Perhaps the single most important element in building and sustaining a wellness program in a small business is having CEO and senior management buy-in. When leaders recognize the benefits of a healthy workplace to both the organization and employees, they are more likely to commit the time and resources required to support and implement the program.
Many successful programs are led by the CEO for a reason – employees often model the behaviour of their boss. Typically, employee participation increases when management visibly supports and participates in the programs as well.
Here are four strategies you can use as a leader to support the success of your small business workplace wellness program:
Communicate to your employees that wellness is something you value and is an important part of your business’ strategy and operations. Communicating your support shows employees that it is ok to make participation in wellness activities a priority. Staff meetings, emails, and day-to-day contact are all great opportunities to express your support for your workplace wellness initiatives.
Mitigate Possible Barriers
When starting a wellness program, it’s important to assess your workplace, identify any potential barriers to employee participation, and address them as soon as possible. Consider strategies for addressing the needs of employees who do shift work, work off-site or from home. Identifying and addressing potential barriers ahead of time is a key driver of program engagement.
In the planning stages, put together a list of the resources you believe your employees will need in order to be fully engaged in the program. This could be anything from giving staff time in their workplaces to commit to different wellness activities to setting aside a budget for prizes and incentives. Allocating resources can show employees just how invested you are in making the program work.
Walk the Talk
Leading by example and participating in wellness activities in the workplace shows employees that workplace wellness is a routine part of business operations This doesn’t mean that you need to be a fitness superstar or the perfect picture of health. Try sharing your challenges and struggles with your employees to help inspire and motivate.