School Employee Wellness Series: Identify a leader or leaders

School employees can make a difference in the health of students through leading by example.

A workplace leader or coordinator that focuses on the wellness efforts of a workplace can be key in moving a team of employees forward. The duties of such a leader may include: Overseeing the workplace health program, chairs and regularly convenes the workplace health committee, oversees an annual budget and other duties that may be appropriate and needed by a specific workplace.

In a perfect setting a worksite can designate a paid position that can dedicate time and effort to leading a workplace wellness program but for many sites this is not a current built-in position. A leader can be nominated, appointed or voted for through an election process to determine who may be the best person to provide leadership for a worksite wellness program in a worksite.

A leader does not have to be the one leading all activities and efforts, but the one that may lead the team of health champions who will then influence the other employees to hopefully participate in the events and activities the wellness team provides. The leader does not need to be a fitness and health superstar. The leader does not have to be a person in a position of power. For instance, if the bus driver is super excited, they can be the champion. It doesn’t have to be an administrator or teacher.

There may be a single leader who is the definite choice to lead the worksite health and wellness program. Or, an organization may look for an executive with authority to encourage others in leadership positions. The best worksite health and wellness program leader will be a visible and vocal supporter of worksite policies, systems and activities that encourage healthy behaviors. Organizations with multiple geographic sites may consider having a leader represent each program site.

Once a leader is identified they can then move in the direction of setting up a team of health champions.

Michigan State University Extension recommends resources that can assist in identifying a leader and creating a budget, including:

This article is part three of a series of school employee wellness articles. To access the other article please read School Employee Wellness Series: Assessment of your employees and School Employee Wellness Series: Identify resources that are surrounding you.

A school employee wellness program is vital to create a culture of health where students and employees can thrive. With all challenges, come daily successes in the lives of students and staff. For more information on each topic item please see future news articles on school employee wellness.

Visit http://msue.anr.msu.edu/topic/info/food_health for health and nutrition programs and educational opportunities.

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