THE Well-Being Champion Core Competency, Beyond Measure

Posted by Joel Bennett on

(YOUR ASSOCIATION) NEWS ARTICLE (dated, 2059): The era of job burn-out is officially over. Back in 2020, our professional association (insert yours here) recognized the occupation "Well-being Championship" as an integral part of doing business. Since then, these individuals have role-modeled health and advocated for resilience, healthy teams, healthy leadership, and a positive health culture. As a result, and according to recent international well-being surveys, all occupations have shown significant reductions. It all began when these champions learned their lessons from previously high burn-out occupations (e.g., nurses, social workers, teachers) and they decided to take charge and do things differently.

Wellness Champions: Sustain and Embody Well-Being

There has been recent  growth in the number of workplaces with an employee who serves in the role of wellness coordinator or champion. Sometimes these formalized roles (e.g., in human resources) may include external vendors; other times, employees are informally appointed or self-nominate into the position. Some employers give these champions hours during the week; often, the work is a "behind the scenes" labor of love with no real employer support. Growth in champions represents a tidal shift in how work is viewed in the culture at large. There is growing recognition that external wellness "programs" are limited without an internal embodiment. Day-to-day behavioral demonstration of what it means to have well-being is more powerful than a wellness assessment. Of course,  the formal presence of a wellness program can make their job easier, but wellness "championship" is its own phenomena. These advocates can outlive any program and even determine its success and failure. Within most companies -- small or large -- someone has a passion for well-being, a desire to help, and a hope for the common good. And employers are starting to tap into this wonderful resource.

One Antidote to Burn-out

Most importantly, these champions know that they have to "walk the talk" when it comes to work. It is THEIR JOB to do so! They see that many other allied health positions carry a strong risk for burn-out and say "No Way! Not me!" They know that those who help -- physicians, nurses, teachers, and social workers -- are among those professions most likely to experience burn-out. They pay attention when a national survey of physicians showed that those working in PREVENTIVE and occupational medicine had the lowest level of burn-out. They appreciate efforts in resident training programs to move the conversation from burn-out to wellness. They read about burn-out prevention in popular articles as well as in research and training approaches. They see that it is part of their job to represent health and well-being in a new way that will not lead to exhaustion, compassion fatigue, and dis-engagement.

The Well-Being Champion Core Competency, Beyond Measure

As workplace wellness programs develop they will look to harness the power of their coordinators, health advocates, or champions. In our work at OWLS, we have identified many tasks and competencies of a wellness champion. These include detailed activities like setting up eligibility files, running wellness committees, coordinating campaigns; and also broad skills like gaining leadership buy-in, assessing the work climate and culture. I believe that beyond measure, the most important competency of all is the

protection of their own health and well-being

in such a way that they thrive by doing these other tasks

and without burning-out


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