The post below is a guest blog from Meaghan Roach who serves as Health Management Specialist for CAI’s employee benefits partner Hill, Chesson & Woody.
According to the Wellness Council of America (WELCOA), gaining executive support for your work site health management initiatives is a crucial first step to a successful program. Leadership support is a significant driver in getting employees to pay attention to and engage in the program. An executive champion serves to communicate the program to the masses, and sets a positive example of the desired healthy behaviors. However, this is often easier said than done.
If you are struggling to get your C-Suite on board with your plans for a health management program, try following these key steps:
- Establish Common Ground. How does the program tie in with your overall business strategy? How can you relate it to the company’s mission and vision statements? The CDC breaks down the reasoning for having a health management program into three key arguments: the Health Care Cost Argument, the Productivity Argument and the Great Please to Work Argument. Consider, for example, that you are part of a small company, thus your medical insurance is community rated. The Health Care Cost Argument may not be as important, but your field may be highly competitive, and being considered a “Best Place to Work” could be key for recruiting top talent. In order to capture the attention of your audience, you must know what issues are important to them and use those to your benefit.
- Understand the Obstacles. Often, members of leadership are dealing with their own health issues, and don’t want to appear hypocritical by pushing a health promotion program on their employees. They may not fully understand how their role fits in to the bigger picture, and what responsibilities fall on them. Be specific with what type of commitment you are requesting from them and what they will need to do to make the program successful.
- Build the skills. Once you have members of leadership on board, it is essential to help them hone their expertise to effectively lead the company’s health management initiatives. The key to effective support is to make the leaders be vocal, visible, and visionary for the program. Get your champions to push out important communication pieces, as well as be present at the events. Additionally, encourage executives to keep an innovate mindset throughout the process. Creative methodologies can help spark employee engagement.
- Respect that it is a Process. While it would be great if the entire C-Suite were committed to being champions of the program after the initial introduction, this is a lofty goal. The truth is: it will take time and perseverance to move their interest to a boiling point. Continue to bring success stories, employee testimonials, and hard data highlighting the progress the program has made. As they begin to see the impact of the program, they will be swayed in the desired direction.
Getting your entire workforce supporting and engaging in your health management program can be tricky, but it is necessary for the success of your plan. If you have more questions about how to obtain leadership support, contact our Health Management team.