Healthcare and wellness are not just added perks, today they are the perks to have. With the COVID-19 pandemic likely to continue for a year or more, healthcare is now critical for employees and job seekers. However, it’s not enough to just provide a group health insurance plan. That’s where a Chief Wellness Officer comes in.
Spurred by the rising mental health issues and an increase in lifestyle disease, some companies have turned to a Chief Wellness Officer (CWO) to help. But who exactly is a CWO? What is the person’s role? If you are an SME or start-up, it’s vital you know. Having a CWO in your organization could make a big difference.
That’s where this blog comes in. We have got all that info for you, so you know why it matters.
Who is a Chief Wellness Officer?
Like a Chief Executive Officer or Financial Officer, a Chief Wellness Officer is an executive role within a company. The CWO is primarily in charge of health and wellness of the company’s employees. The person can either be a specially-trained HR manager or a medical professional. Either way, it is vital that this person has some medical knowledge.
The CWO is in charge of developing the best business health plans possible so that the employees have access to quality healthcare. That could mean identifying employee health insurance plans or building wellness membership plans to suit the organization’s needs.
The CWO is also in charge of identifying employee burnout, and incorporating changes to address it. In some companies, the CWO can also act as a therapist of sorts, if the person holds an appropriate medical degree.
It is important to remember that the role of a CWO is very different from HR. Here are a few reasons why:
- HR will focus more on an employee’s professional skills and performance, while a Chief Wellness Officer will look more at personal performance and motivation.
- HR has very limited contact with the employee, and usually it is a one-way relationship. CWOs approach and can be approached on a regular basis.
- CWOs tend to have more in-depth medical knowledge, so that they can handle issues like burnout, stress and demotivation.
Key Roles of a Chief Wellness Officer
Ensure Employee Wellbeing
The primary role of a CWO is to look after employee wellbeing. The CWO will analyse, and make changes to corporate working policies so that employees don’t suffer burnout. That means looking at emotional, social, physical and financial wellbeing. Their primary goal is to ensure all of the employees are happy and healthy, and if not, find ways to make sure they are.
Analyse the Employee Experience
In order to fully understand employee wellbeing, the Chief Wellness Officer needs to understand the employee experience. So, he/she works across the organisation to talk to employees and identify issues. That means looking at existing wellness programs, and identifying issues and solutions. It can also extend to employee benefits, office culture and the physical office itself.
Creating a Human-Centric Culture
Company culture matters, and it is vital to have a human-centric culture. A human-centric culture makes the company a better place to work. That’s why CWOs work with HRs to create policies and programs that puts the employee first. That could be increasing paid time off, creating guidelines for managers or even running happy hours.
Make Employees Feel Valued
For any business, it is the employee that is central to success. That’s why it is important to ensure that they feel valued and cared for. A Chief Wellness Officer facilitates that, either with one-on-one sessions, or through a culture of recognition. CWOs listen to employees more like a friend than a colleague, to help build a caring work environment.
Balance Professional and Personal Lives
With remote working becoming the norm, maintaining a work-life balance seems difficult. That’s where a CWO comes in. The person works with employees to look at working hours and flexibility to ensure that the employee has time off. It helps employees build a responsible flexible working schedule, where the company’s goals are met but not at the cost of the employee’s health.
If you want to make your company an attractive place to work, then it is worth thinking about hiring a Chief Wellness Officer. As an SME or start-up, it can define your company culture for years to come. When you do, the first thing you need to look at is your existing employee healthcare benefits. Make sure that they are apt for your current situation.
If not, it’s time to think about changing. Why not invest in an employee healthcare benefits package like TeamSure by Onsurity? TeamSure is not just more economical, but also the smarter way to provide employee health benefits. Onsurity takes employee healthcare seriously, which is why we have built a platform dedicated for SMEs and start-ups.