Don’t Play It Safe: 4 Moves Wellness Managers Should Make in 2023

2-minute read

Not a week has gone by in the new year when we haven’t heard about another big tech firm laying off hundreds or thousands of employees. It’s enough to make a wellness manager jittery.

In troubled moments it’s easy to adopt a bunker mentality: laying low until the rough patch passes, hoping just to make it. Honest self-appraisal is difficult when you’re in survival mode. You’re worried about all that could go wrong instead of exploring opportunities and dreaming of breakthroughs.

But hunkering down and simply trying to hang on is probably the worst strategy for your program and career. You risk irrelevance by taking cover or playing it safe at any time, but especially during challenging periods.

Looked at another way, making bold moves that produce results during the worst of times can set you up as part of the long-term solution. You have the chance — maybe more so than at any other time in your career — to emerge as a leader. And your wellness program can solidify its position as central to the organization’s culture.

What to Do

The fundamental question is: Am I working on things that matter? It gets to the heart of whether you’re rearranging the deck chairs while the ship is sinking or investing your energy in activities that contribute to sustainable health improvement.

How do you know if you’re working on things that matter? Here are 4 signs you’re on the right track:

  1. You’ve set BIG, bold goals. If you can go through the motions and knock them off without breaking a sweat, they’re really not goals at all, just to-dos. If your goals don’t scare you a bit, they’re not big enough.
  2. You’re investing in personal development. One of the first things cut during a budget crunch is training. Yet now, more than ever, a systematic assessment of team as well as individual training needs, and a plan, are vital. Fortunately, technology allows low-cost training right from your desktop or mobile device.
  3. You’re spending time promoting, implementing, and evaluating, not developing. In almost all circumstances it makes more sense to use a product or service on the market than to develop it from scratch. You need to focus on recruiting more participants, engaging them in more services, and evaluating results more thoroughly for the biggest payoff.
  4. You’re concentrating on growth. Whether it’s participating in defined wellness initiatives or partnering with other functions — food service, safety, work/life, medical, etc. — growth should be a top metric.

 Get to work on the things that matter — so you can grow as a leader, shepherd your team through the storm, and deliver services that make a difference for your employees.


Dean WitherspoonDean Witherspoon
Chief collaborator, nudger, tinkerer; leads the most inventive team creating well-being and sustainable living programs. Reach out if you’d like to talk about employee well-being, emotional fitness, or eco-friendly living.