The benefits of investing in workplace wellbeing strategies are certainly no secret! From improving employee engagement and productivity to bottom-line benefits, organisations everywhere are putting more and more focus into employee wellbeing.
But to create a really effective workplace wellbeing strategy, organisations need to move away from ad hoc wellbeing activities to a holistic strategy—embedding wellbeing as a part of their culture.
And HR is key to driving forward your workplace wellbeing strategies and initiatives, focusing on people’s real needs and providing a link to leadership to get wellbeing high on the agenda.
So, we’re bringing you some wellbeing top tips, advice, strategies, ideas… you name it! Let’s get started.
First of all, what is workplace wellbeing?
Health and wellbeing is a combination of physical and mental wellness. Some of the drivers of maintaining everyday wellbeing are:
Then we have workplace wellbeing, which is a holistic view of a person’s physical, mental and social state at work; when organisations do a good job of their workplace wellbeing strategy, people are more likely to perform better, build more positive relationships, cope with their workload and work more creatively.
And why is workplace wellbeing important?
There are so many benefits to looking after your people, but we’ll keep it simple; CIPD’s Health and Wellbeing at Work survey identified the top three benefits that organisations see when increasing their focus on workplace wellbeing:
- Better employee morale and engagement
- A healthier and more inclusive culture
- Lower sickness absence.
The likes of health and safety procedures that protect people from injuries at work have been around for some time, but people expect more than that from their employers—now more than ever.
Mental health has quickly become the main focus for workplace wellbeing strategies, too, up 44% from pre-pandemic levels! Quickly followed by the likes of work-life balance, employee voice, and diversity and inclusion; it’s clear that a simple health and safety policy is no longer enough.
Thinking has shifted from the costs of ill health to the benefits that come from a healthy, thriving workforce—with health and wellbeing benefits often the differentiator when it comes to being an employer of choice.
Ideas for your workplace wellbeing strategy
When we think about workplace wellbeing strategies, there’s always the classics: free eye tests, gym membership discounts, cycle to work schemes, and even a fruit bowl in the office… but the world of work is evolving and your wellbeing strategy should evolve too!
So we’ve rounded up a few ideas—including some inspired by Team Hive—to suit the smallest and largest of budgets covering many of the key influencers of workplace wellbeing:
- Mental-health first aiders
- Training managers to have difficult conversations
- Employee assistance programmes
💡 There’s no one-size-fits-all
Avoid making the mistake of a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to workplace wellbeing by connecting with your people. You need to know what makes people happy at work; and of course, that can be radically different from individual to individual. Getting more personal with your wellbeing strategy means you’ll have a fantastic segue for giving employees a greater sense of ownership and demonstrating your commitment to wellbeing.
- Creating an open and inclusive culture
- Plenty of social events and group activities—attendance optional!
- Non-financial recognition (find out more about this on our Hive Fives page)
💡 Proactive is always better than reactive
Wellbeing strategies aren’t a way to combat problems that arise; they need to be designed to prevent those problems from arising in the first place. To take a proactive approach to workplace wellbeing, you need to understand the unique drivers of wellbeing at your organisation so you have a good idea of what will work and what won’t. (More on that here)
- Reviewing workloads and job design
- Offer flexible working to improve work-life balance
- Improved holiday and leave policies
💡 Standalone initiatives aren’t enough
A range of standalone initiatives is not enough; your wellbeing strategy needs to be exactly that—a strategy. Your approach to workplace wellbeing needs to be holistic, embedded in your culture and should guide how you make decisions. Aka—workplace wellbeing should sit at the heart of everything you do.
- Mentoring programmes
- Performance-development plans
- Personal-resilience training
💡 You can lead them to water, but you can’t make them drink
Employees are ultimately responsible for looking after their own health and wellbeing. They’ll only benefit from your workplace wellbeing strategies if they opt to take part in them. That being said, leadership can play a key role in demonstrating desired behaviours by taking part in wellbeing programmes, communicating success and encouraging others to do the same.
Extra ideas inspired by Team Hive
- Paid volunteering days: everyone at Hive gets two CSR days per year to use as we please.
- Health and wellbeing allowance: every member of the team gets a monthly physical wellbeing allowance to spend on something of their choice. Could be a gym membership, could be a new pair of trainers, could be… anything!
- Headspace subscription: this one went down great and gets people owning their own personal emotional development.
Great! But… how will I know that my workplace wellbeing strategy actually works?
You can’t improve what you don’t measure; gathering employee feedback can help you to measure employee sentiment toward your wellbeing strategy and identify trends to improve it further.
Plus, your workplace wellbeing programmes need to be personalised to your organisation and people, so seeing how different strategies are being received on both an individual and collective basis can inform positive changes.
So, here’s a five-stage framework for how you can make those changes by amplifying employee voice!
Stage 1: Set yourself up for internal benchmarking
The best way to gauge how your workforce is feeling is with employee surveys; you can reach everyone, easily store your insights to report on and refer back to when needed, and you can give your people a confidential platform to really open up about their needs.
What’s useful here is to create a set of questions that you can use multiple times to create your own internal benchmark. Whether that’s a couple of questions monthly, a pulse survey quarterly, a larger survey biannually… figure out what works best for your people and use it to monitor your health and wellbeing progress.
When you get to the stage of implementing new workplace wellbeing strategies, these questions will be great for telling you whether they’re having a positive impact or whether they’re falling flat.
(Thankfully, our People Scientists created a guide with a ready-to-use question set, so we’ve done the work for you! Grab yours now).
Stage 2: Do your temperature check
Once you’ve identified your question set, it’s time to send out your survey. This is your “temperature check” to gauge how people are feeling right now—always keep hold of those results for a later date to really measure your progress.
Seeking feedback regularly can alert you to emerging health and wellbeing needs; this way, you ensure your offering remains relevant and meaningful to your people.
Before you hit send on that survey, though, take time to consider the key stakeholders in your feedback process: how will you engage your senior leaders, managers and employees? Everyone has a role to play, so make sure to get people on board first.
Stage 3: Ask people what they want from your wellbeing strategy
Your people know better than anyone what would help improve their health and wellbeing, so make sure to ask for their ideas and input.
At Hive, we ran a poll filled with wellbeing benefits to see what people would want access to the most, and gave people the option to make their own suggestions. The response was great and helped to shape our offering today, with a few of our refreshed initiatives including: increased holiday allowance, monthly wellbeing allowance, subscription to headspace, and enhanced maternity and paternity policies.
Stage 4: Dive into results and set your actions
Once you’ve taken your temperature and gathered ideas, you need to take time to reflect on the results and dive into what trends and hotspots have emerged.
This will help you to understand which areas take immediate priority, which need further consideration and which you won’t be taking action on; it’s not as simple as just giving people what they ask for, but making sure it aligns with how they’re feeling and the impact it can have.
Whether at an organisational level with senior leaders, or at a local level with managers, it’s important to prioritise actions—otherwise the feedback process becomes overwhelming and no action occurs! Choose 2 to 3 actions that you believe you can implement to make sure you’re not tackling too much at once.
Stage 5: Keep communicating!
Once you’ve gathered employee feedback to improve your wellbeing strategy, it’s crucial to communicate how you are acting on that feedback.
Even if no changes will be made, explaining why that is and reinforcing the value of employee feedback is vital. People will create their own stories, believe they have not been listened to, and feel disengaged if their feedback is met by radio silence.
Communicating action plans affirms the value of employee feedback. Your transparency will build trust and ensure employees are motivated to participate in your next survey!
And repeat! Remember to keep measuring, keep listening and keep improving.
If you’re looking for some expert support on your workplace wellbeing strategy, just book a chat with one of our team and we’ll run through Hive’s employee voice tools and People Science partnership.
In the meantime, we’ve pulled together some questions that you can choose from to help you evaluate what you’re doing well and where you could stand to improve, as well as highlighting the reasons behind that. Download your free copy below 👇