Workplace wellbeing is creeping up the business agenda, especially mental health. Yet the C-suite may still need convincing that it really matters. How do you persuade the board that putting the workforce first makes sound business sense?
As managing director of a business that’s fully committed to wellbeing (with a CEO who coined the strapline ‘happy people, happy business’), you might think anyone here would be preaching to the converted.
That’s true up to a point. But we still have a bottom line to drive and investors to satisfy. We’re not all about fresh fruit on Fridays and mindfulness on Mondays just for the sake of it.
At PES, we’ve discovered that wellbeing interventions work best if they’re part of a sensible framework – and one that fits the business. So yes, we do offer fresh fruit (every day in fact!), but there’s much more to it than that.
Why have a wellbeing framework?
Having a clear workplace wellbeing framework provides us with robust backdrop for the many initiatives we offer, and the potential ideas we have for the future. So before enthusiasm carries us away and we bring in the stand-up comedian or fire juggler to liven up lunchtimes, we use our framework to ask some serious, work-related questions.
The difference between a framework and a plan
An action plan provides a clear ‘to do’ list, while a framework provides the context. For example, the ‘Five Ways to Wellbeing’ framework helps us divide actions in to five identifiable themes. If this is your chosen framework, examine these themes alongside your planned wellbeing interventions to see whether your plan is balanced. Then check whether they align to business goals.
Here’s an example.
Business goal: reduce absence rates
Five ways theme ‘Be active’: offer discounted gym membership to boost physical health.
Five ways theme ‘Pay attention’: offer a health cash plan with EAP and alternative treatments included which promote mindfulness and relaxation, to boost mental health.
Five ways theme ‘Keep learning’: offer mental health first aid training to promote a culture of positive mental health.
Choose the right framework for your business
There’s no ‘one-size-fits-all’ when it comes to wellbeing frameworks, but choose or devise one that will help you:
develop a measurable plan (you won’t necessarily to be able to do everything, but a framework will help you prioritise)
ensure that you provide a balanced programme of activities.
Above all, use your framework to align wellbeing interventions with your business strategy, so you can demonstrate a robust, considered approach to the board.