The greatest asset of any company is of course its people, and therefore the health and wellbeing of staff are fundamental to the success of a business. Building a supportive, robust strategy in health and wellbeing will enhance an employee’s work/ life experience, support their productivity, and improve their quality of life. Wellbeing in the workplace is an area of increasing focus for companies keen to write a ‘new playbook’, one that works, that brings positive cultural change, and a health-enhancing, inclusive working environment where people can thrive.
The power of incremental change in health and wellbeing strategy
The best approach to developing a successful strategy in health and wellbeing is through incremental steps. In the book ‘Atomic Habits’, the author James Clear discusses the value of taking an incremental approach to implementing change and this is particularly effective in the approach to implementing a health and wellbeing strategy. Taking positive small steps forward is the way to go. At the time of actioning each incremental step, there might not seem to be any tangible change happening, but as time goes on, and you keep to the path of making changes happen, with persistence and building on these incremental steps a positive shift will occur.
Leadership commitment and management buy-in as a part of wellbeing strategy
However, changing the health and wellbeing culture of an organization doesn’t happen overnight. Momentum needs to be developed. This can’t be a passion propelled by one person, it must be supported by a collective drive of like minds, and it needs time effort and persistence.
Building a successful health and wellbeing strategy needs strong leadership commitment from the top and line management ‘buy in’. Both these key components have been identified by the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development (CIPD in research) and emphasized by HSE management standards, as key components for building an effective strategy.
Having senior management leading on the agenda of mental and physical health and wellbeing, sends powerful messages to all employees – for example, that it’s okay to talk about mental health, and that the organisation will support you if you need help.
Senior people (leaders and line managers) are also important role models and should lead by example demonstrating to others the importance of work-life balance and not practising unhealthy working practices such as ‘presenteeism’ (working whilst sick) and ‘leaveism’ (working whilst off on leave), which can all adversely affect long term well-being.
Building the business case for a Health and Wellbeing Strategy
Reducing sickness absence and presenteeism
The greatest asset of your company is your employees, and therefore health and wellbeing become an obvious priority. Positively managing and supporting the health and wellbeing of your staff entirely underpins productivity. In stating the obvious: if an employee is absent from work through sickness, their productivity is zero. If they are working whilst they are sick (presenteeism), their productivity is reduced, often significantly.
How do you help to reduce sickness absence and presenteeism?
- Provide ongoing encouragement to engage in education on health and wellbeing matters
- Encourage staff to be proactive with all aspects of health and take responsibility for their own wellbeing.
- Encourage learning about living healthy lives by providing engaging information, talks and events.
- Encourage them to act quickly in seeking professional help, when they need to, to help prevent health conditions from deteriorating, reducing the length and complexity of treatment.
- Reduce stress and anxiety relating to health conditions by developing a caring company culture, providing support at multiple levels, incorporating staff training and health benefits.
Support competitive recruitment:
- With new recruits wanting more than just a salary from their employers, building a robust strategy supports competitive recruitment.
- Your company needs to think about how your organisation is viewed by potential top candidates, especially in highly competitive markets, such as accountancy/finance.
- Most organisations want to project an image of a more caring, supportive environment for staff, with an emphasis on health and wellbeing. Many companies use their health and wellbeing strategy to demonstrate to prospective candidates that they are a great company to work for.
Support staff retention:
Lastly having a strong health and wellbeing strategy supports staff retention which is also a critical factor for many companies as staff turnover generates significant recruitment and training costs.
Make it tangible – Backing up your Business Case
It’s always helpful to have qualitative and quantitative data to support developing the business case for health and wellbeing.
The following are the most useful statistics to determine the health and wellbeing needs of your organisation –
- Sickness absence figures – Analyse these figures and drill down into reasons for sickness absence, both short and long-term. Category distinctions are helpful such as mental and physical health or the type of injury or illness.
- Cost for replacement staff for those that are off sick/lost productivity costs.
- Employee questionnaire responses – A presenteeism feedback questionnaire provides valuable insight into the daily struggles your employees face while at work. Note: Thrive4Life can help you formulate questionnaires, which support business case development.
- Mental Health First Aider (MHFA) feedback – Collect anecdotal, confidential feedback to find out the issues employees are seeking help for as well as the age group and a number of staff seeking help. This will also give you feedback on the effectiveness of your MHFA team (return on investment).
- Recruitment, replacement, and training costs where staff members have left employment. Any data relating to these costs are valuable in building a business case for a health and wellbeing strategy.
- Potential litigation, legal or settlement costs arising from employee ill-health. We understand such data may not be available, but it can be extremely helpful to determine your strategy in relation to health and wellbeing.
- Any business case should outline the fallout cost of negative publicity in the case of significant stress and burnout cases and at its worst, the potential of suicide. The ripple effect across an organisation of any significant negativity affecting any member of staff is substantial and negative marketing can damage a company’s reputation, both internally and externally.
Building a Strong Interconnecting Wellbeing Strategy
In consideration of building a strong strategy for supporting staff’s health and wellbeing, it’s important to be mindful of creating an interconnecting implementation plan with solid foundations. Taking this approach will actively support your workforce at multiple levels and on an ongoing basis.
Strategy supporting health and wellbeing in the workplace
Over time you will need to increase and consolidate your health and wellbeing strategy through the:
- Staff Training: employee, line manager, Mental Health First Aid and wellbeing champion and continual professional development of these groups.
- Health and wellbeing promotion for employees to encourage engagement: Ongoing calendar of talks, articles, and events
- Provision of a robust health and wellbeing information resource: such as the Thrive4Life Health and Wellbeing Discovery Hub.
Getting Engagement in Health and Wellbeing
Providing ongoing engagement and support for staff is a challenge!
- Engaging your staff with your health and wellbeing requires a constant stream of new ideas. Providing quality education in the form of offering engaging articles on top health and wellbeing topics is a start. Thrive4Life offers engaging, expert-written content on all aspects of health and wellbeing, taking the time, effort and resource commitment to promoting health and wellbeing.
- Having a team of proactive Health and Wellbeing Champions is one of the most effective ways of joining up your strategy, encouraging the engagement of staff with your health and wellbeing news, activities, and initiatives.
- Thrive4Life has created a Health and Wellbeing Discovery Hub which is focused on ‘taking the headache out of the time and effort it takes to build and implement your strategy of health and wellbeing.
How Thrive4Life can help you!
Health and Wellbeing Discovery Hub – Support with developing your health and wellbeing strategy
Our Health and Wellbeing Discovery Hub delivers all your organisation’s health and wellbeing needs in one place to help you effortlessly manage this crucial aspect of your business. This innovative platform supports developing a practical effective strategy for health and wellbeing. The hub very quickly develops into a cohesive resource for employees and key groups of staff that support your health and wellbeing strategy in different ways: Mental Health First Aiders, Wellbeing Champions, and Line Managers.
For more information about Thrive4Life services and training courses, get in touch or call us on 020 8972 9675.