Leadership Spotlight: Deb Knopp and organizational wellness

Deb Knopp is the HR Coordinator for Pacific Community Resources Society (PCRS). She is one of the many Leadership 2020 participants that have applied the program’s teachings to the day-to-day work at their organization.

One of the key values shared by everyone at PCRS is wellbeing. All staff members are encouraged to support the health, growth, and wellness of the people they serve, each other, and their families. It should be no surprise that an organization whose mission is to inspire healthy and inclusive communities through leadership and collaboration would put such a focus on wellbeing. Healthy, happy organizations require healthy, happy employees. So as soon as Deb finished her Leadership 2020 program, she helped establish a PCRS Wellness Committee.

“Collaborative, compassionate leadership and the need to support each other in our growth through mentorship and coaching— that was the biggest takeaway for me,” Deb explains. “Empowering individuals to take ‘leadership’ for their personal health and wellness, I believe, is the foundation to enjoying our work and our lives.”

Thanks in part to Leadership 2020, Deb knew that such a program would not function without the shared input from others. As such, the PCRS Wellness Committee includes leaders from all levels of the organization as well as external stakeholders that share the group’s values. This wasn’t easy. The agency has multiple locations spread throughout the lower mainland. Connecting, resourcing, and supporting each other was a challenge.

How did they do it? Deb and her team established Wellness ‘Champions’ from each PCRS program and in each location. These Champions promote PCRS wellness initiatives and connect regularly to develop ideas that support their health and wellness goals. In addition, other employees are offered leadership opportunities and encouraged to ‘champion’ their own wellbeing ideas. This model not only informs but also engages those that would have otherwise been less interested in personal wellness. 

For now, the Wellness Committee is focusing on things like physical fitness, mental health, engagement, and job satisfaction. Ultimately, their goal is to inspire staff to discover and become their best self—both at work and in their personal lives. From an organizational perspective, the hope is that this will help to reduce absenteeism, decrease employee turnover, and increase employee job satisfaction.

“We hope to keep capturing creative initiatives that speak to what ‘wellness’ means to each and every staff member,” says Deb. “We want this to be an agency where staff are happy and productive and take personal responsibility for their health and wellness. I think this is going to be a key factor in attracting and retaining great people.”