Three important steps for a successful wellbeing strategy
Strategy is used in all aspects of business – its importance determining direction, sustainability, setting objectives and responding to change. At the beginning of 2020 wellbeing had made it onto many businesses’ agendas. Enter Covid-19 and the “Why address wellbeing in the workplace” became clearer for many and the agenda was escalated further. Being reactive and having a knee jerk reaction is a possible shortfall in the face of the adversity and challenge of recent months. A strategic approach is pivotal to any wellbeing offering ensuring not only a return on your investment but noticing positive change too.
A successful strategy includes many steps; the following three are contributors to effectiveness and worth close consideration:
1. Allocate the wellbeing function to ensure accountability
“Give someone responsibility and they will do their best. Make them accountable and they will do even better.” Simon Sinek
Wellbeing initiatives needn’t be costly however they do require adequate allocation. Whether you assign the role to an internal staff member or outsource this function, someone needs to take on the overall role to ensure accountability. Consider this lead carefully as they will set the tone and contribute to the overall culture. All too often this role is bolted on to someone’s pre-existing job. Don’t underestimate the time and effort needed by your lead.
Next, ensure your lead has necessary resources and support for implementation. This could be in the way of associates and colleagues identifying as “Wellbeing Champions” (or ambassadors). Champions will form your wellbeing team and promote health initiatives and encourage participation. Put the question out “Who wants to be a champion” and you are likely to be inundated with responses.
For the wellbeing team selection:
- Last week was World Wellbeing Week which promoted the various aspects of wellbeing including social, physical, emotional, financial, career, community and environment. Whilst mental health is coming out the top priority at the moment, consider all these aspects of wellbeing and select people with interest and knowledge across all areas.
- Be inclusive of people from all levels of the business. Some colleagues are more likely to engage in peer to peer interaction than with senior members of staff.
2. Internal employee communications campaign
“It’s all about awareness: you’re putting these things in place, are you really telling your employees about them, are you engaging them?” S Robson, Aon
Whether you are introducing a new employee wellbeing strategy or simply refreshing your existing one, ongoing communication to the broader business is key to success. It is frequently the case that an organisation rolls out fantastic initiatives, yet the participation is low and after your careful consideration, investment of time and effort, the most stressed employees are not engaged in the offering. Engaging your employees early means supporting them at a preventative level rather at a reactive stage.
Creating a theme and using existing and all channels of communication is important as recent employee research tells us, people need to hear and see a communication minimum six times before they remember it.
- What does the employee wellbeing campaign plan look like?
- What is this programme about?
- What’s in it for you?
- How can you get involved?
- Why get involved?
Let your employees know they have your permission and encouragement to engage and participate.
3. Align your wellbeing strategy with your business strategy
Give some consideration and ongoing thought to the rationale and drive for addressing wellbeing within your business. As an example, in the same way you would analyse your “why” for implementing a new technology system and how this system will benefit various aspects of the business, the same applies with wellbeing investment. These drivers will link to organisational priorities and values some of which could include:
- Legal aspects
- Business reputation
- Looking after the welfare of staff
- Protecting financial impact
- Staff wellbeing ultimately influences clients
- A combination of all the above
Linking the wellbeing goals to the broader business objectives means wellbeing becomes part of everyone’s dialogue. Many people think this is purely down to HR, Occupational Health or the Wellbeing Team.
Include wellbeing into the boardroom agenda:
- An annual wellbeing report, collated by your wellbeing lead, highlighting what has worked; who used what was on offer and possible improvements.
- Empower managers to highlight the broader business objectives and how the day to day wellbeing challenges and activities on offer link to this. Consider wellbeing reviews separate to performance reviews.
- Evaluate the information collated by HR to support assessment and metrics like absenteeism, exit interviews, staff retention and turnover.
Joining the dots between wellbeing goals and business strategy is helpful for your initiatives to impact the entire business.
With the right approach wellbeing offers great opportunity for your people to be happy and productive. It isn’t a quick fix – it takes ongoing dedication and commitment to keep it on track and notice positive change. Whilst there are multiple aspects to an effective wellbeing strategy these three are invaluable.