A representative Employee Wellness Plan Committee is a cornerstone of a successful Employee Wellness Program, regardless of the size of the organization.
Membership of your Employee Wellness Plan Committee
Aim for a committee of a manageable size (no more than 15 members, depending on your organization’s size). Your Employee Wellness Plan Committee should represent all employee groups (e.g., full-time and part-time staff members, managers and front-line staff members, salary and hourly workers, union representation, HR, marketing or communications, legal, and occupational health/safety).
Here are some additional considerations:
- Employee Wellness Plan Committee members can be selected by leadership or can be selected from among volunteers.
- Determine in advance how long Employee Wellness Plan Committee members will serve and how new members will be selected. Balance the need for continuity with the need to bring fresh ideas and energy to your organization’s Employee Wellness Program.
- It’s not important, or even desirable, to have your healthiest staff members on the Employee Wellness Plan Committee Ideal Employee Wellness Plan Committee members are those who best can represent their peers, motivate others and support the implementation of the Employee Wellness Program.
- Consider providing an incentive or recognition to Employee Wellness Plan Committee members. It legitimizes their positions and encourages participation. Some organizations that have implemented stipends have generated enough staff member interest that the selection of Health Promotion Committee membership becomes a competitive process. The Employee Wellness Plan Committee responsibilities become a formal component of the member’s job accountability.
Role of your Employee Wellness Plan Committee
In some organizations the Employee Wellness Plan Committee is responsible for the implementation of the Employee Wellness Program. In other organizations, the Employee Wellness Plan Committee plays an advisory role. In either case, the group members can be asked to:
- Attend regular meetings of the Employee Wellness Plan Committee.
- Help create a vision and name for the organization’s Employee Wellness Plan.
- Represent their peers by sharing ideas, needs, concerns and feedback from their work areas and colleagues about proposed Employee Wellness Plan Strategies, policies, and programs.
- Make available feedback on the possible obstacles to proposed Employee Wellness Plan Strategies and offer suggestions for addressing those obstacles (e.g., how does a proposed policy fit with the schedules of staff members?).
- Suggest effective Employee Wellness Plan communication Strategies and solutions to challenges. For example, what is the best way to communicate with staff members who work the third shift? How will staff members react to a proposed message from upper management?
- Be a voice of support for a culture of wellness, carrying the message from the Health Promotion Committee to their work areas and colleagues.
Functioning of your Employee Wellness Plan Committee
Meet. Schedule regular Employee Wellness Plan Committeemeetings on paid work time. Your Health Promotion Committee may want to meet very often at first, then slightly less often as your health improvement strategy is more established. If your Health Promotion Committee is new, it might be useful to ask members to provide information about themselves and their interests.
Communicate. Set up regular channels of communication with Employee Wellness Plan Committee members so they are up to date and engaged. An email list is often the easiest way to do this. Encourage communication to flow both ways: from Employee Wellness Plan coordinator to members and from members to coordinator.
Check-in. At least once a year, determine how effectively the Employee Wellness Plan Committee is functioning. Is the Health Promotion Committee serving its original purpose? Ask committee members for their feedback. Do they feel like their work is making a difference? Do they feel like their input is valued and taken into account when planning and implementing initiatives? Do they understand their expected Employee Wellness Plan roles and responsibilities? Are there members who want to rotate off of the committee? How will new members be selected?