Wellbeing in the workplace – Why prevention over cure is essential
Working in the world of HR can be an incredibly rewarding experience. Yet speak to a cross sector of HR professionals and many would speak about the constant fire fighting often involved in the role. One Talent Director recently described working in his organisation as riding a bike down a stair case at speed with no breaks!.
Speaking to you as the Founder of The Mind Solution, I understand. Having spent 12 years working in HR for brands including Virgin Atlantic, British Airways, Carnival UK, De Vere Hotels and the NHS to name a few, there were times I felt that no matter what we did as a team, we were only getting incremental results.
In one particular role as HRBP in the NHS to a division of 2000 employees, I was so bogged down in case management and employee relations issues that trying to create a proactive and positive impact seemed impossible.
Each single month I’d present to the board of directors the results of my KPI’s, namely what I was doing to reduce absence, the cost of absence and improve retention.
Over time I began to dread those meetings. I knew there had to be a better way but I didn’t know what. My team and I ran workshops on how to manage absence for supervisors and managers. We were getting employees referred to occupational health as soon as possible, ensuring return to work interviews were being conducted but each month the figures for absence stayed firmly stuck.
Fast forward a decade and I can see why the HR world, myself included, weren’t getting the results we wanted – we didn’t have a prevention over cure approach.
We were trying to manage mental health and wellbeing issues the wrong way around! I heard a lot about stress and burnout from NHS staff, but we weren’t doing anything to help staff prevent getting stressed in the first place.
You may be reading this and thinking that nothing can prevent stress in an organisation such as the NHS, so I’d love to draw your attention to this with Dr. Giles Croft on how work related stress actually doesn’t exist!
They say knowledge is power and in the case of mental health, giving employees the consistent knowledge and understanding of how to take care of their mental and physical health is crucial, and done well leads to prevention over cure.
I use the term consistent with intent. Many organisations now are doing their best to create a prevention over cure approach to wellbeing in the workplace, but are not getting the results they want to achieve due to a lack of consistency. The human brain needs to hear something between 7 to 15 times to create neural connections that allow us to retain knowledge, which is why stand alone employee wellbeing webinars fail to have the impact needed.
To create an effective prevention over cure approach to wellbeing in the workplace it’s essential that your wellbeing activities, be they physical health, financial wellbeing, diversity and inclusion or mental health are tied to an overall wellbeing strategy. If you don’t have a wellbeing strategy or know how to create one, then check out this video on how to create a wellbeing strategy for your organisation.
Consistency not only creates a strong foundation of knowledge to build on, but it breeds results, as one delegate described from the series of 12 webinars we are running in her organisation;
“Sara is a true gem, a wealth of knowledge and I am so appreciative I was able to take her classes. They have impacted me in a profound way.”
As the saying goes, if you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always got. Therefore don’t follow the masses when it comes to wellbeing in the workplace. Find what works for you. Running a webinar every month may not be feasible for the nature of your organisation. instead you may be better placed with a wellbeing portal that gives your people 24/7 access to videos and techniques to support them and when tied in with a great communication strategy can be a fantastic prevention over cure approach.
There is always a solution, it’s a simple case of finding what works best for you! Need help to develop the perfect prevention over cure strategy? Give us a call!