Social connection is a basic psychological need. We spend roughly half of our waking hours at work, so the culture at our workplace has a dramatic impact on our physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Your program goes a long way to promote a culture of health and positivity among your employees. Building a Champion Network will take program activation and engagement to the next level.
What is a Program Champion Network?
A Program Champion Network is a group of employee volunteers who work together to:
- Promote your program
- Socially connect with others
- Educate co-workers about your program
- Improve workplace culture
Think of your Champion Network as your eyes and ears who help broaden your reach and provide feedback about your program.
Why is a Champion Network important?
Program Champions are crucial to how your program information is communicated and can influence the level of acceptance it receives from employees. When an employee watches a co- worker enthusiastically share their story about how your program has impacted them, it leads to greater program participation and satisfaction.
Your program champions can be the driving force for social connection which not only improves program engagement, but also improves workplace culture.
How do I build a Champion Network?
1. Finalize Program Decisions
There are several decisions you will need to make before you start recruiting your Champions.
- Choose recruitment process
- Decide how many Champions you need
- Develop Champion responsibilities and expectations
- Determine Champion incentives
- Set clearly defined objectives and key results (OKRs) to measure program success
2. Create a Champion Network Program Proposal
Your program proposal will briefly outline your program. Creating a proposal will help you get clear on what you want your Champion Network program to do and help you communicate the program to leadership for buy-in. This proposal will be used to help you with the next step.
3. Secure Leadership Support
Your company leaders are key to driving workplace culture. If the goal is to improve or change company culture, your leaders must emulate the behavior they wish to see in their employees. Leadership must also support program champions since they will be spending work time on Champion responsibilities. Learn more about gaining executive buy-in.
4. Launch program
Launching your program will only take you six weeks from the time you send out the recruiting communications to the day you host the kick-off meeting with your Program Champions.
Congratulations! You have just launched your Champion program!
Managing your Champion Program
The fun begins after you launch your program. This is the time that your Champions are excited about their role in the overall success of your program, so it’s important to capitalize on the momentum.
To ensure program success:
- Hold regularly scheduled meetings. Schedule them in advance for the entire year. Be sure to track meeting attendance.
- Make your Champions visible. Ideas include an email signature badge, giving them a special lanyard, creating a sign for their desk/cubicle, Champion t-shirts, coffee mugs, etc.
- Give Champions homework to do each month.
- Establish reporting metrics to track progress towards program goals.
- Encourage Champions to consider how they can effectively reach out to employees.
- Make it fun!
At the end of the year, it’s fun to celebrate your success and start planning for the next year. You will want to evaluate your Champion network, by assessing which Champions were effective and which did not participate. Then, you will want to reach out to your network, find out who would like to continue to be a Champion for the next year, and recruit new Champions. For more tips on what keeps employees engaged in workplace well-being, check out this blog.
To gain more tips on building a robust Champion Network at your organization, view this video.