Colleen Werner is the Founder + CEO of lulafit, a company transforming office buildings with amenity consulting and management.
Whether you’re in a co-working space or have a dedicated company HQ, creating a wellness committee can help improve employees’ overall health, satisfaction, productivity, engagement and more. Today, it is especially important to think about this given the future of flexible work.
Not every organization is equipped to implement successful well-being initiatives. In order to create an authentic culture of wellness, the right steps should be taken to ensure that employees feel connected and drawn to the initiatives you’re investing in.
One study found that “48% of employees who utilize well-being programs report being highly engaged.” And as the founder of a company that transforms the workplace with experiences rooted in well-being, I have seen firsthand that companies committed to supporting a wellness committee see higher levels of engagement with their benefits.
To help your organization prioritize the health and happiness of employees and get the highest ROI from wellness perks, I recommend following these steps to establish a wellness committee that embraces sustainability.
Step one: Build your wellness committee.
A wellness committee’s role is to help lead communication efforts; model the adoption of wellness initiatives; develop a feedback loop among employees, people managers and senior leadership; and provide insight on new opportunities to boost the physical, mental and social health of the team.
The first crucial step in building a wellness committee is to identify reliable members who will represent a cross-section of the employee population. Then, you’ll want to ensure that your committee embodies these qualities:
• Ideally composed of a minimum of three committee members, but no more than 12—enough people to divide the work and support a commingling of ideas
• Able to accurately reflect the diverse demographic of your organization
• Represents all departments and levels of leadership, including at least one executive or C-suite member
• Includes employees at every stage of their wellness journey—not just the “gurus”—who share a personal interest in health
• Welcomes members who can commit to at least one year as a committee participant
Step two: Establish a structure.
In order to collaborate successfully, your wellness committee will need to have a well-oiled, functional structure. This step is key to ensuring the committee will operate as intended.
I recommend first creating committee mission and vision statements that align with your company values. From there, you will want to determine that all-important operating plan and budget and assign committee roles. Example roles include:
• Committee chair: Ideally this is someone who has access to executive leadership.
• Notetaker: This person is responsible for recording meeting minutes and sending follow-up communications.
• Timekeeper: This person is responsible for keeping meeting discussions on task and in line with meeting agendas.
• Scheduling leader: This person is responsible for scheduling meetings and maintaining the committee calendar.
Creating a committee structure also involves ensuring that agendas are formed with time frames for each topic; establishing a communication framework between the committee, company leadership and employees; and creating a communication channel where employees can provide insight on current and future committee initiatives. Make sure that each initiative has a leader, budget, implementation plan and review process in order to pave the way for success.
Step three: Create best practices.
Beyond the foundational structure of the committee, you’ll want to take the time to develop best practices. This begins with creating a concise set of goals. These can include things like:
• Building an inclusive environment that fosters the sharing of ideas and sincere discussion
• Designing a comprehensive wellness programming calendar for employees
• Expanding your team’s knowledge of holistic wellness and sharing available resources
• Enhancing employee well-being and empowering the team to take time during the workday for wellness
• Assessing the impact of wellness initiatives and exploring future opportunities with regular employee surveys
A thriving wellness committee will adopt best practices that encourage continuous self-evaluation. This includes actions like quarterly check-ins with the committee by senior leadership. These check-ins provide a unique opportunity to identify accomplishments and future opportunities; ensure the committee is optimizing its time, resources and budget; document progress in employee wellbeing; and celebrate milestones as a group and with your organization as a whole.
Another best practice could involve tracking the progress of the committee. I would recommend the following steps:
• Evaluate employee wellness with a biannual wellness survey. Don’t forget about incentives! Incentives encourage employees to complete the survey and ensure you have an abundance of data.
• Review engagement statistics provided by your wellness benefit provider.
• Examine participation rates of wellness programming.
• Work with HR to identify the impact on employee retention and satisfaction metrics.
• Evaluate advancement toward committee goals.
• Assess committee turnover and performance.
Be sure to also ask strategic questions during this progress-monitoring process. Do members feel fulfilled by their contribution? Are members extending their committee tenure? Are you successfully recruiting new members when necessary? These questions will help you determine whether to adjust or stay the course.
The workplace has shifted, and I think employees will continue to move toward wellness-inclusive environments. Adapting with this change involves more than just embracing a wellness ethos in your organization. To truly reap all the benefits, organizations can take the additional steps of establishing a wellness committee and following best practices to keep their initiatives thriving.
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