What’s the value of having a workplace wellbeing strategy?

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“Good health IS good business.”
– Paul Drechsler, Chairman/CEO, Wates Group Limited

Creating a workplace wellbeing strategy that aligns with your organization’s goals and delivers measurable results can be overwhelming. If you’re feeling unsure where to start or if your current wellbeing initiatives lack cohesion and effectiveness, take a breath and relax.

Employee wellbeing in the workplace has evolved significantly, moving beyond superficial perks like free fruit and gym memberships. Many HR professionals find themselves grappling with the vast scope of employee wellbeing and how to create a comprehensive strategy. You’re not alone in feeling overwhelmed.

It’s important to recognise that a wellbeing strategy doesn’t mean trying to cover every aspect of employee wellbeing all at once, from mental health to diversity and inclusion. Taking a haphazard, ad-hoc approach without measuring return on investment or aligning with business goals is akin to throwing jelly against the wall and hoping it sticks.

However, when done well, a wellbeing strategy can lead to a healthier, happier workforce and a healthier balance sheet. Consider the case of Oracle, which saved over £1 million in sickness absence by implementing resilience training in 2014 – an impressive outcome.

So, what exactly is a workplace wellbeing strategy?

It’s a holistic approach that integrates wellbeing into your organization’s culture, going beyond merely reacting to current challenges and adopting a prevention-over-cure mindset. To be proactive, start by clearly understanding your desired outcomes and purpose. Ask “If this workplace wellbeing strategy were a tremendous success, what would let you know? What tangible results would you see, hear, and experience?”

Let your imagination run wild!. A wellbeing strategy is no longer limited to reducing absence and sickness. Think big and envision a blank canvas. Consider what you want to create and how it aligns with your business objectives. Once your end goal is clear, you can work backwards and identify the necessary steps to achieve your vision.

While HR plays a crucial role in driving workplace wellbeing strategies, we’ve seen different functions take the lead in various organisations. From receptionists being responsible for stress management training to diversity and inclusion specialists spearheading wellbeing initiatives without involving HR, wellbeing seems to lack a consistent home. However, regardless of where it sits, engagement with the CEO, MD, President, and C-suite is vital to success. Leadership involvement ensures clarity on what success looks like and helps tie the strategy to strategic and commercial outcomes.

The value of having a workplace wellbeing strategy is substantial and can be measured through various indicators. By implementing a comprehensive strategy, you can expect to see the following benefits:

  1. Reduced absence and cost of absence: A wellbeing strategy can lead to a decrease in employee absenteeism and the associated financial burden it poses on the organization.
  2. Decreased long-term sick leave: A focus on wellbeing can help reduce the number of employees on long-term sick leave and the duration of their absence, contributing to improved productivity.
  3. Increased employee retention: When employees feel supported and valued through wellbeing initiatives, they are more likely to remain with the organisation, reducing turnover costs.
  4. Fewer health claims on private medical cover: By promoting preventive measures and fostering a culture of wellbeing, you can expect a decrease in health claims and associated costs.
  5. Reduced presenteeism: Presenteeism, where employees are physically present but not fully engaged or productive, can be mitigated through wellbeing initiatives, resulting in increased efficiency and output.

Additionally, a workplace wellbeing strategy can yield the following benefits:

  1. Increased engagement levels: Wellbeing initiatives contribute to higher levels of employee engagement, leading to a more motivated and committed workforce.
  2. Improved customer and client feedback and scores: When employees are well-supported and fulfilled, it positively impacts their interactions with customers and clients, resulting in improved feedback and satisfaction ratings.
  3. Consistent high-performing individuals and teams: A focus on wellbeing can help individuals and teams thrive, resulting in sustained high performance and achievement of organisational goals.
  4. Enhanced creativity and innovation: Employees who are physically and mentally well are more likely to think creatively, generate innovative ideas, and contribute to the organization’s growth and development.
  5. Increased feeling of inclusion and psychological safety: Wellbeing initiatives foster a sense of belonging, inclusivity, and psychological safety, creating a supportive work environment where individuals can thrive.
  6. Reduction in accidents and health and safety issues: By promoting physical and mental wellbeing, organizations can experience a decrease in accidents, injuries, and health and safety issues.
  7. Reduction in customer complaints: Well-supported employees who are thriving in their work are more likely to provide exceptional customer service, leading to a decrease in customer complaints.
  8. Increase in sales and profit: A workforce that is physically and mentally well is more likely to perform at their best, resulting in increased sales and overall profitability for the organization.
  9. Recognition and awards: Organisations with a strong commitment to employee wellbeing often receive recognition and accolades, positioning them as leaders in the industry and an employer of choice.

Regularly reviewing the impact and return on investment of your workplace wellbeing strategy will help you identify areas of success and areas that require adjustments or further investment. This allows for continuous improvement and ensures that your strategy remains effective in meeting the evolving needs of your employees and organisation.

Contact us today to discuss how we can support you in developing a wellbeing strategy that works for your workplace.

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