Establishing an effective wellness committee

Creating a wellness committee is an important step in establishing a company culture of health and wellness. When selecting committee members, it’s important to choose employees that will promote your company’s wellness commitment to the rest of the staff.

A few rules can help HR professionals gain confidence in establishing a committee that will both encourage wellness, as well as fulfill company strategy.

Formally appoint members

Some companies will run their wellness committee as a volunteer program, paying little attention to members’ skills and core values. Although committee members do not necessarily have to possess wellness experience, they do have to be wellness champions and set an example to other employees. Research shows that most successful programs appoint their committee members. This not only gives credit to the program as a whole, but it also earns the proper respect in the organisation.

When appointing members, set ground rules for appointment terms and selection criteria. It’s best to rotate your members in order to maintain both consistency and freshness to your program. Remember to appoint members that represent your organisation as a whole. This includes senior executives, managers and administrative staff across all departments and functions. Employees will feel that they have fair representation and will become more engaged when they know members are “one of them”.

Typically, most successful committees range from 6-12 members, depending on organisation size. Make sure you elect a Chair member for your group. This person will guide the group to a common goal, record minutes, and will help achieve consensus on meeting topics.

Establish roles & functions

Like all programs and departments, your committee members need roles and functions in order to carry out your wellness strategy successfully. We also recommend including wellness roles on job descriptions. This provides members accountability for their role. The roles and functions of committee members should include:

  • Naming the group – This sets the tone to the group’s function and reflects its credibility in the company.
  • Creating a vision and mission statement – What does the group want to accomplish? What benefit does it provide to the overall business strategy?
  • Attending all meetings – The committee should hold regular meetings. A good rule of thumb is monthly or bimonthly. This will maintain the group’s momentum and allow accomplishment of important program goals. Members should be held accountable in attending all group meetings.
  • Planning activities and providing feedback – Members should plan activities, research health topics, and provide feedback to the entire group on any opportunities or obstacles they see in delivering the group’s strategy.
  • Evaluating the program – Make sure your committee is evaluating the group’s objectives by reviewing feedback from employees. This should be done at least once a year. Employee surveys are great tools for evaluating your group’s activities and encouraging new ideas.

Promote and communicate goals

Encourage communication between Wellness Coordinator and members. Greater communication will lead to better execution of program goals. Remember that committee members are also important wellness strategy promoters. They should communicate the group’s activities and topics via email, company posters, and discussions. Also, ensure that the communication is frequent. Busy employees often need reminders and encouragement to participate.

The bottom Line

Wellness committees have an important role in promoting a company’s wellness strategy.  When creating a committee, HR professionals are encouraged to appoint members from all levels of the organisation who will become wellness champions.  Committee members must also have concrete roles and functions, in order to ensure the program a strong and permanent place in the company’s structure.

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