Guest post: 5 tips to build your employee wellbeing strategy

browningyork Communication lessons, Guest post, Inspiration, Organisational culture

Today is World Health Day and I am delighted to introduce a guest post from Lucy Whitehall, a positive psychologist and masters-level coach from Transform and Thrive. She has kindly agreed to share her top tips for keeping your employees healthy.

I was privileged to attend the Mind Workplace Wellbeing Index awards last week and meet many of the nominees and winners. The award is the culmination of over a year of hard work from the amazing people at Mind and an external steering group of which I was proud to be part of. It was gratifying and liberating to hear people from a variety of UK businesses talking openly about mental health and wellbeing. If only more organisations could have the conversation which starts with “how are you?” and then listen with compassion and empathy to the response.

The reality is that many of us don’t generate that discussion for a variety of reasons. Looking after the health and wellbeing of your people involves paying attention to the full spectrum of a person’s health. This can include; mental, physical, emotional, financial, career and community wellbeing. Check out the five ways to wellbeing for a great way for your organisation to start the employee wellbeing journey.

Most organisations are already clued up on why they should be looking after their people, but if you need some evidence there is plenty of it around. Every organisation has a different reason for improving employee wellbeing, here are just a few proven benefits:
1. Improved employee engagement
2. Reduced absence
3. Reduced turnover
4. Increased retention
5. Improved collaboration and creativity
6. Improved decision-making and focus
7. Greater productivity and improved client experience

Tip number 1: What do you already do well?

I’m a big fan of celebrating current great practice and thinking about how to squeeze more of that behaviour and action out of the business. I approach my client wellbeing work with a pragmatic eye. I understand that whilst science and research can tell us a lot about the psychological and behavioural levers that create change, each business must consider their own unique culture before embarking on any employee wellbeing strategy.

So, this is the first of my five tips for building a sustainable wellbeing strategy for your people; what practices are already active in the organisation that create wellbeing? It is possible you haven’t considered them as part of the wider, holistic perspective before now. Perhaps you offer flexible working opportunities to support your diverse workforce. You may already run an annual family and friends fun day, enabling people to create meaningful connections outside the workplace. Maybe you have an active group of coaches within the business supporting career wellbeing.

Tip 2: Why wellbeing?
Be clear about your purpose with health and wellbeing initiatives – are you aiming to reduce absence, increase engagement, reduce turnover or attract fresh talent. Perhaps it feels like the right thing to do – and that’s a good enough reason too!

Tip 3: What is wellbeing to your organisation?
Ask your people and they’ll tell you what health and wellbeing mean to them and how you can support them at work. You may be surprised at the creative low cost ideas that arise

Tip 4: Avoid the temptation to follow the herd
What works for one organisation won’t necessarily chime with your culture. Not everyone likes bean bags and fruit on a Friday. Make your wellbeing strategy authentic and part of who you are as a business

Tip 5: Measure and evaluate
Some interventions require budget and others will be free or low cost. Start your measurements now and compare in 6, 12 and 18 months. This will help to justify future budget requests. Celebrate success and don’t be afraid to tweak and make changes to strategy if plans don’t always work out first time

If you have enjoyed these tips from Lucy, why not have a look at her company website, Transform and Thrive?

Until next time
Sarah