In this article we look at ways to improve employee wellbeing. We will also discuss how investing in the wellbeing of your organisation pays dividends.
Calling upon the information found in our research and the ‘We invest in wellbeing‘ framework. This article will help you get started on your journey towards an improved wellbeing strategy, starting with these tips.
Tip 1 – Consider that there are different areas of wellbeing
Our research has concluded there to be 3 different areas which includes social, physical and psychological. So when putting together your wellbeing strategy becoming familiar with this concept is a good place to start.
Social wellbeing – refers to reward and recognition, employee voice, inclusion, diversity, community
activities and family-friendly policies. Is there a culture of team work, trust and
respect? Is the workplace inclusive?
Physical wellbeing – refers to physical activity, nutrition, musculoskeletal and environmental factors.
From staying in shape to keeping illness at bay, physical health can have a big
impact on how well people can work.
Psychological wellbeing – refers to mental health, sleep, rest, or financial wellbeing. It’s important that people are able to be open about their own experiences with mental health. Feel comfortable to speak up when they disagree with the boss. And that there are programmes available to support them when these things are hard.
Consulting staff will provide you with the right queues and ideas to design the best ways of supporting them. Collecting data across the board should be always a priority when implementing a workplace wellbeing strategy.
Social wellbeing: careful office design, choirs, voluntary work/fund raising, working groups, social activities, cross-communities interaction, culture differences celebration.
Physical Wellbeing: (also benefits mental resilience) Health assessments, medical insurance and health care cash plans, running clubs, discounts on gym membership, smoking cessation, dietary changes in canteens, physiotherapy, Pilates, reflexology, challenges, fit bits, standing desks.
Psychological wellbeing: Prevention and management Stress audits, counselling, meditation, yoga, stress management, mental health first aid training, resilience training, EAP, work life balance policies, financial advisory plans.
Tip 2 – Look at some of the key wellbeing drivers
- Leadership involvement – For a wellbeing strategy to work, it’s very important that there is involvement from all the vertical structures within the organisation to ensure the message spreads across all people. A culture of openness helps a lot with this too.
- Employee control over their work and decision making.
- Values that support an inclusive, supportive, interesting work environment
- Consistent and effective line management practice that actively supports the wellbeing of staff.
- People believing there is a higher purpose to the organisation with an understanding of how they can contribute to this
- People undertaking the learning and development they need to achieve job satisfaction
- Flexibility within the working environment to increase people’s sense of control allowing them to improve their work-life balance
- A focus on minimising and managing stress and improving mental health at work as these are leading causes of sickness absence
- Support to participate in wellbeing related activities and time to do it!
- A focus in diversion and integration as well as encouragement in team communication and participation
Tip 3 – Evaluate the financial return
When making decisions about whether to do anything motivation always comes from looking at the potential benefits.
How will your organisation benefit financially from the wellbeing strategy you create.
If UK organisations were able to reduce the scale of these problems that would be a great start…
Million work days lost to mental health related issues
billion pounds is what poor mental health could be costing the UK
Tip 4 – Identify the causes of stress and poor employee mental wellbeing
Because stress is endemic across the UK workforce, it’s important for employers to understand which factors contribute most to their workers feeling this way. Our survey, found that the greatest pressure felt by workers was workload. 40% claim that having too much on their agenda resulted in stress. The survey also revealed that a significant proportion of the labour market would feel that their mental health would be better supported at work if their organisation were to provide more training for line managers.
of workers would rather have a comprehensive healthcare package than a 3% pay rise
of employees would rather have a trustworthy manager than a 3% pay rise
20% would rather have support for their mental health at work than a 3% pay rise
of workers have considered leaving their current job due to stress.
Tip 5 – Identify the strategic goals for your plan
Here are some examples –
- Desire to be an Employer of Choice – wellbeing can be a differentiator and help to recruit and retain talent
- Ensuring people can perform at their best at a sustained level – providing good leadership and support, empowerment and appropriate development
- Compliance and risk management – carrying out an organisational duty of care – this includes compliance with Health and Safety legislation
- Minimising absence and driving up productivity – considering aspects such as effective management, levels of autonomy and clear performance targets
- Creating a positive culture of health and wellbeing – This should be fully embedded with the business strategy and underpinned by the organisational values
- Reducing the costs of ill health provision – focusing on effective management of sickness and absence, recruitment costs associated with high levels of attrition etc.
Tip 6 – Follow these stages to develop your employee wellbeing strategy
- Determine the needs of your employees.
- Agree the priorities, objectives and resources.
- Identify the stakeholders.
- Agree a programme of support and activities.
- Communicate and manage the programme.
- Monitor, assess the results and identify improvements.
Tip 7 – Consider what managers should focus on when implementing it
- Communicating effectively.
- Minimising stress and building resilience.
- Supporting the work life balance of their staff.
- Demonstrating awareness of the issues affecting people’s health and wellbeing.
- Developing an open culture where staff feel able to discuss their problems.
- Learning about mental health enabling them to judge when they need to refer employees to outside help
- Ensuring that they are aware of the wellbeing strategy and encouraging their teams to participate of it
- Prioritising people’s wellbeing above anything else
- Having regular catch-ups dedicated to wellbeing where they can really understand pressing concerns
Tip 8 – Have an assessment to see where you are at
The wellbeing journey starts with the creation of a strategy, but it doesn’t end there.
Investors in people can assess your strategy and help you identify and prioritise the areas that require more attention.
- As you implement your wellbeing strategy you will come across all types of challenges, perhaps one of the most common is to proof or identify a return of investment.
- Wellbeing is about behavioural change and as such proving any benefits directly related to the strategy can be tricky. We can help you as a guide to find out where you are in that journey.
- The accreditation will measure you against a series of topics for each of the three areas of physical, psychological and social wellbeing.
- Having visibility of the progression of your wellbeing journey is a fantastic way to measure success and it provides evidence for the case of wellbeing at work.
- In addition it will help you raise the profile of your organisation with an accreditation recognised across the country and in turn attract new talent.