Any employee wellness expert will tell you that one of the first steps to planning your corporate wellness program is to “capture senior level support.” However, this is often easier said than done. Senior management can often be an extremely busy, hard to reach, elusive group. In addition to that, you need to have a firm understanding of your senior leaders’ overall support of the wellness program.
Below is a new model – a continuum – to view your leaders’ level of support for the wellness program.
- 5% are wellness champions
- 30% are quiet supporters
- 40% are neutral
- 20% are in quiet opposition
- 5% are in active opposition
Leaders who speak out against the wellness program are in active opposition. Strategy: The best approach for leaders in this category is to not antagonize them, don’t poke the bear essentially. Listen to their complaints and concerns without arguing your point of view. Remember not to take it personally, and over time this leader may view you as sensible and professional and may even change his tune.
Leaders in quiet opposition are those who are nonverbally communicating their views of the wellness program by not participating in it. They may feel that wellness programs are a waste of time. Strategy: The best strategy with this group is to be an empathetic listener. When a leader points out something positive about the wellness program, use this as an opportunity to move into a discussion about the benefits of a wellness program. Patience is key.
The largest majority of leaders fall into the neutral category. They may participate in the program, but are looking to move onto something else as quickly as possible. This category of leaders may be more open to listening to the benefits of the wellness program. Strategy: Use case studies, employee testimonies, and statistics to help educate them on the benefits.
Leaders who fall into this category, (the second largest category with 30%) tend to participate in the programs, but do not actively advocate or promote the program to others. Strategy: This group does not need additional education, but may need a bit of motivation. At the next wellness event, have a wellness champion partner up with the leader. The wellness champion’s enthusiasm and passion may rub off on the leader.
Leaders who are wellness champions not only participate in the program but also show their belief in the power of wellness by their verbal support. Strategy: Your best strategy is to acknowledge and show gratitude toward this type of leader.
Ready for a wellness revolution?
Once you have a better understanding of this continuum, knowing that a leader who undergoes just a 5% shift along this continuum can result in a wellness revolution for your company! Check out AdvantageHealth’s CONSULTING SERVICES for additional expertise with this area or CONTACT AdvantageHealth.
Kristine Keykal, Co-Founder & CEO of AdvantageHealth, has been helping businesses create custom, award-winning corporate wellness programs for over 20 years.