managers workplace wellness

How Managers Can Help Engage Employees in Workplace Wellness

The key role that managers can play to help advance a well-run workplace wellness program is something we’ve recognized. Indeed, integrating manager action can be an important part of program design.

We previously noted a study published in the Journal of Occupational Health Psychology suggests that managers are untapped leaders who want to play a significant role in wellness programming. Sixty-eight percent of participating managers supported the company that involved managers in wellness programming. In fact, managers “actually … indicated that they would leave their current job for an employer that would engage them in a way like we suggested.” The enthusiasm for workplace wellness programs astounded Cornell researchers, indicating that managers want to be part of “something that has a higher calling.”

Yesterday we reported that Gallup makes a related point point: Managers, too, must understand how important their role is.

Writes Gallup: “Because managers play a central role in employees’ professional and overall lives, their dedication to employee well-being initiatives is pivotal for success. However, managers often feel uncomfortable and overwhelmed at the notion of promoting employee well-being — unsure of best practices and resistant to being a ‘life coach.’”

The post continues: “This means that companies need to clearly establish managers’ well-being responsibilities and equip them to own their role in the process. Gallup finds that progressive organizations leverage managers’ influence on employee health, engagement and energy to achieve business outcomes.”

The post provides four pillars that “offer a roadmap for creating an outcome-driving culture of well-being.”

1. Invite: “A culture of well-being is predicated on an open, welcoming atmosphere. Managers should not pressure well-being efforts; rather, they should advocate the importance of a life well-lived and empower employees to enhance their well-being.”

2. Provide: “Though employees are responsible for their actions, the onus is on managers to regularly invite participation and remind employees of the importance of well-being. This means pointing employees to well-being information and opportunities — not striving to be well-being experts or advisers.”

3. Model: “Managers should model well-being to encourage employee participation and buy-in. No well-being strategy — even the most well-developed — can be fully adopted and optimized until managers give employees the go-ahead by illustrating the right behaviors.”

4. Care: “Managers should proactively communicate that they are invested in each employee and genuinely care about each individual’s well-being. Encouraging employees to set well-being goals — and asking about their progress — is one way to show real interest in employees’ well-being.”