Employee wellbeing programme: are you ready to implement one?
There are seven signs that are thought to show whether an organisation is ready to implement an employee wellbeing programme.
They can act as an invaluable checklist for defining the current state of readiness for health and wellbeing within your business. Most businesses are able to tick some of these boxes with ease, but there are at least a couple that require further discussion and decision-making. If you hold overall responsibility for the wellbeing of your organisation, these seven areas will help develop firm foundations for your long-term approach.
When considering designing, refining or implementing business-wide approaches, take these following steps into account.
Views of ‘organisation wellbeing’ vary across job levels, so it’s important to establish what it actually means to your business and your staff. Once you have identified something which is accessible, universal and, above all, will resonate all aspects of working life, this will act as the basis of any wellbeing measurement you later undertake.
2. Your purpose
First of all, you must agree on why your business should ‘invest’ in occupational health and wellbeing. What purposes will it serve within your business, and how it will benefit you and your employees? Ensure you have a balance of outcomes that benefit the welfare of your business as well as your employees.
Acknowledge what you aim to achieve by introducing an employee wellbeing programme. What are you hoping to achieve overall by introducing this? Are you hoping to reduce employee absence? There are lots of different views to this, all of which are valid, but it’s important to acknowledge the position before plans are made and budgets built.
4. Owning it
It’s important to assign owners for specific aspects of your wellbeing strategy. Don’t set out to do it all on your own. Identify the support needed from senior leaders, how line managers can support the roll-out, and what skills/resources each need in order to do so. What is the role of your internal communications and engagement team? How can you use your network of HR business partners to maximise the impact and effectiveness of the implementation? These are just some of the questions you can use to map the ownership structure across the business.
5. Personal responsibility
In recent years, responsibilities for health and wellbeing have shifted: while employers still have a duty to provide a healthy environment, employees also have a critical role to play, taking responsibility for their health and having a greater say. With the rise of health movements like Robertson Cooper’s Good Day at Work and the Movember Foundation, wellbeing approaches are shifting from a management driven approach to one that’s led by employees and even technology. When considering your employee wellbeing programme, it is important to consider it in the context of personal responsibility.
6. Language and communication
With the right solution in place, you can provide staff with support and guidance, improve their quality of life and increase productivity. A meaningful conversation about wellbeing across the whole organisation will help employees to talk about this subject without fear.
It’s important that your definition of wellbeing is consistent. Identifying the things that block and enable “a good day at work” can help you to reach a conclusive definition.
7. Leading the change
Ultimately, the change comes from key people at the top level of the business. Their role isn’t just about “permission”, it’s about buy-in, involvement and role modelling. It’s important that they understand and accept their role, encouraging them to create a culture that values and drives wellbeing. This may take some influencing or coaching to understand the personal impact that they have on the mental and physical wellbeing of those around them.
Using these seven signs as a checklist, you can highlight the aspects that the business is already focusing on and the areas that need further discussion. Then you’re ready to really hone in on the details of what an employee wellbeing programme would entail.