If you want to encourage a healthy lifestyle in your organization, it takes building a culture of wellness. And we can’t overemphasize the importance of management commitment to wellness program success: without the active endorsement and involvement of senior leaders, any wellness initiative will produce mediocre results at best.

Imagine any other key goal or initiative your organization might have: Opening a new plant, introducing a new product, boosting sales by 5% … collectively, your organization would rally to meet the goal. Your vision would be shared and resources allocated; your leadership team would know the goal and would understand the roles and responsibilities associated with reaching the goal. Managers would convey the goal to their teams and rally/motivate team members to work to the goal. You would track progress to achieving the goal.

Working to encourage a healthy lifestyle among your employees and an organizational culture of health, safety and wellness is no different. The management leadership team should:

  • Provide the leadership, vision and inspiration. How does health, wellness & safety tie into to your organizational mission, and why it is important value for your organization
  • Include health, safety & wellness in the core value statement
  • Allocate the budget and resources to support the wellness program
  • Create conditions and policies that will foster success
  • Health, safety & wellness goals should be a written part of the annual goals and a part of any annual and organization-wide meetings
  • Metrics should be in place to track progress to goals
  • Progress should be reported in annual organizational performance statistics
  • Recognition and reward programs should be in place
  • Managers and supervisors should understand their roles and responsibilities, and be trained in any wellness benefits and programs
  • Model the behavior by walking the talk

Workplace policies that encourage healthy lifestyles, a supportive environment that provides opportunities to practice and reinforce healthy behaviors, a safe working environment free of workplace hazards, and a strong employee leadership network to manage the program. Creating and implementing these types of policies and environmental supports in the organization necessarily requires leadership from senior managers and strong cross-functional collaboration outside of the traditional structures for workplace health, safety, and wellness.”  Source: Model Wellness Guide, Massachusetts Department of Public

Supervisors and managers are the front line connection to the work force and should be champions, facilitors and leaders of the wellness program. They should be trained and given the tools for successfully helping their teams to achieve success.

  • Understand the benefit and become conversant in promoting it
  • Be thoroughly aware of available wellness resources, schedules, events and promos
  • Start meetings with brief health, wellness & safety themes
  • Build in/encourage short wellness breaks for standing, stretching, office walk-abouts, etc.
  • Participate in the program. Show up. Walk the talk.
  • Model healthy behaviors by holding walking meetings, sharing stress management tips, having healthy snacks at meetings
  • Talk it up. Watch for appropriate opportunities to make referrals to the wellness program

For more tips on how management can encourage a healthy lifestyle in your organization, see our tools & resources in our Wellness Program Insights series.


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