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Liderando la revolución tecnológica: El impacto de Thoughtworks en Latinoamérica

Wellbeing champions: An essential tool in mental health and wellbeing strategy

We can’t always see the impact of wellbeing champions immediately, but they are always in the background offering support, driving initiatives and being present when you need them most.

In today's world, where we often find ourselves navigating the demands of our work life and personal lives, new challenges and pressures… life can feel overwhelming, so the concept of employee wellbeing has never been more crucial.

A driven, passionate network of wellbeing champions is now a must-have for any successful mental health and wellbeing strategy. In this blog post, I will explore the crucial role wellbeing champions play at Thoughtworks UK, what they do and how you might go about setting up this type of network.

So, what is a wellbeing champion?


A wellbeing champion is someone who is passionate about mental health. The kind of colleague people turn to when they need to talk. They are influencers and agents of cultural change around mental health and wellbeing at Thoughtworks. They also act as connectors between leaders and teams, to understand what changes need to be made.


The role of a wellbeing champion may look and feel different depending on who is in the role and what the environment needs, but there are a few cornerstones that you can expect:


  • Raise awareness of wellbeing activities and initiatives happening


  • Advocate for mental health awareness, breaking down the stigma


  • Be a listener and signpost colleagues to support


  • Be a trustee and demonstrate compassion 


  • Collaborate and communicate with each other and other areas of the business 


Our champions are truly instrumental, they are an ear to the ground, listening, supporting and guiding Thoughtworkers and providing leadership with crucial insights.

So, how do we set up this network? 


Here in the UK, we began our wellbeing champion journey in 2020 with a call to action: asking for volunteers who wanted to shape what this initiative could look like. With many mural boards, Trello lists and ideas later, in 2023 we have a well-established group making a fantastic impact. So, here are some tips for implementing wellbeing champions. 


  • Ensure there is specific champion training available: Passionate people are what you need, but to support them in their journey they need training and support or you end up with a big group of people who want to make a difference but don’t know where to start. The training doesn't need to be complex but can cover topics related to active listening, emotional intelligence, people support and dealing with difficult situations


  • Clearly define the role: Champions need to understand what their role is and, more importantly, what it isn’t. Champions are not expected to be mental health experts or replacements for People/HR teams. They are there to signpost colleagues to support, drive initiatives and highlight opportunities to improve wellbeing or mental health practices that others may miss 


  • Communicate the benefits: It's easy to see the benefits for others, but doing this role also provides incredible development opportunities, both professionally and personally 


  • Recognition: It sounds like a very obvious thing to point out, but this is crucial to maintaining the importance of these roles 


  • Check in with your champs: The amazing people who volunteer for this kind of role are humans too and need the checks and balances, just the same as anyone else, sometimes more. ‘Compassion fatigue’ can happen to folks in supporting roles like these 


  • Just keep going: These kinds of initiatives take constant work and adjustment to the changing needs of the business, the champions and the folks you are supporting. This means the support on offer will also need to vary and your chosen initiatives will fluctuate 


Remember, wellbeing champions don't need to be an expert to lend an ear to colleagues. There can be an overwhelming amount of support available, champions are there to help people navigate it, and the network is there to help you succeed in that too!


Disclaimer: The statements and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the positions of Thoughtworks.

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