Offering a flexible employee wellness benefits is vital for any forward-thinking business. But corporate benefits are only as good as their engagement levels. If you want your employees to get the most from your wellness scheme, you need to make sure they are using it.

That’s where employee wellness champions can really make a difference.

Benchmark your company with a personalised wellness scorecard – here.

What are employee wellbeing champions?

We all understand that health and wellbeing are measurably linked to desirable outcomes including reduced absenteeism, retention, and productivity. But it can be tricky for employers to encourage positive change in their people, especially when many of those changes are made outside the workplace.

Employee wellness champions bridge the gap between corporate culture and individual behaviour change, offering a more human way for employers to influence personal wellness habits.

How to leverage wellness champions as a catalyst for change

Employee wellness champions should not replace a formal corporate wellness benefit scheme. Instead, use these individuals as motivating examples of how and why others should use the benefits you offer. It might be corporate gym membership, an in-house fitness group, a wellness Slack channel, or regular wellbeing workshops.

Your wellness champions can lead by example, spearhead wellness initiatives, and significantly enhance engagement in health and fitness across the company.

4 ways employee wellness champions increase engagement

Visible examples of change

Offering discounted corporate gym membership is a great start, but real change happens when employees see their peers getting fitter and healthier. Wellness champions are the trail blazers who enthusiastically try out employee benefits and provide real-life examples of what can happen.

Your wellness champions don’t have to be super-fit gym goers. In fact, it’s best if they are relatable individuals who can showcase a range of preventative healthcare benefits, from weight loss and healthier eating to smoking cessation and stress management.

Be sure to support your wellness champions with time, space, and the resources they need to encourage positive change both in and out of the workplace. This might include internal corporate communications, emails, buddy schemes, wellness groups, and special office hours to discuss personal health issues in private.

Peer support for fitness and wellbeing

Issues around personal health and wellbeing are – by definition – “personal”. It’s no surprise that managers and business owners aren’t always the right choice for peer-to-peer conversations about such things.

Wellness champions can be a sensitive and personable choice of individual to encourage engagement with your corporate wellness schemes. In addition to this, wellness champions can remove the pressure from managers and help feed information back to the organisation, so you can fine-tune your employee benefits.

Open dialogue about health issues

Your employee benefits must reflect the real concerns of your workforce, and offer useful tools for their shift patterns, locations, and travel. In order to create a benefits package that meets their needs, you need to continually understand what those needs are.

A peer-led wellness champion structure helps your organisation get a better understanding of the health issues that are important to your workforce (plus when and how they would like to engage with any benefits you offer).

Your wellness champions are on the front line of employee wellbeing, and will hopefully have the ear of the entire organisation. It will be important to navigate issues of confidentiality and trust – you might consider using anecdotal wellbeing feedback as well as statistical data.

Removing barriers to engagement

The biggest challenges of an employee wellness benefit scheme are the inherent barriers to behaviour change. In your efforts to help staff become fitter and healthier, you essentially need them to change lifelong habits around food, sleep, movement, and healthcare, and not just at work. You also need to find ways to encourage behaviour change at home.

Corporate wellness champions can help remove at least one of these barriers, by opening up channels of communication. This will underscore your commitment to employee wellbeing, and act as a consistent motivating force for change.

Every time your wellness champions use flexible hours to visit the gym, take walk breaks outside, or set boundaries around weekend working, they are proving that you as an organisation support these healthy choices.

Wellness champions can create a real change in your corporate culture, towards one of greater empathy, openness, and encouragement where individual and group wellbeing can thrive.

Identifying wellness champions in your workplace

An interest in personal wellness

Wellness champions don’t have to be natural slim or a gifted athlete, but they should have a genuine interest in health and wellness. Whatever their start point, they should demonstrate enthusiasm about improving their own health – and motivating others by leading by example.

Inter-personal skills

Your wellness champions should be approachable, likeable people who communicate well (this includes listening to others). Look for qualities like empathy, enthusiasm, trustworthiness, and a lack of judgement. Good wellness champions will be able to articulate their experiences (ideally in verbal and written formats) and not be afraid of speaking in front of a group.

Diversity and inclusivity

Ideally, your organisation should have more than one wellness champion to represent a diversity of backgrounds, roles, fitness experiences, and health stories. It’s crucial that your employees feel seen, heard, and represented so they can then be inspired to take action.

How to leverage wellness champions to increase engagement

Create a platform for sharing health and fitness stories and encouraging wellness in the workplace. This might be a Slack channel, a blog, newsletter, or private social media space, supported by face-to-face support in the workplace.

Encourage plenty of peer-to-peer support between wellness champions and the rest of the workforce, with formal and informal ways of interacting. These might include wellbeing events, office hours, walking groups, or lunchtime meet ups.

Finally, don’t forget to recognise and reward your wellness champions to thank them for helping you increase engagement across the workplace. This will keep them motivated, and will demonstrate your commitment to employee wellness.

Flexible discounted corporate gym membership for wellness benefits

Your wellness champions will need flexible discounted gym access that helps them encourage others to engage in fitness outside of office hours. Talk to Hussle about our discounted gym access scheme that gives your employees access to 1000s of gyms, leisure centres, and fitness suites across the UK with one simple membership option.

Find out how Hussle can support you in giving the best corporate gym membership in a package that will foster a healthier, more positive workplace culture across your organisation.

Elevate employee wellness with corporate gym membership