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Structuring Committees in the Public Sector

A collaborative team in support of wellness is essential for creating effective strategy and carrying out the organization’s wellness goals for its employees. What role does each committee member have? What departments or employee populations are represented?  How involved are the leaders and decision-makers with the committee?  In our most recent Milwaukee Area Public Sector Roundtable, hosted by The Horton Group, we discussed the unique challenges of wellness committee structure and leadership involvement from the perspective of public employers.

The Roundtable series provide a valuable setting to network and share ideas and tools with like-minded wellness professionals within the same industry. To find more information about our Roundtables and other programs offered through WCWI, click here.

Summary of Key Takeaways from the Group

Common Challenges
  • Employee wellness committees are Human Resource member-heavy and various departments are not well-represented
    • Employee participation of wellness initiatives may be low due to lack of communication, lack of relevance of wellness initiatives, or lack support from department heads
  • Participation as a Wellness Committee member is voluntary with no defined roles
    • This has lead to unreliable involvement and ineffective execution of the wellness strategy
    • Without a strong committee structure, organizational silos can form and make it difficult for communication and collaboration to occur across departments
  • Need buy-in from leadership and department heads to support employees participating in wellness initiatives
Other Suggestions
  • Measuring the committee's effectivenss
    • Perform mid- and end-of-year participation reports of wellness initiatives to identify the gaps of communication among departments (Police, Fire, Utilities, Parks, etc.)
  • Formalize the committee by defining the roles and responsibilities
  • Hold an application process to join the committee
Sample Structure A:

Two levels – A Wellness Board, consisting of department heads and supervisors, lead and communicate the wellness goals and strategy to the Wellness Committee. The Wellness Committee (employee-based) has to make the initiatives happen. This structure gives employees ownership and addresses buy-in and support of leadership.

Sample Structure B:

Incentivized Wellness Committee – A small stipend is offered for being a wellness committee member since duties may fall outside of the individual’s actual job duties. To receive the stipend, the committee member must actively attend committee meetings and participate in company wellness initiatives. This structure ensures that committee members are invested in the wellness program they’re supporting.


Angeline Day, MPH, CHES
Program Manager
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