Barbra Fagan, Froedtert Health’s Director of Health Promotion Services, doesn’t like sitting around. She’s read all the studies about the dangers of sitting, and she’s quick to share that information with Wisconsin-area employers. But her passion for wellness and a healthy lifestyle extend far beyond being a wellness coordinator. Wellness coordinators and advocates like Fagan are essential to managing a successful wellness program in any industry.
Last year, Fagan completed a 100-mile race. She’s finished 12 Ironman Triathlons that require swimming 2.4 miles, biking 112 miles, and running 26.2 miles. And in her 25-plus years as a health educator and wellness professional, she’s competed in hundreds of athletic events.
“I’m an advocate, to put it lightly,” says Fagan. “I really believe in what I do. Anytime I can get someone else to be more active, it’s exciting. But you don’t need to run marathons. Most people just need to move more and get more physical activity to be healthy.”
Fagan is one of several employees at Froedtert Health, a Wellsource client since 1997, who are part of the healthcare system’s wellness team. They’ve helped thousands of people reduce their health risk factors and control healthcare costs for their own staff and employers in their area.
Wellness coordinators and advocates like Fagan are essential to managing a successful wellness program in any industry. When a participant receives the right resources and motivation to make healthy lifestyle choices, wellness happens. And over time, the long-term results are just what every organization wants: lower health claims, reduced absenteeism, and increased productivity.
Here are three ways to make the most of your role as a wellness coordinator and inspire positive changes:
- Keep your participants informed. Include information about your wellness program in newsletters, mass emails, social media, posters, and bulletin boards. Publicize success stories, management involvement, competitions, and incentives. Distribute health education material regularly and use technology to help you reach the most people as often as possible.
- Make personal contacts. In most organizations, there’s no way you can call every employee. But you can easily check up on a handful of people that you meet as you make the rounds with wellness participants throughout the year. Pick up the phone or send a personal email. Ask participants about their progress. Find out what's been working and what they may be struggling with. Offer praise and encouragement. Make phone calls to non-participants, too, and invite them to join the wellness program.
- Stay positive. Not everyone in your organization will be ready to join the wellness program right away. Others may enroll, but may not adopt healthier lifestyle habits immediately. Don't give up. Keep making contact with participants and non-participants to share success stories, and talk about the benefits of the wellness program. Always be positive. You never know when a little encouragement might motivate someone to change.