Wellbeing champions are employees who volunteer to support the wellbeing of their fellow colleagues, supporting organisational wellbeing initiatives and helping to share health and wellbeing messages.
Creating a wellbeing champion network can be a powerful way to promote and raise awareness about wellbeing in the workplace. Finding willing champions can be the easy part – but there are several steps to take to enable wellbeing champions and bring the network to life.
- Be clear on purpose and responsibilities. A role profile is a good place to start. It is important to be clear on what a wellbeing champion is – and is not. Champions are not there to provide advice or 121 support, but instead to share messages, promote, signpost, encourage and engage. This should also include the time commitment for this champion role.
- Train your wellbeing champions. Make sure that wellbeing champions have a good understanding of what wellbeing is, as well as what enables it and detracts from it in the workplace. This might include key areas like mental health awareness, how wellbeing can be improved at an individual and organisational level and sources of available employee support.
- Provide Continuing Professional Development. Training for wellbeing champions shouldn’t just be a one-off event. Consider providing regular CPD opportunities or asking champions to commit to building their skills and knowledge in health and wellbeing.
- Create space for champions to share and connect. Help the wellbeing champions to feel like a team and provide them with time and space (whether physical or virtual) to network, share ideas and knowledge and develop their skills.
- Brand your champion network. Provide the champions with a visual identity so that they can clearly signal their role as a champion to others. This could include creating a simple logo, encouraging champions to include their champion role on email auto-signatures, or providing lanyards or badges.
- Promote your champions and their successes. Let employees know who your wellbeing champions are. Include names in any launch communication and have a list available that is easy to access. Use your communication channels to share information about what champions have been doing in the organisation.
- Provide a budget. Many wellbeing initiatives will be organisational led. However, having a small budget that wellbeing champions can access to run their own activities or events can help champions to take ownership and tailor wellbeing solutions to their own teams or roles. This budget doesn’t have to be large – and it can include a maximum amount. Set up a process for making and considering requests.
- Identify key supporters for the network. Having a central point of contact in Human Resources can help wellbeing champions navigate the organisation and get things done. A senior champion or supporter from the leadership team can help to legitimise the wellbeing champion role and provide ‘organisational permission’ for time and energy spent.
- Focus on some relevant awareness days or health themes. There are many health and wellbeing awareness campaigns. A champion network cannot support every single one, so it can be useful to pick a handful of different causes, themes, or awareness days to support each year. These could include broad events like raising awareness about cancer or mental health, or those specific to the wellbeing needs of the organisation’s own employees.
- Keep going! Wellbeing champion networks need focus and ongoing support from their organisations. They will also take time to embed and build their influence. Don’t expect them to make huge changes quickly but keep supporting them to make a difference in whatever way they can.
These 10 simple steps will help to ensure that any wellbeing champion network can deliver at its best for your organisation and employees.