How to develop an effective health and wellbeing strategy
Promoting health and wellbeing at work is not just about free fruit and yoga. It is so much more. It’s about how your company demonstrates the value of their people, and how you will support them to lead healthy and fulfilling lives, both inside and outside of work.
Workplace health and wellbeing can be complex. Many companies decide to implement wellbeing initiatives in an ad hoc way, without considering what their employees really need, and what might be most effective for them and their industry.
Whilst this approach may have good intentions, it may not necessarily lend itself well to creating a cohesive plan, or strategy, which can be evaluated, tweaked and improved upon. Explore our full health and wellbeing strategy guide for more detail.
Developing a cohesive health and wellbeing strategy can help a company be clear about their objectives, where they may need to prioritise interventions and activity, and help them to think about how effectiveness is measured.
To help companies plan and develop their health and wellbeing strategy, Benenden worked with Jane Abraham, health and wellbeing specialist and Managing Director of Flourish Workplace Ltd, to create a useful guide, which outlines the key benefits of a fully developed strategy, and takes you through the five key development stages:
Stage 1 – Planning your approach
Before you dive right in and start thinking of initiatives, it’s important to think through and plan your approach. You should consider:
What are the main drivers for implementing a strategy?
What the employees want and need?
Who is responsible for what?
What is the current offering and are there are any gaps?
What are your competitors offering?
Stage 2 – Getting management buy-in
It is vital that senior management understand the value of a health and wellbeing strategy, to ensure you have support and designated resource and budget.
To secure buy-in you should present tangible data, with the necessary management tools in place to showcase results. The most ideal data to use is your own as it’s relevant to your company and can help to build the case to support health and wellbeing investment. Some useful data sources you could use include:
Sickness records – to identify how much sickness is affecting your company and to identify the key causes of sickness
Employee demographics – to identify any key wellbeing needs in each demographic
Existing initiatives – use data from existing initiatives (e.g. Employee Assistance Programmes) to understand what and how people are using the service for
Exit surveys or employee engagement surveys – to identify themes or trends related to health and wellbeing
Stage 3 – Developing your strategy
Once you have buy-in you can develop your strategy:
Set out your vision and objectives – use your research to understand the key priorities your strategy can address. Break these down into smaller objectives if necessary
Agree budget and resource needs – this will help inform your initiatives. Understand who is responsible for the delivery of the strategy and ensure that they have time in their role to dedicate to this
Identify responsibilities and expectations – it is likely that there will be multiple people in the company involved in the development and ongoing implementation of the strategy. Identify who they are and ensure they are aware of their responsibilities
Determine key metrics – understand how you will measure and show success of the strategy. As well as helping justify the spend and approach, it also helps identify if things aren’t working as well, and inform any necessary changes
Select relevant initiatives – based on your objectives and budget, brainstorm and agree the initiatives that will help you achieve your goal. Whilst it’s tempting to do it all at once, try to start small and ensure employee buy in until you see results and then expand it
Find partners – it is likely that for some initiatives you will need to partner with external healthcare providers or even local charities. Review local companies, as well as larger providers to establish who is best placed to help you deliver your initiatives and meet your goal
Stage 4 – Launching your strategy
Once the strategy has been developed and signed off, it will need to be communicated to employees. Some potential ways you could do this include:
Having a launch event including posters/emails/social media and employee briefings
Tie into national/external campaigns
Identify and use champions who can promote the initiatives
Communicate examples of real change
Create and send a regular newsletter
Stage 5 – Review and refresh
Ensure that you regularly review the data and KPIs to check that you are on track. If something is not working, try to find out why and see if something can be done to improve it. Don’t be afraid to evolve and change elements of the strategy.
Use the data and take time to consider next steps and how you can improve year on year.
Review the full guide
Whilst it might seem a large task, it is clear that developing an effective health and wellbeing strategy is extremely beneficial to your company.
To find out more about the benefits of a health and wellbeing strategy, and discover further detailed information on how to implement each stage of the process, download the full health and wellbeing strategy guide.
This content originally appeared on Benenden’s workplace hub where employers can find a range of related articles to help with their health and wellbeing strategy.
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