EWSNetwork is celebrating 16 years! 

As I look back on what we’ve been able to accomplish with the support of our employees, coaches, clients, and partners, I realize how important it is to take time to remember the journey.  I have been reflecting on the things I’ve loved most about the last 16 years and how they have been able to foster the creation of healthy workplaces for thousands of employees.  This is what I’ve learned…

Teamwork is everything.

At EWSNetwork, we have the best team – hands down!  While I share this because I want to acknowledge the amazing group of people that make up our team, it’s also to emphasize the importance of relationships in the workplace.  Wellness is not a one-man-show.  You need the participation and cooperation of everyone within the organization to allow wellness to become part of the very DNA of your company.  Establishing an environment and culture of health and wellness requires teamwork from leadership, middle management, champions, community partners, co-workers, and even families.

Some of the amazing EWSNetwork Team

(Heather Barrett, Erin McClintock, Vanessa Case, Meaghan Jansen, Leah Staff, Karen Kelly, Beth Dawkins)

You need wellness champions and health coaches.

In the administration of your wellness program, wellness champions and health coaches are key players.  Wellness champions are the link between the program you’ve spent time and resources building and the employees you want to reach.  They support the wellness culture and are vital to encouraging participation and engagement.  Our network of wellness champions has helped us on our mission to create some fantastic workplace wellness designs, and companies that have champions in place have realized the vital role they play in reaching their wellness goals.

For us, our health coaches are the “boots on the ground.”  They are the face of our company at client sites and influence, guide, and support employees on their health and wellness journeys.  They allow companies to provide employees with ongoing support for changes they would like to make and specific goals they have.  Their expertise and the relationships they form are extremely valuable and support the overall success of corporate wellness programs. Our health coaches are the BEST!

EWSNetwork Health Coach, Erin McClintock

Success hinges on leadership support.

Building on the value of teamwork, leadership support is perhaps the single best indicator of success when it comes to workplace wellness.  It’s not to say that you can’t have some positive wins without your CEO and c-level executives waving the wellness flag, but if you do, you’ll be much more likely to reach your full potential.

In the words of Brian Aalbers, VP Human Resources at Libro Credit Union (one of our amazing clients with a thriving wellness program), “leadership support is always going to be more important than what’s found in an employee manual… it comes down to leadership actions and leadership behaviours.” (You can read more about Libro’s program and our conversation with Brian here.)

Plank battle with Middlesex-London Health Unit Medical Officer of Health and CEO, Dr. Chris Mackie

Never underestimate the impact of your efforts.

We are passionate about helping people make healthy changes in their lives.  As wellness leaders, it is our responsibility to lead the way and demonstrate the value and importance of investing in our health.  Conversations about wellness program success often focus measurements on ROI and savings, but doing so can leave you underwhelmed.  It also means you’re missing the point.  Measuring the real impact of your wellness program means looking at your employees and taking note of changes in behaviour, attitude and mindset.  No, you likely won’t convince every single employee to join a running group, take up yoga, or swap their morning latte for a green smoothie, but every employee you do inspires is a success story.

Bringing health awareness to the forefront, means you are taking a preventative and proactive approach.  You share information and resources, you provide employees with insight and support, so they can make healthy choices to avoid illness and disease.  When they buy into wellness, even in the smallest way, positive change happens.  So the Lineman who stopped smoking, the Customer Service Rep who started taking the stairs everyday, and the Executive Assistant who now refills her water bottle 6 times a day may have your wellness program to thank.  Every little change a person makes for the better is something to celebrate.  We love hearing how people’s lives have been transformed because of our services and the hard work our clients have put in to building quality programs.  (Check out our newest video showcasing some of the amazing results experienced by our clients and their employees here.)

Libro Credit Union practicing what they preach – take stretch breaks!

Remember the importance of communication.

Inspiring change isn’t an easy task.  We are creatures of habit and many – perhaps most – of us are reluctant to do things differently.  It can be hard, inconvenient, and unappealing.  I mean, who wants to swap the office birthday cupcakes for a yogurt parfait bar?

You need to make discussion of health and wellness commonplace, and you do this by communicating.  Communication means sharing wellness tips, strategies, and insights on healthy living, and sharing this information in ways that ensure it’s accessible to everyone.  It entails establishing a rapport between colleagues and managers so people feel comfortable discussing health-related topics and asking for or offering help when it’s needed.  If you want your wellness program to work, get the conversation going and keep it going.

Healthy Breakfast Event at London Hydro. CEO, Vinay Sharma serving healthy portions!

You need to establish a culture of caring.

How we are treated matters, and when someone does something that helps us, makes us smile, or makes us feel appreciated, we take note.  Wellness works best within an environment that builds and supports a culture a caring.  One where employees matter, not just because they are paid to do a job, but because they are people with goals and challenges, with the potential to be valuable and productive team members, and with families that depend on them.  Fostering happy, engaged and healthy employees is good for them and for the company as a whole.

Designing a wellness program that is based on a culture of caring means adapting program design to the needs and wants of the employees that it’s intended for.  It means cultivating a workplace where everyone celebrates wins together and supports each other during challenges and setbacks.  It’s also one that recognizes that workplace wellness extends beyond the office walls and can impact employees’ loved ones.

We’ve created an infographic to better explain the meaning, benefits and how to create a Culture of Caring.  You can find that here.

EWSNetwork supporting the community

Our mission has been to help, influence, guide and support 1 million employees achieve happy and healthy lives, and the progress that we’ve made over the last 16 years demonstrates that we are well on our way to achieving that.  Thank you to all of our clients and each and every one of their employees for joining EWSNetwork and allowing us to be part of some amazing wellness journeys.

Need some more assistance?

Get your FREE Corporate Wellness Membership 90-Day Starter Kit to get you started!  Employee Wellness Solutions Network can help you create a healthier culture resulting in a more profitable and successful workplace. Our memberships give you access to services including corporate wellness specialists, trainers and health coaches to help you create the best strategy for your organization.  To learn more about the memberships, visit Employee Wellness Solutions Network.