One of the first steps in undertaking a wellness initiative in the workplace is the identification of a Sponsor. The Wellness Sponsor is a member of the executive leadership team. The Wellness Sponsor is the visible figurehead and the voice that communicates the initiative to your organization. Additionally, the Wellness Sponsor promotes and models the vision and mission within your organization. The Wellness Sponsor appoints the people who will be responsible for your wellness program development and assures that the resources are available for them. Together with the Wellness Champion and Wellness Committee, the Sponsor develops the vision for your organization’s wellness initiative.
Why start there, you may ask?
Without the support of senior leadership, it will be hard to create a workplace culture that supports employee health and well-being. The Sponsor helps deliver the message of the importance of the wellness initiative to the organization, and how it fits with the business vision and priorities. Additionally, the Sponsor ensures that the resources, such as budget, people’s time, facilities, are all available. The Sponsor also shows support for the wellness initiative by being a role model. They don’t have to be perfect, they just have to show they are trying.
Leaders leading the way
Having a Sponsor as the visible leader and spokesperson for the wellness initiative can translate into increased employee participation. In research conducted by the Health Enhancement Research Organization, they found that organizations in which senior leaders had active roles in the employee health management program had higher participation rates on health assessment surveys (57%) compared with organizations that didn’t have strong leadership support (41%).
Increasingly, executives understand the relationship between employee health and business health. When employees are healthy, they are more engaged, productive and committed to the vision of the organization. Engage your Sponsor to help create the vision of a culture of health in your workplace.