Strong and visible upper management support for the Employee Wellness Plan encourages health and is essential to securing necessary Employee Wellness Plan resources (staff, time, and money) and implementing recommended changes.
Establish a Employee Wellness Plan champion
In a small organization, there may be a single leader who is the clear choice to champion the Employee Wellness Program. In a larger organization, look for an executive with the authority to sway others in the highest levels of the organization regarding the Employee Wellness Program. The Employee Wellness Plan champion need not be the fittest member of upper management.
Rather, look for a Employee Wellness Plan leader with the disposition to be a visible and vocal supporter of workplace policies that encourage healthy behaviors. Organizations with multiple sites can consider whether it would be useful to have an executive Employee Wellness Plan champion at each site.
Find existing Employee Wellness Plan allies
There may already be a number of individuals within your organization who recognize the value of a Employee Wellness Program. Think about who those individuals are in your organization; consider areas such as occupational safety, union representatives, risk management, medical officers, and human resources when looking for a Employee Wellness Plan ally.
Gain their stated support for the Employee Wellness Program. Employee Wellness Plan support could include contributions of staff time or expertise, financial resources, agreement to endorse/support policy and environmental changes, or agreement to participate in, and voice their support for, changes in the workplace that will help to build a culture of wellness.
Build a business case for the Employee Wellness Plan
There is a reason that more and more businesses are finding a way to promote employee health via a Employee Wellness Plan and policies: A Employee Wellness Plan makes good business sense. workers with healthy behaviors, on average, are more productive when at work (higher presenteeism)1 and incur lower health care costs than staff members with less healthy behaviors.2,3 As a result it would be foolish not to have a Employee Wellness Program.
When developing a Employee Wellness Plan use what you know about leadership styles and the decision-making process within your organization
Every organization is different. Build upper management support for the Employee Wellness Plan in the way that makes the most sense for your organization. Think about the following as you plan how to approach upper management for Employee Wellness Plan support:
- What are the current priorities and pressures facing executives? How could a Employee Wellness Plan and a healthier workforce support those priorities?
- How do your leaders rather receive data: written documents? verbal presentations?
- What types of Employee Wellness Plan information are likely to sway decisions? Do they want data and Employee Wellness Plan statistics specific to your organization, or are state or national data sufficient? Are your leaders more influenced by internal factors or by what competitors are doing?
- Who would your leaders see as a credible messenger for this Employee Wellness Plan information? Does someone from the risk management area carry more clout than someone from the human resources area?
- How do decisions really get made in your organization? Informal committee meetings? Formal or informal meetings between executives? Plan accordingly and you improve the odds that the Employee Wellness Plan will become a reality.
Maintain Employee Wellness Plan support once you have it
Once you have appropriate Employee Wellness Plan support, ensure that you keep it by regularly updating your leaders on employee health and progress toward starting a culture that encourages health. Ask upper management how often they want to receive Employee Wellness Plan progress reports.
- Bunn, JOEM, 2006, 48:10.
- Foldes, Bland, An et al. Modifiable Health Risks and Short-Term Health Care Costs. BC/BS of Minnesota internal research, submitted for publication.
- Anderson, 2000, American Journal of Health Promotion, 15:1.