What is a chief wellbeing officer and do you need one?

In recent years, we’ve seen a number of new roles added to the C-Suite. This evolution has largely been borne out of necessity. As the world grew more complex and niche, it simply wasn’t possible for a classic C-Suite team to hold deep enough knowledge and expertise in a broad enough set of business areas. It was also important to ensure that all divisions within an organisation had a voice at the table to enable things to run smoothly between departments.

The rise of the Chief Wellbeing Officer or CWO is perceived as a niche or specialist area of HR and there is of course some overlap in terms of people and performance aspects. However, the CWO might be better compared with the CFO because the CWO should be to employees, what the CFO is to money. Their mission is to unleash the full potential of every employee as a contributor to the success of the organisation.

In a business environment in which people are one of the few remaining opportunities to untap some much-needed upside, it is no surprise that the CWO is becoming a more common member of the top table.

𝗧𝗡𝗲 𝗖π—ͺ𝗒 𝗿𝗼𝗹𝗲 π˜€π—΅π—Όπ˜‚π—Ήπ—±:

– Integrate wellbeing as a driver of organisational performance

– Be the Guardian and Champion of the wellbeing vision and mission

– Oversee the creation of the organisation’s short, medium and long-term wellbeing strategy

– Empowers and supports teams and managers to develop their own wellbeing approaches

– Delivers the wellbeing strategy, through a mindset of continuous improvement – Embeds an authentic culture of wellbeing

– Identifies, and reduces or removes wellbeing inhibitors

– Co-creates the physical working environment

– Collects, analyses and acts upon relevant people and wellbeing data – Hires, manages and leads a wellbeing department

– Directs wellbeing service providers and programs of activity – Co-creates the development of strong leadership and management across the org

– Directs the wellbeing communications strategy

– Monitors, measures and reports on wellbeing ROI, VOI and outcomes – Makes regular reports and recommendations to the board

In short, the CWO should be the unleasher of potential.

If your organisation doesn’t yet have room for a CWO, a similar role could be fulfilled by a Wellbeing Director that sits under the CFO, COO or possibly CHRO, but be cautious not to confuse this with a traditional HR role and ensure that the wellbeing professional doesn’t simply become absorbed as another HR headcount fulfilling other HR responsibilities.

Alternatively, you could hire a Wellbeing Consultant (like me!) on a part-time basis, which would be a cost-effective way to get some high-level expertise into your business quickly and really set things up for success. The critical factor is, someone in the organisations (with the right skills, knowledge, influence, and strategic know-how) needs to ensure that wellbeing is always a feature of C-Suite discussions and always included as part of the overall business success strategy. When that happens, there are no losers.

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