Implementing a Workplace Health Strategy
In our previous article we looked at ‘building the business case for wellbeing’and stressed the importance of collecting health data from within your organisation on both the business and its people. Hopefully, by now you will have secured management buy in and are ready to move forward on building your workplace health strategy.
Building a strong workplace health strategy that yields a healthy return on investment isn’t rocket science. A well thought out strategy should be based on cold hard facts and not a finger in the air exercise offering short term solutions.
Every organisation is unique and there is not a ‘one strategy fits all’ solution, however, there are generic elements that should form the basis of your programme and help you achieve great results in a relatively short time.
Use your data: The data collected in ‘building your business case for wellbeing’ should form the starting point for your workplace health strategy, It’s no use offering ad-hoc mental health training or free fruit in the hope that you will create a healthy, happy and performing workforce.
A holistic health strategy should align to the metrics of your people and business and address key issues rather than just be a ‘nice to have’.
Build your tribe
Team work is the cornerstone of effective programme delivery. Not only will involving key people create unity and offer different perspectives to the programme, it will also ensure accountability and programme engagement.
A well thought out workplace wellbeing team should ideally include: a member of SMT, human recourse, health and safety, occupational health and your union along with staff from across the business (think cleaner to MD).
The most successful workplace health programmes have a senior management sponsor championing the programme and leading by example so make this a ‘must’ in your strategy.
Models of wellbeing
Keep it simple but effective. An effective workplace health strategy should include several pillars of wellbeing such as: physical, psychological, social, environmental, financial and intellectual.
Having these key 6 pillars in which to build your programme will enable structure and consistency and help create a comprehensive wellbeing programme that people want to be part of.
Having a strong recognisable brand for your health programme will help build engagement and make the programme memorable. Link it to the company name or have an ongoing theme such as: Bewell, Besocial, Befit or Workwell, Sleepwell, Eatwell. Create a #hashtag, to make it fun and engaging.
Communicate your vision for a healthier workplace with consistency. Clear and effective communication will enable your vision to become reality. Test which channels work well for you, for example: Intranet, notice boards, newsletters, on weekly meeting agenda, posters, wage slip advertising, team meeting.
Workplace health policy
Ensure your current policies and procedures support your new health and wellbeing strategy and highlight the roles and responsibilities of both the individual and the organisation. It is important to show your commitment to the programme through a clear and consistent message.
Make sure your programme is targeted and gets results. Where possible align key activities to national days such as National Stress Awareness Day, Mental Health Day, Movember and Walk to work week. Linking to National days will not only help build momentum of your campaign it will also give you access to free marketing campaign materials.
It takes time, effort and knowledge to build a healthy and productive workplace but with consistency and structure it is achievable for any organisation no matter what size.
Ensure your employees are part of the journey and do the programme with them not to them. Finally, health improvement shouldn’t be a chore, make the programme fun, engaging and memorable
This article was first published in Mad World News in April 2019