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How to choose the right initiatives for your health and wellbeing strategy

It has been well documented that creating a workplace health and wellbeing strategy can benefit both the business and the employee. The Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine states: “Participating in health promotion programs can help improve productivity levels among employees and save money for their employers.”

To help employers get these results, we’ve partnered with wellbeing specialist Jane Abraham to create a five-stage ‘Guide to developing a health and wellbeing strategy’. Our guide includes a full case study on how we adopted this framework at Benenden Health to create our own strategy and saw positive business results.

Creating a cohesive wellbeing strategy for your whole organisation can be a big task – and for many, one of the most vital parts is deciding on the initiatives you can introduce.

It’s a good idea to brainstorm ideas at the beginning, including employees from all areas of the business, to get as much input as possible from your workforce.

Find out how our business health and wellbeing services could support both your business and employees here.

When we did this process at Benenden Health, we held a think-tank session and created a long wish-list of the initiatives that we’d ideally like to introduce if we had no limits. We had suggestions like bring your pet to work day, sleep pods in the office and free fitness trackers for employees.

It can be helpful to group your ideas into different categories at this stage, so you know you’re covering all bases. Here are some suggestions:

  • Food and drink

  • Physical environment

  • Internal procedures

  • Line manager training

  • Social events and awareness activities

  • Access to professional help and support - for example an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP). EAP offers employees wellbeing benefits like mental health support which can positively impact on wellbeing

But unfortunately, it’s not possible to adopt every suggestion or solve everything at once. It’s important to be realistic about what you can achieve. Selecting too many initiatives can become overwhelming for employees!

Starting with a small focused list of initiatives makes it easier to review what’s working, refine what isn’t and gradually expand your list as it provides value to your company. So once you’ve made your long-list, it’s time to start cutting it down and deciding what to prioritise.

  • Review against your objectives – Rank each benefit or intervention against how it can help to meet your objectives, and ultimately your vision. If it is unlikely to really help your objective it should be removed from the list. Our blog ‘Choosing objectives for your health and wellbeing strategy’ gives more guidance on this vital stage

  • Review against budget – As you are likely to have a finite budget, review your popular most relevant initiatives against potential cost, and savings, to understand the best combination within your budget

  • Can you measure it? – Consider how you could calculate and demonstrate the impact of interventions and benefits. Some you can’t, but if you can measure it then do so

  • Can everyone access it? – If you are multi sited, or have differing age groups, make sure that everyone can access what you offer. If not, what could you offer to them instead? Perhaps only some employees are able to work from home, but others may be offered flexible hours to help promote a work-life balance

  • Ask employees – This will help you understand their preferences on initiatives and how likely they would be to use them. Anonymous surveys may be more likely to generate honest feedback than face-to-face brainstorming ideas or team meetings

Choosing the right initiatives is critical to ensuring that employees are engaged with your wellbeing strategy. But don’t forget – the other key stages are just as important.

The Benenden Health case study in our employer’s guide highlights some of the positive business results we saw from following the framework throughout the guide. Download our guide today to find out how you can adapt the stages to meet your company’s needs and get the same positive results.

Find out how our business health and wellbeing services could support both your business and employees here.