How Engaged are we with Health and Wellbeing?

28 October 2016

As senior managers and leaders we have long been aware that engaged employees are more productive and customer focussed. There’s now so much empirical evidence of added value that we ignore employee engagement at our peril.

But recently there’s been a lot of talk about employee Health and Wellbeing. To many leaders Health and Wellbeing is seen as a bit fluffy and nice to have, but not really essential. Well that’s all changing now based on a whole raft of evidence coming out over the last year. Suddenly people professionals recognise that Health and Wellbeing is a prerequisite for employee engagement. It seems we should all be doing it……
But what exactly is Health and Wellbeing – one definition is:

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So how does a good Health and Wellbeing approach add value to your organisation? Some benefits are clear – reduced sickness absence, increased employee retention, fewer accidents, but increasingly we see the wider benefits of Health and Wellbeing.

For instance the issue of employer brand is more important than ever. Today, good people are fussy about who they work for – they won’t put up with autocratic, non-caring employers anymore and social media is playing a big part in enhancing or damaging your brand. An employer with a positive stance on Health and Wellbeing tends to have higher brand value in the market.

But the real big link to adding value is that between employee engagement and Health and Wellbeing. If you think of engaged employees as those who go the extra mile for you, who put in discretionary effort on your organisation’s behalf, it seems logical that if we actively create a working environment where they are more heathy and feel more cared about, we are going to fuel employee engagement. In fact we believe that you can’t actually facilitate employee engagement at all unless you get the Health and Wellbeing right.

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(Diagram provided courtesy of Delta 7)

So what do we need to do to get our Health and Wellbeing up to scratch? Actually a Health and Wellbeing Strategy is not hard to set up. It’s not about creating a “nanny state” approach, it’s about creating a culture where Health and Wellbeing is the norm, i.e. how things are done. So it needs a philosophy of making it easy for employees to help themselves to take individual responsibility for their Health and Wellbeing. A good Health and Wellbeing strategy should promote and support good practice which

a)    complies with legislation,

b)   addresses key workplace risks to health

c)    encourages a healthy lifestyle.

d)   caters for the work life needs of the workforce

So it’s not just about providing free fruit (which is nice), it’s about developing a culture of self-help with reasonable employer support. This can involve information giving on a range of health issue, setting up employee assistance programmes and developing flexible working options.

In good organisations, Health and Wellbeing is now being placed at the heart of the HR/People strategy which sets out how the organisation deals with its people in all areas, in line with its business goals.

There’s lots of information about Health and Wellbeing on line, and there are benchmark awards such as the Investors in People Health and Wellbeing standard which you may want to consider.

Leading Figures can also advise and assist senior managers in this area.

If you do nothing else, do this:

Do some investigation and see where your organisation is on the chart above.

Look at the metrics for your organisation and see if a more proactive Health and Wellbeing Strategy would add value

Work up a plan for action to develop your own Health and Wellbeing culture.