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cohealth tweet chat recap: workplace wellness champions

November 18, 2010

in cohealth,culture,health care,wellness

this post was originally published on the employee wellness network. it recaps a cohealth tweet chat on employee wellness champions.

i skated in under 1,000 words with this wrap-up, but just barely (954). that’s because it was a great chat. we started by defining the role of employee wellness champions (EWCs). for most, EWCs act as role models and an extra pair of hands. they “walk the talk,” market programs, provide computer training, energize others and serve as ear-to-the-ground liaisons for HR.

traits of a good EWC

what’s more, they have certain traits that make them a great EWC. cohealth members said they are:

  • opinion leaders within the organization, modeling desired behaviors (@drdavidballard).
  • ‘social butterflies,’ those who aren’t shy around others and have experience they’re willing to share (@sarahmonley)
  • passionate about health but also easy to relate to—not too fanatical (@johallswen)
    not necessarily the marathon runner but the one who can encourage participation (@corpwellness)
  • from all levels of the organization—natural and titled leaders (@femelmed)

finding natural leaders is particularly important, since we look to them to influence opinions and perceptions of the wellness effort and programs.

role expectations and recruiting

we had a brief chat about time commitment, something that could probably be explored more. members asked about specific time commitments (weekly, monthly and annually), as well as whether that’s on or off the clock and rewarded. that led to some give-and-take about the importance of spelling out expectations when setting up an EWC program. @femelmed worked with her client to create recruiting materials that outlined expectations, desired behaviors, expected time commitment and role, rewards and recognition, available support and the nomination process. @johallswen is working with a client to hire an intern who will set and manage a charter that’ll outline vision, goals, key activities, baseline expectations, feedback process and tips on networking with others. also important was how EWCs were selected:

  • we ask for applications…works well (@cliffrnewby)
  • our wellness coaches select our champions (@michellewjames)
  • EWCs could self-nominate or be hand-picked by hr (@femelmed)

training and support

but what can EWCs expect from companies in the way of support? members shared their approach to communicating, training and facilitating conversation:

  • we’ve provided some turnkey programs, wellness dvds, tip sheets for lunch-n-learns, and a message board (@wellwork)
  • talking points—here’s what’s most important to know, here’s what others might ask about and how to respond (@sarahmonley)
  • make sure they have access to important information ahead of time. advanced previews of products, marketing support. (@cliffrnewby)
  • hold quarterly meetings/activities, along with monthly update newsletters that provide supporting information (@michellewjames)
  • online orientation; regular webex calls, meetings in a box, monthly e-newsletter; online forum. the meetings in a box are designed as shift break materials, with a script, activity and an accompanying employee handout (@femelmed)

EWCs set direction, give feedback

equally important as getting information out to EWCs was the ability to get information from them. @johallswen pointed out that it’s important to “make sure [EWCs] have someone to go to when issues arise. @chimoose asked whether EWCs were ever used in crafting communication messages, and @corpwellness asked whether EWCs are “involved in planning or just cruise directors.”

  • not in a collective way, at this point. their feedback is incorporated, and our lead ee comms person is a champion (@wellwork)
  • my client involves some EWCs on their advisory wellness council (@femelmed). the online benefits forum is a great central mechanism for having someplace to go when problems arise.

overall, it looks like there’s room for improvement when it comes to recognizing the valuable feedback and direction EWCs can offer. in fact, recognizing their knowledge and opinion was considered to be a strong incentive and reward.

recognition and rewards

speaking of…members shared that they are both formally and informally recognizing EWCs’ contribution:

  • we *incent* with program points (equals a bit of cash). we acknowledge in other ways (@wellwork)
  • client gives xtra points to lower premiums, place on the wellness council. we’re investigating quarterly champion recognition. (@femelmed) we do the same (@cliffrnewby)
  • by making being a champion an honor and informing their manager of their great work/role. financial recognition ($25–$50), but don’t set up the expectation up front. (@michellewjames)
  • recognition by peers & supervisors, learning opportunities, leadership roles, additional autonomy, opportunities to participate in wellness activities they enjoy. remember psych101: extrinsic reward when someone is already intrinsically motivated to do something can actually be a demotivator. (@drdavidballard)


ok, so what’s the payoff? as many members noted, running an EWC program is a job; it can wither without attention. how are people measuring the impact of their EWCs? members shared some great ideas—but measurement is clearly in its infancy.

  • we’ve looked at participation at locations where there are and aren’t champs and conducted focus groups at each. orgs with EWCs can use comms/benefits survey to ask about people’s valued, trusted comms sources and include EWCs as an option. (@femelmed)
  • over time, monitoring health risk factors would be the true test … less risk where you had champions? (@johallswen)
  • we had a PhD candidate in our finance department do his thesis on our wellness program, with a survey question about EWCs. we have a good idea of engagement based on their comms with us and on the forum. (@wellwork)
  • before and after weigh-ins, bp checks, sick days, general wellness of the group—it depends on program goals. short online surveys of participants is a low impact way to get feedback. (@corpwellness)
  • compare program enrollment with how much champion involvement/support we have at the site. plus, we look at employee feedback and what they are saying on our social media site. (@michellewjames)
  • we don’t have it (yet) but volunteer growth by location. where there once was one, now there’s a committee, etc… (@sarahmonley)

and that’s a wrap! thanks for joining. we’ll talk about mental health during our next chat, wednesday, december 15, noon ET. spread the word.


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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Tin October 21, 2015 at 6:18 pm

well just tell her . n you dont have to go hey look you are getting fat ..just tell her that you think shez put of some weghit you can go together ot work out, swin, run , jog, cycle ..n so on also you can tell her this only if you urself have not put on weghit ..it will back fire then..Whtz wrong with both of you being healthy?


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