Yardley, Penn. (July 28, 2015) – The power of social connection is undeniable. From feeding the success of musical artists to crowd-funding campaigns that give small businesses financial support, social connections can be used to accomplish great things. StayWell, a health solutions company and innovator in employee health management programs, unveiled today a downloadable resource for employers that provides guidance on how to harness the power of social connections to improve employee wellness programs.
The guide, “Building a Wellness Champion Network: How to Harness the Power of Social Connections to Create a Lasting Culture of Health,” demonstrates how an effectively designed employee-led wellness champion network can help increase awareness, understanding, participation and the overall success of an employee health and wellness program. A wellness champion network is a group of employees who work together to improve the health and culture of the workplace in conjunction with an employer-sponsored workplace health management program, by socially connecting with others through the program and by helping to educate coworkers about program offerings.
Wellness champion networks capitalize on research that indicates the health status and habits of the people around us influence our own health and behaviors. Perhaps the most prominent research published in recent years are the studies by Nicholas Christakis and James Fowler, which found that people who had an immediate family member or close friend who was obese were 57-percent more likely to become obese themselves, and that people working in small companies were 34-percent more likely to quit smoking if one of their co-workers also quit smoking.
“An employee wellness program will deliver better outcomes if there is widespread buy-in and support for the program at all levels of the company. This is when the program stops being a program and becomes deeply engrained in the company culture,” said Lesley Lesch, senior director of account management, StayWell. “There is a growing interest in wellness champion networks among employers, and this guide provides the direction they need to create a long-lasting culture of health by making champions an integral part of their comprehensive workplace wellness program.”
According to Lesch, 69 percent of StayWell clients have a wellness champion network in place and consider them to be crucial to how wellness program information is communicated and to the level of acceptance the program receives from employees. But wellness champions do far more than simply disseminate program information. That’s why the StayWell guide provides start-to-finish advice on:
- How to effectively design a wellness champion network, including how many champions a company might need, how to identify employees for these positions, and defining the roles and responsibilities of wellness champions
- Policies and infrastructure that support wellness champions and the broader health management program
- Actions that an employer can take to support the efforts of a wellness champion network (StayWell has also created a companion tip sheet that details 10 things an employer can do to ensure the success of their wellness champion network)
- Suggestions for evaluating the efforts of a wellness champion network
“Once a wellness champion network is in place, it’s important to nurture it so the group can effectively support the corporate health initiative,” said Lesch. “Employer leaders need to understand the significance of the social connections within their workforce and use them to create well-informed, engaged and healthy employees.”
StayWell is a health engagement company that helps its clients engage and educate people to improve health and business results. StayWell brings decades of experience working across the health care industry to design solutions that address its clients’ evolving needs. We fuse expertise in health engagement and the science of behavior change with an integrated portfolio of solutions and robust content assets to effectively engage people to make positive health care decisions. StayWell programs have received numerous top industry honors, including the C. Everett Koop National Health Award and the Web Health Award for health engagement programs. StayWell also has received URAC and NCQA accreditation for several of its programs. StayWell is headquartered in Yardley, Pennsylvania, and also has major locations in Salt Lake City, Utah, and St. Paul., Minnesota. To learn more, visit www.staywell.com.
Barbara Tabor, APR