be a challenge. Here’s how to get started.
Traits of a Wellness Champion
The natural inclination here is to think of the athletes within your company. That’s a good place to start, but don’t forget our other definition of champion. Keep going. These champions are harder to spot. The people you’re seeking don’t have to already be in shape.
Consider someone who wishes to stop smoking. His success could be just as inspiring to other smokers as any Cristiano Ronaldo fan is his numerous accomplishments. Your champions don’t have to be the next Ronaldo, but it helps to share his determination and desire to achieve wellness.
The individuals you approach will have a lot in common. Remember, they’re going to become the face of your program and the most visible, approachable contact for their fellow employees. They should be natural wellness enthusiasts or, better yet, already eager participants in your program. They’re outgoing, with a keen interest in leadership, and are comfortable becoming positive role models for others.
How to Choose an Office Wellness Champion
When considering wellness champion candidates, be sure to branch out beyond your human resources team. The goal here should be to create a holistic, diverse group of champions from different levels and departments to represent your program.
Finally (and this is an obvious, but big one) champions need keep up with and understand the wellness program they represent. Being champions of wellness means they’ll be approached by coworkers with questions and feedback at any time, so they’ll need to know the nuances of your program as well as Ronaldo gets football. It also helps to ensure that they’ll be able to recommend new ways to improve your wellness program or increase participation.
Your champion network should be a balanced, representative mix of people who reflect your workplace culture. The right mix of people, like successful wellness programs, should reflect a holistic picture, rather than one solely focused on physical health.
The key to creating the right mix of wellness champions is, again, to identify individuals who fit both definitions of the word “champion” from within your office locations. As champions, they’ll be able to motivate employees to participate and share their experiences.