Building an effective wellbeing strategy
Posted on 13th September 2022 at 09:57
An organisations wellbeing strategy is more than just providing activities, services or perks for your people. It should be deeply aligned with the business strategy, culture and values, empowering the health and wellbeing of your people in a way that matches the needs of them as individuals that enable their desired performance at work and their lives outside of work..
This works in two ways and should be synergistic; a business needs its people to perform - without people fulfilling the requirements of the business it would not succeed or grow. Individuals in return, need a business to support their wellbeing at work. In a traditional view this is financial and professional (we work in return for pay and an opportunity to advance professionally), but the modern generations expect more; there is an increasing demand for businesses to provide more holistic compensation.
Organisations should consider the following aspects in order to build an effective holistic wellbeing strategy:
Wellbeing needs of individuals
What is the business strategy?
A business strategy is an organisation’s plan for achieving its desired objectives.
This is the starting point to your wellbeing strategy. By being clear on your business strategy you can be clear on what demands will be placed on your people in the organisation, with different needs depending on their function or department.
With this information clear you can work to identify health needs and interventions relevant for each group of employees. Your optimal goal should be to have the business strategy and wellbeing strategy perfectly aligned so that individual’s contributions to the business are maximised and facilitated by good health and productivity.
What are the key components of a wellbeing strategy?
There are four key pillars of wellbeing. These are Physical Wellbeing, Mental Wellbeing, Social Wellbeing and Financial Wellbeing. You will find that rarely will one area be isolated, for example, an individual experiencing financial difficulty may be experiencing a degree of stress, which could manifest itself in physical symptoms or social withdrawal. Let’s take a look at each of these pillars.
This relates to an individual being active and in a good state of physical health. It includes physical activity, nutrition, hydration, sleep. In an office-based workplace this is affected by activity and mobility; with desk work being sedentary and a cause of musculoskeletal disorders, which according to the HSE (2021) affected 470,000 people and was responsible for 28% of all workplace related ill health.
2. Mental Wellbeing
Good mental wellbeing is defined by the World Health Organisation as ‘a state of well-being in which every individual realizes his or her own potential, can cope with the normalstresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community’.
In the workplace we should consider resilience and recovery in facilitating positive mental wellbeing as a way of coping with stress at work.
“An April 2018 article in the peer-reviewed Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine found that about 86 percent of employees reported improved work performance and lower rates of absenteeism after receiving treatment for depression.2 A Harvard Business Review article noted that “$4 is returned to the economy for every $1 spent caring for people with mental health issues.” McKinsey & Co
3. Financial Wellbeing
Financial wellbeing is defined as an individual being in a financial state that enables them to meet current obligations, plan for the future and make financial decisions that allow them to live to their fullest. It is increasingly being viewed as a shared responsibility between employees and employers, where it was once considered the responsibility solely of the employee.
Financial difficulty is a common source of stress that may have spill over effects into a person’s professional life.
4. Social Wellbeing
Social wellbeing refers to a sense of belonging and inclusivity involving the sharing, developing and sustaining of meaningful relationships with others. In the workplace this is likely to take into account considerations of hybrid and remote working, especially in the modern climate.
Whilst social wellbeing is typically a subjective measure, a team’s and an organisation’s productivity in a business setting is often readily measurable objectively.
Looking at these four pillars in combination, taking into consideration feedback from employees, will help to determine your organisations overall health status.
What are your company values?
Values are a common set of beliefs that reflect an organisation’s identity and shape its behaviours. They can be a way of capturing what the company stands for and how the organisation chooses to interact with its customers and its people. From a wellbeing perspective it is important that company values align with positive health and wellbeing, and these values are lived by daily from all leaders and staff, being embedded in actions and behaviours throughout the organisation to empower positive health.
Culture & Climate
Workplace culture is the environment that surrounds us; it is the shared beliefs, values, attitudes and assumptions that exist in an organisation. In professional environments, culture is hugely influenced by the strategic organisational direction, leadership and management influences. Positive culture can build morale, teamwork, productivity and wellbeing. It is therefore important that you align your workplace culture with your organisation’s business strategy and wellbeing strategy to achieve health, happiness and productivity at work.
Workplace climate is the underpinning behaviours that shape culture; the actions by individuals on a day-to-day basis that collectively form the overall culture. From a wellbeing perspective, this means that it is essential that individual behaviours by leadership and management allow and facilitate positive wellbeing for any wellbeing program to be successful, whilst aligning with the business’s commercial strategy.
It is the individual behaviours that therefore create a climate facilitating positive wellbeing in the workplace, which, when performed consistently across the organisation, will collectively form a positive culture of wellbeing in the workplace. You can achieve this relatively quickly if your organisational leaders and individuals are committed.
How do we create the climate of positive wellbeing?
Businesses, regardless of the amount of technology involved, are ultimately people driven. Your leaders should demonstrate positive actions and behaviours and facilitate these in individuals. Leadership should demonstrate a positive attitude towards wellbeing programs themselves, discussing the use of wellbeing services provided to employees and encouraging their use, explicitly allowing this and providing the time and resources for them to do so.
In summary, what action can you take to build your wellbeing strategy?
Identify the wellbeing needs of individuals and groups within your organisation based on the demands dictated by the businesses’ operations and strategy.
Consider how the company values, culture and climate support these needs. If one or more aspects do not support the desired wellbeing, then these should be aligned.
Identify the resources and support needed to deliver relevant services to your people.
Implement services needed to meet the needs of your people.
Actively participate and lead facilitation of wellbeing in your organisation.
YOUR JOURNEY STARTS WITH VERVE
We are passionate about empowering positive health in your workforce, making them happier and more productive.
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