The simple 7 step plan for a winning workplace wellbeing strategy

Wellbeing word cloudStep 1: Establishing a definition and vision for your workplace wellbeing strategy

If you don’t know where you’re going how will you know when you get there?

To develop your workplace wellbeing strategy it helps to understand and agree what it is you’re trying to achieve. This brings us to defining what wellbeing is. What do you understand by the term workplace wellbeing? What is your vision for it in your organisation?

At Improveon we define wellbeing as:

‘the quality of our lives in balance with other people, species and the planet.’

Improveon. The CANBE Wellbeing Model

Our proprietary CANBE Wellbeing Model integrates mental, emotional, physical, spiritual, social, cultural, environmental, and economic domains across 5 core dimensions.

These elements are all important considerations when developing a workplace wellbeing strategy.

With poor finances people worry. With a lack of meaning there is less motivation. Poor relationships destroy morale. Lack of sleep, nutrition and exercise lead to lower performance. Too much stress can lead to poor mental health and without our environment we have no wellbeing!

Workplace wellbeing needs to cover all of these elements. It should look at the whole person and the whole business. When these elements are working in harmony across the 8 domains and 5 dimensions, individuals, teams and organisations will perform at their best.

For a fuller explanation of the benefits of clearly defining wellbeing in your workplace and how it links with engagement, culture and your brand read this article.

Wellbeing strategy, vision and definition

Step 2: Determining your current situation

If you don’t know where you are how can you plot a course for where you want to go?

Once you have a clear definition and vision for wellbeing it is time to understand the current situation. This includes company, marketplace and competitor research which will provide valuable insights into the actions and priorities for improving.

Company – From a people perspective staff engagement, sickness/absence data, pulse surveys, salary & financial data, forums and exit interviews will all provide useful information to help develop your wellbeing strategy. Customer satisfaction and feedback as well as brand perception data can also be insightful. As described above a broader view of wellbeing might also include data on facilities such as air, light, temperature quality, water/energy use and any wastage. If you can reduce utility costs and wastage that’s good for the planet and good for your organisation right!

Marketplace – Some trends that may impact on your approach include more flexible working, stress in the workplace, an ageing workforce, wearable devices, mobile useage, portfolio careers, sustainable practice and disruption of markets through technology. However, there will be others specific to your workplace. What are the trends which are most important to your organisation and what impact are they having?

Competitors – A good wellbeing strategy can provide a competitive advantage. What benefits and experience are your competitors providing their employees? What is their approach to sustainability? How are they exploiting these trends?

The what, where, when, why, how and who of wellbeing Step 3: Identifying challenges and opportunities

Planning your route to a winning wellbeing strategy

It is clear that your workplace wellbeing approach will require alignment with organisational strategy. Striving for growth and innovation will require a different approach than streamlining and redundancies.

From the research undertaken in the previous step you will have identified issues or opportunities in some, if not all, of the following areas:

  • Recruitment
  • Retention
  • Sickness and absence
  • Productivity & performance
  • Engagement
  • Managing change
  • Brand perception and reputation management
  • Environment and sustainable practice

How can your workplace wellbeing strategy help in each of these areas?

Through this approach you will also have identified potential stakeholders who will have an interest in your work. This is a great time to start engaging them to understand how you can best work together.

Winning workplace wellbeing strategy investmentStep 4: Setting your investment and defining targets

Developing milestones and signposts for success

The starting point is to quantify what these challenges and lost opportunities are costing your organisation. This might seem logical but not all businesses have done this. For example, ¹Personnel Today have estimated that only 40% of employers measure the cost of sickness absence.

By quantifying the potential savings and opportunities from above you might unearth some surprising results. ²For example, with an average annual cost of absence per employee of £522, in a company of 500 people there would be a potential loss of over quarter of a million pounds! Now you’re not going to prevent all sickness and absence but there’s a sizeable chunk of savings to go at, particularly if you have a good understanding of the reasons for absence.

From a recruitment and retention perspective costs can be even higher. ³An Oxford Economics report in 2014, The cost of the brain drain, suggested costs for recruiting a new member of staff can be as high as £30,000 when you consider lost output during the transition and the logistical time and money spent on the new recruit.

This is particularly the case in highly skilled sectors such as accountancy and IT but obviously varies significantly by industry, size of firm and the background and experience of the person being recruited. This is also true for the actual turnover rate of staff, however suggests an average employee turnover rate is around 15%.

If we go back to our previous example and assume a company of 500 people with 15% turnover, they would lose 75 staff each year. If we assume the business wished to have retained 50 of those and use a cost of replacement of only £10,000 per employee then there are potential savings of £500,000.

So far we’ve only considered sickness/absence and retention here but improving workplace wellbeing will also influence employee engagement, performance and productivity. It makes sense that more purposeful, focused, motivated, resilient, happy employees will perform better doesn’t it!? There may also be other potential cost savings and opportunities such as being more sustainable through reducing waste, re-cycling and managing utility costs better.

Each organisation will have its own unique set of circumstances, problems and opportunities, but hopefully it is easy to see, that investing several hundred thousand pounds on a wellbeing strategy could deliver a positive return on investment in this scenario.

Leading a winning workplace wellbeing strategyStep 5: Implementing your strategy

Confidently leading the way

If you have a clear understanding of what wellbeing means for your organisation, a compelling business case based on thoroughly researched problems and opportunities. and a strong prediction of Return on Investment it will be much easier to win support for your plans.

Clearly communicating the roles and responsibilities of the employer and the employee in caring for and managing wellbeing is key. This can happen on many levels from reminding employees about the role the organisation plays in building a better world, employee responsibilities for delivering the organisational values, through to the specific benefits and support provided through reward, recognition and other support.

Coaching, training and support for managers and involving employee champions to drive initiatives will also win engagement. There are many free resources and activities that can support your wellbeing initiative so thinking creatively will help.

A good wellbeing provider will add extra value here through their detailed knowledge of the marketplace. They’ll point you in the direction of free resources. But they’ll also support implementation of your activities with consulting, coaching and training capabilities to ensure a joined up approach.

Measuring your winning workplace wellbeing strategyStep 6: Measuring and reviewing

Celebrating success and learning from mistakes

With a clear vision, objectives and targets for your wellbeing strategy this step becomes much easier. It is important to celebrate success along the way and review as you progress, using both quantitative and qualitative feedback. Typical measures would include KPIs derived from the targets you set above, participation figures and feedback from champions and participants.

Winning workplace wellbeing learningStep 7: Refining

Once you stop learning you start dying

Following on naturally from the previous step it is important that learning is implemented and success built on. This is particularly the case if employees have provided feedback. If they see no action being taken as a result, then the credibility of your wellbeing plan will be diminished.

Improveon helps you, your team and your organisation transform performance through wellbeing focused consulting, coaching and speaking. Services include:

Contact us here if you would like a discussion about how we can help.

¹ 10th annual XpertHR Benchmarking survey

² CIPD Annual Absence Management Report 2016

³ Oxford Economics report Feb 2014, The cost of the brain drain.