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

Do you have a workplace wellbeing strategy in place?

Is the workplace wellbeing strategy linked to the organisations goals?

Do you measure the financial return in investment of your wellbeing strategy?

Or do you invest in a bunch of tactics that come under the umbrella of wellbeing such as employee wellbeing webinars and management mental health training?

If you don’t currently have a workplace wellbeing strategy in place, or are investing in some wellbeing activities in the hope you’ll achieve something, relax and take a breath. 

The world of employee wellbeing in the workplace has evolved rapidly from the days of free fruit and subsidised gym memberships and left many HR professionals feeling unsure where to start when it comes to employee wellbeing in the workplace.  So if you feel overwhelmed by the whole topic of employee wellbeing and how to create a workplace wellbeing strategy, you are not alone!

Employee wellbeing in the workplace is a HUGE topic and some HR professionals can be led to believe that they have to cover everything from Mental Health (and where do you start with that?), Management Mental Health Training, Diversity and Inclusion, Suicide Training, Financial Wellbeing Training, Employee Resilience Training  – you name it, in one go.

The danger being that while an organisation may be investing in some brilliant employee wellbeing activities, they are often done on an ad-hoc basis, the return on investment is not being measured and there is no link to the overall business goals.  In other words, throwing jelly against the wall hoping it will stick.

However when done well, there is mounting evidence that having a wellbeing strategy creates both a strong, healthy and happier workforce, but also creates a healthier balance sheet.

On a webinar hosted by HR Zone, a Wellbeing representative from Oracle spoke about how the company had so far saved over £1 million in sickness absence by introducing resilience training in 2014 – impressive!

What is a workplace wellbeing strategy?

A wellbeing strategy may be part of an HR strategy but with a focus on the health and wellbeing of employees.  It is a holistic approach that embeds wellbeing into the overall culture of an organisation.

Wellbeing strategies aren’t about reacting to the current mental health and wellbeing challenges an organisation is facing.  Instead they need to be designed to take a prevention over cure approach.  To take a proactive approach to workplace wellbeing you need to start by understanding what are you aiming to achieve and why.

A great question to ask is ‘If this workplace wellbeing strategy were a huge success of your time, your energy and your money, how would you know? What would you see, what would you hear and what would you experience that lets you know?”

Allow yourself to be creative here.  A wellbeing strategy is no longer about reducing absence and sickness.  Think big – imagine you have a blank canvas – what are do you want to create and how does this tie in wit the business objectives?

Once you have the end goal clear, then you can begin to work backwards and identify the steps needed to achieving your vision and goals.

Who is responsible for Wellbeing in the Workplace?  

HR is key to driving forward your workplace wellbeing strategies and initiatives, however we have witnessed a mixture of different functions driving the employee wellbeing agenda.

We have seen the receptionist of a major financial organisation in New York being put in charge of stress management training.  We have had conversations with Diversity and Inclusion specialists who were taking charge of wellbeing in the workplace who had never spoken to their HR colleagues on the topic or gathered any HR data on the current health of the workforce.  We have engaged with Pay and Reward specialists who were leading the wellbeing agenda and again had not involved other HR colleagues.  And in smaller organisations have interacted with the Vice President who has been taking the lead on wellbeing. Wellbeing, it seems, has yet to find a home!

While there are no hard and fast rules about where employee wellbeing should sit (unless you have a whole wellbeing department!), they do need to start at the top.  Engaging with the CEO, MD, President and C Suite is key to the success of your workplace wellbeing strategy because the Leadership team need to help share what success looks like. The most effective employee wellbeing strategies will have a strategic and commercial outcome tied to them.

What is the value of having a workplace wellbeing strategy?

Depending on your overall vision and what you are aiming to achieve, there is significant value to having a workplace wellbeing strategy in place – the key is having specific measures in place so that you can track your return on investment. Your measurements may include HR statistics such as;

  • Reduce absence and the cost of absence
  • Reduce the number of employees on long term sick and the number of days on sick leave
  • Increase employee retention
  • Reduce the number of health claims made on private medical cover
  • Reduced presenteeism

There are also other benefits of having a wellbeing strategy that could include;

  • Increased engagement levels across the workplace 
  • Improved customer and client feedback and scores
  • Consistent high performing people and teams
  • Employees who are more creative and innovative in their work
  • Increase in the feeling of inclusion and psychological safety
  • Reduction in accidents and health and safety issues
  • Reduction in customer complaints
  • Increase in sales (and profit)
  • Winning awards such as Britain’s Healthy Company, The Times Top 100 companies and being considered an employer of choice

There are a vast number of ways you can measure the value and return on investment of your workplace wellbeing strategy and regularly reviewing this will also allow you to identify what’s working well and what needs to be reviewed. 

Need help in creating a wellbeing strategy that is right for your employees and organisation? 

In the meantime, we’ve pulled together some of the key insights we have gained about wellbeing in the workplace from over 10,000 one to one consultations. These also include some handy questions to help you gain clarity about what you are aiming to achieve with your wellbeing initiatives. Download your free copy by filling in the form below 👇

Download Your Workplace Wellbeing E-Book Below

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