How to implement an employee wellbeing programme

How to implement an employee wellbeing programmeWorkplace wellbeing has been steadily rising up the agenda over recent years, but the past 12 months have put it firmly on the radar of most organisations.

To make wellbeing a meaningful addition to your company requires thought, planning and a careful consideration of what you are seeking to achieve.

What is it and why is it important?

It’s important to start by defining what workplace wellbeing is. It isn’t just about physical or mental health, but rather a holistic approach combining social, emotional, physical and financial wellbeing. It can build healthier habits that empower employees to be their happiest, healthiest and most productive selves, creating a highly engaged team that is committed to achieving organisational success. Research has shown that employers who value employee wellbeing benefit from:

  • Improved productivity
  • Increased employee motivation and morale
  • Improved company culture and social connections
  • Increased employee retention
  • Greater ability to attract top talent
  • Reduced absenteeism and employee burn out
  • Decreased rates of illness and injury

Historically, wellbeing programmes have been considered a nice-to-have, or the preserve of large corporate employers.  However, the positive correlation between employee engagement and business performance cannot be ignored, whatever the size and profile of the business.  After all, the average worker will spend roughly one third of their life at work, so they want to feel valued, fulfilled and supported.

Implementing a wellbeing programme

Workplace wellbeing programmes vary hugely and there is no one-size-fits-all approach.  They can range from a collection of small positive initiatives to larger scale, more elaborate schemes.  The programme will typically depend on the size and financial resources of an organisation, but regardless of this, it will only offer benefits if care is taken to plan, assess and monitor over time. Here are some suggested steps your business can take to get a wellbeing programme set up.

Step 1: Set goals

Identify the main objective of the wellbeing programme and ensure all parts of the programme provide benefits for both the organisation and employees.  It’s critical to get buy-in from the senior team at this stage, not only to allocate a budget for the programme but also to demonstrate the organisation’s commitment to employee wellbeing. 

Step 2: Talk to employees

It’s easy to assume what employees will benefit from but it’s crucial to talk to them to identify the areas that need to be addressed.  No two people’s needs are the same, so a variety of initiatives will provide inclusivity. 

Step 3: Create an action plan

What wellbeing initiatives will you use?  What resources are required?  Who will be responsible for the programme?  How will the programme be promoted?  How will effectiveness be monitored? All these questions need to be considered as part of your action plan.

Step 4: Communicate

Communication is key to successful implementation. You don’t want to waste your time carefully researching and planning, for employees to remain completely unaware of the programme.  Starting simple works well – employees should be able to clearly understand the offering, the importance of wellbeing and the positive effect it will have on their lives.

Step 5: Assess and measure

Ongoing assessment of the wellbeing programme enables businesses to identify whether employees are benefitting from it, and to ensure it remains relevant.  Feedback from employees is the most obvious source of measurement, however details of uptake and usage are also important indicators, in addition to looking at sickness absence data and overall morale in the organisation.

Case study: Progeny

We have rolled out our own wellbeing programme in Progeny, as part of our commitment to providing a healthy and supportive working environment and improving the quality of working life of our team. We are always looking to create a culture of wellbeing where team members excel, and the business thrives. As such, wellbeing is a permanent agenda item at every executive board meeting.

Increasing knowledge and awareness of wellbeing is seen as key so, in 2020, a group of self-nominated volunteers were appointed Wellbeing Champions.  This group of employees were tasked with raising awareness of wellbeing, promoting local activities and sharing best practice across the business.

Over the past year the Wellbeing Champions have spearheaded a number of initiatives including: a forum; a comprehensive library of resources; an annual wellbeing day for all employees; guest speakers at our online town hall meetings; competitions and activities encouraging employees to build relationships outside their own team; and a mental health masterclasses for people managers.

Testament to the success of Progeny’s wellbeing programme is the response to a question in our recent staff survey which found that over 95% of employees know where to find additional support and resources to assist their wellbeing.

If your business would like some advice and support in setting up an employee wellbeing programme, please get in touch.

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Rebecca Dixon

Head of HR

Rebecca manages the day-to-day operations of the HR team to ensure clients receive the best possible service.

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