Peer and leadership support is crucial to the success of implementing any wellness initiative, and middle management is most pivotal. Managers regulate time allocation, resources, and the lens through which their team views wellness. While leadership at the C-suite level plays a vital role in the effectiveness of a wellness program, middle management’s daily interactions and influence is integral to employee engagement levels.

Since frontline leaders work closely with their teams, they understand workloads, stressors, and concerns better than anyone else in the organization. This positions them to build trust with employees as they inject energy when spirits are low, or exude calmness in times of pressure. In this way, middle management’s influence on company culture is immense and impacts the success of new initiatives. Let’s dive into five ways for middle management to champion wellness in their organizations.

Drive Cultural Change

Frontline leaders are in the driver’s seat when it comes to cultural change in an organization. They implement policy and procedures, have a pulse on the morale of the general population, and have insight on the challenges employees face and why.

Cultural change can begin with initiatives as simple as ordering more nutritious options for meetings or encouraging employees to eat lunch away from their desk. It’s management’s responsibility to help a workforce feel comfortable taking more frequent breaks, utilizing PTO, or stepping out for a few hours to attend a child’s event. Frontline leaders have the power to create a culture that values wellness and actively discourages burnout with subtle changes that favor physical, mental, and social well-being.

Discover more on How Corporate Wellness Programs Foster Cultural Change in the Workplace.

Support Wellness Opportunities

How can managers support employee well-being? Eliminate even the slightest obstacles that discourage engagement in wellness offerings. Employees sense when attitudes towards wellness are inauthentic, hesitant, or deprioritized.

Frontline leaders must understand that by supporting the well-being of their teams, they’re supporting their own business goals by creating cohesion and boosting morale and productivity.

Convey Value & Care for Employees

An aspect of middle management’s role is to influence the environment their team operates in. From personal circumstances to team dynamics and workplace stressors, management must be trained to recognize signs of mental distress. With so many hours dedicated to the workplace, offering resources to manage stress not only conveys care for employees, it is simply the right thing for organizations to do.

Frontline leaders also have a unique opportunity to make connections with their teams. The relationship between manager and employee largely impacts employee well-being. Forming connections fosters trust and confidence, helping employees feel comfortable reaching out when they need help or additional support. Management can emphasize successes and be a constant source of guidance for their teams.

Dedicate Time for Wellness

One of the most impactful ways frontline leaders can support employee wellness program objectives is to dedicate time for wellness. This looks different for every organization, so it’s important for management to know how the organization operates and what the employees’ needs and interests are. At Strive, our team often encounters employee populations whose work schedules prevent them from participating in wellness offerings. We administer an employee needs and interest survey for free to find out which offerings employees are interested in, and at what days and times they’re available to join the class or event.

Organizations with hard deadlines or patients with medical needs for example, require wellness offerings to be scheduled on breaks, lunch times, or before/after work for maximum engagement. Companies with more flexibility might have employees who are more likely to participate in wellness initiatives that don’t interfere with their personal time. Middle management has the best pulse on this and can decide whether wellness is prioritized over a deadline, or whether it’s unrealistic to expect full engagement during working hours. These slight implementations can be immediate without C-suite-level approval.

Either way, it’s up to frontline leaders to clear the path for scheduled wellness activities — even if it means turning a weekly meeting into a walking meeting.

Communicate Consistently

It’s largely the responsibility of middle management to effectively communicate the goals and strategy of the wellness program to the employee population. They’ve likely worked closely with leadership to define success metrics and fully understand it as a business strategy. One way to convey leadership support to employees is to encourage email communications or meeting invites to come from or include a wellness champion in the C-suite.

If an organization doesn’t use an outside vendor with a program manager, frontline leaders must ensure policies are received and understood, wellness offerings are clear, and marketing communications are consistent.

Manual registration, event reminders, and communications often become unmanageable at the rate required for maximum employee engagement. Vendors like Strive leverage industry-tested systems, technology, and a built-in program manager to alleviate the administrative burden wellness programs can have on middle management.

Invest in Their Own Wellness

A key factor in championing a culture of wellness is for middle management to walk the talk. Actively participating in program offerings, setting up competitions with other departments, or organizing wellness events demonstrates a personal stake in employee well-being.

Management can set an example by modeling work-life balance, sharing their own experiences with wellness with their teams, or being transparent about wellness goals they’ve set for themselves, encouraging employees to do the same.

Provide Feedback to Stakeholders

Middle management’s unique positioning in the organization allows them to serve as a bridge between employees and C-suite leadership as they collaborate with either side. Their ability to ask for specific feedback from employees is key in supporting the development and ongoing evolvement of the wellness program.

Garnering suggestions for improvement in the workplace is another way to boost employee satisfaction and increase engagement levels in wellness initiatives.

Support Wellness Champions

In the planning stages of a wellness program, wellness champions are identified to promote participation. Wellness champions are volunteers from various roles in an organization that are passionate about wellness and its place in the workspace.

Managers help shape the way a wellness champion perceives their own role by helping to organize meetings, encouraging their teams to engage with what they have to say, and allowing them time to strategize with others dedicated to pushing wellness initiatives forward.

Strive Corporate Wellness Programs

Strive’s corporate wellness programs are fully administered with liability waivers at the click of a button, simple registration, and engagement data collection and analysis that can be leveraged to incentivize, reward, or recognize participants. Each client is assigned an in-house Strive program manager to create marketing communications and monthly reporting, as well as to serve as the point-of-contact for instructors and other wellness staff.

Corporate Wellness Coordinators

For more robust wellness programs or organizations lacking the bandwidth to implement wellness initiatives, Strive can provide a full or part-time wellness coordinator. Wellness coordinators further reduce administrative burden by sending out the communications and surveys Strive provides, collaborating with the client on the wellness program, and auditing staff for quality and up-to-date certifications, among other responsibilities.

Book a discovery call with a Strive wellness expert to explore the possibilities for your organization’s new or existing wellness program.

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