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Strike While the Iron is Hot

BY: Lori Thomas // Member Education Manager • WELCOA

Since the onset of the pandemic, employee health and well-being have quickly shifted to the foreground in the minds of business leaders. Now more than ever, our leaders are listening to guidance on how to create safe and healthy workplace environments, and cultures for employees. So how do we capitalize on their attention? How do we talk to our leaders about wellness right now? Here are three ways to strike while the iron is hot.

1. Position yourself as a partner.

We often rely on key leaders to make final decisions in our organization. Decision making becomes significantly more demanding when stress levels are increased and clear information is hard to come by. Part of getting leadership buy-in during this difficult time is to help them gain clarity, and alleviate some of the pressure. If you find yourself in a situation where your leader may be struggling to make a decision, consider these assertive responses:
  • “I know you are very concerned about the health of our employees, here are the three major initiatives we are engaging in to maintain employee well-being at this time.”
  • “I can imagine you are very busy, unless I hear otherwise by [insert date], I will move forward with the plan outlined.”
  • “I want to assure you that I have performed my due diligence in this matter and crafted a solid plan. I am comfortable executing it with your approval.”

This is an opportune time to position yourself as a key partner to your leadership so they will continue looking to you for answers as the climate for employee wellness evolves. The Health Promotion Professional Toolkit (Toolkit 1) that we created for you includes more on these strategies, plus 10 modules covering things like communication tactics, stress care, self-care, resources for managers to support their teams, trust, and more.

2. Help leaders understand what is at stake.

There are many pitfalls that organizations are navigating when it comes to employee health and engagement during this time. Remind leaders, companies that prioritize well-being are going to win—from maintaining engagement to managing the company’s brand. Potential disasters include a COVID outbreak due to mismanagement of employee safety protocols. These potential disasters could also be cultural, like unclear norms or expectations, weak or toxic middle management, or over-screening and monitoring of remote work. Even if these pitfalls do not become public to erode your brand or ability to recruit top talent, the erosion of trust will have serious consequences for months and years to come. Your message to leaders is that, as a worksite wellness professional, you have been training for this day and you know what to do.

Need support for what those next steps are? WELCOA’s COVID-19 Remote Work Toolkits are filled with resources to help guide you in a remote work environment. If you have already, or plan to return to the physical work environment, our COVID-19 Return to Work Toolkit 3 provides 10 employer-facing resources focusing on reshaping culture, creating and strengthening unity, evolution of workplace wellness strategies, and managing fear, stigma, and intolerance among others.

We also created some employee-facing materials you can distribute to help employees feel cared for. The COVID-19 Employee Education Toolkit (Toolkit 2) has 20 resources designed for you to share content directly with your employees on topics including managing anxiety, finding balance, managing expectations, medical consumerism during a pandemic, mindful mini breaks and more. Toolkit 4 is an employee education packet covering items such as self-care practices to improve well-being, effective interaction with others, staying healthy in this new environment, and handling change with ease.

3. Get leaders visioning for workplace wellness.

Right now, your leaders are asking a great deal of questions about how to help employees during this difficult time. Tap into their creative visioning and use it as an opportunity to formulate the best-fit well-being strategy that will integrate with the overall organizational strategy. Get to know how your leaders value workplace wellness with these resources from the Benchmark 1 Toolkit.

Be prepared to listen during the conversations sparked and use what you learn to provide the best value story and well-being strategy for your organization. WELCOA’s Definition of Wellness and the WELCOA Well Workplace 7 Benchmarks are great resources for developing your strategy annually, and fully integrating well-being into the core of the organization.

In a world where employees are navigating a global pandemic, racial injustices, and political divide, workplace well-being plays a critical role. If your leaders are listening now more than ever, take advantage and step up as a leader yourself. Apart from the resources listed in this blog, check out these additional WELCOA resources we have created to help you do just that.

Lori Thomas
Lori Thomas // Member Education Manager • WELCOA

Lori brings a unique level of expertise and perspective with a diverse background in wellness, workplace culture, and employee experience. She is a compassionate and driven woman who has a passion for helping others and radiates positivity. As WELCOA’s Member Education Manager, she provides creative insight to enhancing the member experience.