This weekend over 200,000 people across the 5 continents of the world will be descending on their local parks to take part in the annual Darkness Into Light walk. Events kick off at 4.15am this Saturday May 11th and it is no exaggeration to say that Darkness Into Light is now a global movement. It is phenomenal to think that this event began with a mere 400 people in Dublin’s Phoenix Park in 2009 for the inaugural 5km walk to raise money for Pieta House. The event has gone from strength to strength, with over 20 million euro raised for vital services since 2009.
Darkness Into Light is not just a 5km stroll or jog around the park. It is much more than that. It allows anyone to be part of a positive movement and show support to those in their community in a way that makes in impact.
For me, the year on year increase in participant numbers really demonstrates the power of everyday people and their ability to positively influence their friends, family and those in their community to be part of something great.
When it comes to workplace wellbeing programs, the principle of the power of the people can be just as impactful!
I am often asked what makes a wellbeing program successful and sustainable in an organisation ...
Without doubt every organisation is different. What may land with one, may not work for another, and there are many factors required to embed a successful wellbeing program into an organisation. However, one element for me that transcends industry or demographic, that can really make a wellbeing program part of day-to-day life in an organisation is, its people.
If people are an organisation’s greatest asset, they are 100% the heart, soul, drivers and animators when it comes to introducing and sustaining a wellbeing program.
The concept of having specialist interest groups to guide programs in an organisation is not ground-breaking. Steering committees are commonplace across many different areas such as CSR, diversity and inclusion, and wellbeing. Why is this important to have a group of interested peeps? These interested peeps or what we like to call Ambassadors, know their people! They know what works, what doesn’t and what’s happening on the ground.
When it comes to wellbeing, here are our key learnings around harnessing the power of a group of Wellbeing Ambassadors to drive a cracking wellbeing programme:
Who are the Ambassadors?
In my experience, there are a few types of people who are important to include as Wellbeing Ambassadors.
The influencers: The phrase might be a little overused at the moment in a social media setting but you want ‘influencers’ in the mix here! These are the people who others look to for cues on whether the latest [topic] in an organisation is important, fun or worthwhile.
The passionate peeps: We’re talking here about those naturally ‘into’ the area of wellbeing. Rather than tapping people on the shoulder, to fill this category you want volunteers. Yes, you might know that Tom in Finance runs ultra marathons, but do you know that Sarah in the Warehouse has a daily mindfulness and gratitude practice or that Simon in HR has totally transformed his thinking around nutrition and that they would relish the chance to be part of shaping the programme? We have found over time that there are so many people in organisations that are just waiting for the permission to show their passion for wellbeing and it can often add a new dimension to someone’s work-life.
The people leaders: As much as your group of Ambassadors might be on board, they need support to keep wellbeing on the agenda, to ensure they are being heard and to give the role meaning. That’s where the people leaders come in. At PepTalk, we work to have People Leader Ambassadors across organisation and provide them with tools to make it easy to integrate wellbeing into the daily work lives of their teams.
What’s important to us in our Ambassador group, and what might surprise you, is that for all of the above, we don’t look for total fitness freaks, meditation gurus or nutritional nuts! Our PepTalk Ambassadors are regular peeps who believe that wellbeing is important for themselves and for their colleagues.
What is the Role of an Ambassador?
The role of an Ambassador is a coveted part of a person’s standing in the organisation. An Ambassador is a member of an exclusive club of people who can develop, influence and shape the culture of their organisation.
An Ambassador promotes wellbeing programs by walking-the-walk. That can be things as simple as chatting about the program with the team at lunch, when grabbing a grabbing coffee or by lending a helping hand to someone that is struggling to get involved!
Ambassadors help to shape wellbeing programs by connecting the feedback on the ground to those that coordinate the programs. Feedback is honest, constructive and regular.
When it comes to Ambassadors in people leader roles, they are key to putting and keeping wellbeing on the agenda. They can make wellbeing a standing item in team huddles/meetings. Where the floor is opened up to chat about the program and topics, the impact can be truly transformational for the team.
What’s in it for the Ambassadors and for your Organisation?
Ambassadors become part of an exclusive club and often this gives peeps a new sense of purpose at work. Being given the permission to influence the wellbeing of an organisation can often bring out another side to people that they may not have shared in the work environment previously. Ambassadors are also likely to have a positive impact on their colleagues. According to IBEC research published in 2018, 45% of employees are influenced by the lifestyle of their colleagues when it comes to their own lifestyle choices.
An Ambassador program can put really put wellbeing front and centre in an organisation. This group have the power to make wellbeing part of the agenda at all levels and central to day-to-day life. Regular wellbeing related slots on the agenda can be influential in driving awareness and creating that human to human connection. It can also create an open environment where there is a nice balance between those authentic human to human conversations and having a bit of craic. Selecting the right group of individuals can make all the difference to drive energy and momentum in a program over the long term. Providing the tools, structure, and reward to this group can provide serious bang for your buck. Power to the people!
Over the next few months we will be introducing some of our PepTalk Ambassadors and sharing their journey when it comes to embedding wellbeing in their organisation!
If you would like to learn more or find out where the nearest Darkness Into Light event is taking place near you just click here.
operations overlord @ PepTalk
Let's make work better …
At PepTalk, engagement is at the heart of all our wellbeing platform. Our platform is about energy, passion and fun while being grounded in key business outcomes. To find out more about this area and our wider PepTalk offering book a demonstration at www.peptalk.ie or email firstname.lastname@example.org