When rolling out a brand-new well-being program, you may find it difficult to break this pre-conceived notion that well-being is only about spending more time during breaks getting to know colleagues better. Or that you’re championing some kind of campy, forced-positivity approach.
One of the very first things to do is identify evangelists or allies within the company who you know can help to bring your program to life. Some organizations find that setting up a wellness committee with wellness “champions” who are respected by their peers can help motivate fellow employees.
Well-being always translates better with results that come directly from data. Employees are more likely to buy into a new program that is supported by hard facts and figures. Your board is also more likely to agree to a well-being program if you can prove increased productivity, reduced costs, and so on – and there’s already a lot of data out there on this topic.
And once your program has been rolled out, it’s important to continue to supplement your efforts with stats; while the results of a well-being program may not be immediate, you’ll continue to gain support for it when you do, in fact, start to show your organization data (even more “informal” data, like anonymized surveys about people’s attitudes toward work – you might run one before and one during the course of your well-being program rollout).
Note that creating a well-being program is not about being overly ambitious and wanting to change the entire culture of the company through yet another program. Remember, the goal is to reduce stress and incrementally improve everyone’s experience in the workplace.
Montserrat Ventosa summarized it: “In the end, you are over promising and under delivering. It is better to under promise and over deliver with results.”
As HR and L&D professionals, it is important to communicate that the idea behind well-being is not reduced to the stereotypical ideas of meditation and mindfulness (nothing wrong with them, though certainly meditation, we all know, isn’t for everyone; that said, it’s worth pointing out that mindfulness – or at least reduced stress – has been proven to improve memory and focus, reduce emotional reactivity, improve cognitive flexibility, and enhance self-insight!).
The employees’ well-being – overall outlook, way of viewing and moving through the world, mental and physical health, sense of security – is something that directly affects clients and colleagues in their daily interactions. Once someone feels more balanced, it is more likely that he or she will have improved working relationships.
One of the most important things to remember when creating your own well-being program is that the planning is best done in co-creation with your leadership team.
It is important to spend that first initial time period investing in designing the program with your core leaders along with middle management. Completing the planning process together will help to fully convince them about the idea of the importance of a well-being program in the workplace. As they are involved in the process, they will easily able to see how the program progresses.
It’s best to gain a positive affirmation from the CEO and make sure the leader at the helm is on board with the program. Ideally, the CEO and other executives would demonstrate a commitment to taking on a well-being program. Furthermore, your colleagues will be more likely to buy into a new program if the support for it comes from the top, and leaders practice what they preach.