It is essential to the success of a company’s wellness program that leadership be on board. Without leadership buy in, a wellness program will struggle. But leadership can’t just accept the concept—they also have to walk the walk. Because if leadership doesn’t participate in the program or rally around its principles, the trickle-down effect leaves employees unenthused and unlikely to participate.
However, it is understandable how wellness can sometimes take a back seat to leadership’s workplace responsibilities. Managing teams, back-to-back-meetings, and stressful workloads can put the company wellness program last on the list of priorities.
Here’s some easy ways leadership can get more involved in wellness:
1. Make it Snappy
Studies have shown that breaking up exercise into shorter sessions is just as beneficial as one longer workout—if not more. A brisk 10-minute walk three times a day is a great step toward improving well-being. Time-strapped leaders can make good use of precious time by initiating walking meetings. It not only breaks up the monotony of endless meetings, it also gets the whole team moving and sets a good example.
2. Get Competitive
Workplace wellness challenges are a fun way to get everyone engaged in the wellness program. And when a leader creates a peer challenge and invites employees and other members of leadership to participate, it raises the stakes. Most employees don’t want to look lazy and unmotivated in direct view of leadership, so they’re likely to participate. And leadership rivalry usually guarantees some friendly competition.
3. Humanize Efforts
Being in a position of power can inadvertently make leaders unapproachable to employees, which does nothing to cultivate a culture of health. Well-being is a personal journey, but it also thrives on a support network. Leaders can start by casually talking to employees about their own wellness goals—and struggles—to open up the conversation for employees to do the same. This not only creates a supportive workplace environment, but also strengthens a team’s bond. Plus, the added accountability increases the success of working toward goals.
4. Promote the Lifestyle
A leadership position comes with a level of responsibility that goes beyond workload, as employees take cues from leadership’s behavior. Leaders can promote a healthy lifestyle, including a healthy work-life balance, with the smallest of steps. Simple things like planning healthy brown-bag lunches, sharing healthy recipes via email, using allocated vacation days, and scheduling mental health days are all ways to lead by example.
Leadership’s behavior shouldn’t detract from the healthy workplace culture a company is trying to achieve—it should strengthen it. As with all things, the key is progress, not perfection. The small steps a leader can take to become actively involved in wellness can do wonders for wellness program engagement and the well-being of employees.