Why employee wellbeing?

Focusing on employee wellbeing is important for raising the profile of the ‘health’ part of health and safety and for promoting healthy living among your employee workforce.

Why should companies be interested in this?

Clinical reviews have shown that companies who provide good support services for their employees will reap the benefits of better engagement, improved productivity and less sickness absence.

Employees benefit too, from participating in wellbeing programmes where they feel healthier, have more energy and are more likely to enjoy their work. With regard to retaining and attracting the best talent, organisational wellbeing plays a vital role in creating a great and attractive place to work.

As we spend around 60 per cent of our waking hours at work, a key factor of any employee wellbeing programme is to help employees feel they are being given permission to invest in and maintain their personal health and wellbeing while at work. The challenge of a wellbeing programme is how to effectively raise awareness so as to elicit a call to action by those employees who are not necessarily aware of the need to change whilst at the same time continuing to support employees who have already made a positive lifestyle change. 

The stages of change model below identifies the different phases that an individual will pass through before, during and after making a lifestyle change. It is possible for an individual to stall within a stage hindering progress and this is where the wellbeing programme needs to be designed to effectively motivate individuals at whatever stage they may be.

Stages of change

Model: Adaptation of The Transtheoretical Model (Prochaska & DiClemente, 1983; Prochaska, DiClemente, & Norcross, 1992)

This wellbeing toolkit has been designed to help health and safety/HR professionals establish wellbeing programmes that can be adapted to target specific working groups for example call centre, shift workers and field based staff.

There is no ‘one-size fits all' approach, so the guidance offered will need to be tailored to your organisation and available budget. Sometimes the easiest way to find out what will have the most impact in your organisation is to ask your employees. This also has the benefit of getting buy-in at an early stage, particularly if employees feel that they have contributed to the design of the company’s wellbeing programme.

Fundamental elements to the success of a wellbeing programme are - an underlying strategy to give it meaning and purpose, leader buy-in to help drive key messages and employee ownership to commit to making positive lifestyle changes. Priorities can be identified through a number of different ways but a good starting point is to consider the following:

  • The impact of the cost of ill health and/or lost time through absence
  • The requirement for compliance and risk management and subsequent desired cultural outcomes
  • Becoming an employer of choice - retaining and attracting the best talent

To find out more about how to formulate a wellbeing strategy visit the Forming your strategy page.