How to be a workplace health champion
Sometimes the seeds of a successful workplace health initiative can be sown by the initial passion and enthusiasm of just one person.
Formally this person is known as the workplace health champion although you’ll probably recognise them as your highly sociable and organised workmate who is great at inspiring everyone to take part in health related activities.
Here are some of the qualities a workplace health champion might have:
- Good networking skills – a champion knows lots of people in their organisation, has good rapport with people at all levels and has the trust of their workmates.
- Energy and enthusiasm – a champion has a personal passion for health that they enjoy sharing with others in a supportive way.
- Time – the champion is in a job that allows them, with their manager’s approval, to spend a bit of time each week organising activities and events.
In workplaces without a corporate health and wellbeing program, the role of the workplace health champion can be pretty informal. In fact, they may not even see themselves as fulfilling a particular role – they are just doing what comes naturally.
In workplaces that do have a dedicated health and wellbeing coordinator, the champion is still important in providing a link between workers and the coordinator.
Here are some of the things a workplace health champion might do:
- Organise physical activity or information sessions or support the health and wellbeing coordinator to do this,
- Lead a particular activity, like a lunchtime walking group or a monthly salad club,
- Talk to workmates about planned activities and motivate them to take part,
- Find out what workers want and what they are enthusiastic about and then respond to this, or pass it this feedback on to decision-makers,
- Talk to decision-makers about the benefits of investing in workplace health and wellbeing,
- Display health and wellbeing resources in common areas, for example information on quit smoking courses or local bike and walk trails.
The benefits to the workplace of having a health champion are obvious but there are also benefits for the person taking on this role. These might include:
- The chance to share a passion,
- The satisfaction of making a difference to people’s health,
- An improved profile within the organisation,
- The chance to learn some new skills,
- The chance to influence decision making on something they feel passionately about,
- Opportunities for training or skill development once managers realise the benefits of workplace health and wellbeing initiatives.
Do you have a workplace health champion? What are some of the great things they’ve done in your workplace?
Until next time,
The Happy Worker
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