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How to create an effective vision and objectives for your health and wellbeing strategy

When creating a health and wellbeing strategy it’s important to ensure you have a clear vision and objectives as to what you are going to achieve. Not only does this focus your time and budget on initiatives that will help your employees and your business, but it will also enable you to monitor and report back to senior management on the strategy’s success.

But, agreeing your final objectives can be difficult, especially as you may be keen to try and solve everything at once. It’s important to start small – focus on what the specific health and wellbeing issues are at your company, identify how these align to the overall business objectives, and then use these to create your vision and objectives.

To help you develop and agree the key objectives for your health and wellbeing strategy, here are some tips to help you collect the right data and developing effective objectives

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

Research and identify key issues

Sickness records. Look back over sickness records from previous years to try to understand: what is the main cause of time off? What type of absence resulted in the most time off? What were the median days taken off sick? This will help you identify the key trends or issues to focus on.

The demographics of your workforce. Are they getting older? Do you need to consider how old or young they are when you are deciding which benefits to offer? Or their gender and ethnicity?

The local environment. If you live in an area where you recruit from the local population, are there particular health risks in your area that you should be aware of? Local health promotion teams can help you here.

• Whether you have occupational health or income protection, review usage data to understand what people are being referred for and what the cost of use is.

• Likewise, if you have an employee assistance programme or counselling service, look at the reports. Do they tell you what the common reasons for their services are?

• Read through the last few years’ worth of exit interviews and drill down into them for any themes or trends relevant to health and wellbeing. For example, perhaps ex-employees cited poor work-life balance as one of the contributing factors to their decision to leave.

Engagement and employee surveys are really good ways to measure how employees feel about work and provide a regular source of data that can be measured over time.

Health assessments for the workplace are readily available and can provide a rich source of information about your employees’ lifestyles, behaviours and what could be most effective in improving their health and wellbeing.

• One other option could be to interview current employees for their views. This could be done by way of one-on-one interviews, focus groups or anonymous questionnaires.

• What other benefits and wellbeing initiatives do you offer? Are they being used and can you use any data to understand what element of your workforce is using them? How much do they cost and are they working?

• Look at any accident and injury data you might have. How many claims have there been? How has this affected insurance premiums?

Create your vision and objectives

From your data, you should be able to identify some key priorities that your strategy can address. Use this information to develop the vision and direction for your health and wellbeing strategy.

Agreeing the strategy’s vision

Ideally the vision should also relate to the overall goals of the company therefore it is important that you are aware of what these company goals are.

With these goals in mind consider which ones could be affected by employee health and wellbeing. For example, if your business wanted to reduce employee absenteeism by 25%, your strategy’s vision could be focused on ‘having the healthiest employees’ which can be achieved by helping employees stay healthy or return to work quicker if they have been struck down by an illness.

Agreeing achievable objectives

Once you have your vision, you should develop and agree a set of smaller objectives that, together, will help you achieve this vision.

It is helpful to break these objectives down into smaller time periods e.g. year one, year two, year three, or short, medium and long term. This helps to keep your objectives focussed and easier to manage. Remember that some interventions can take a long time to be effective and create change which is why it is important that each objective has a specified timeframe.

Be realistic about these objectives. Is the outcome more important than the behaviours and culture that you want to achieve? If they are too unrealistic the strategy runs the risk of creating undesirable behaviours that generate more of a problem. Consider mental health for example. If the goal is to reduce mental health absence, some managers may focus on the absence target rather than creating the right culture where people feel comfortable about talking about their mental health. Perhaps the target could be to ‘reduce the stigma about mental health and raise awareness’ in year one?

Review your objectives on an ongoing basis

Once you’ve launched your strategy, it’s important to get into a routine of monitoring the strategy against these objectives. Create reminders to regularly review the data and KPIs to check that you are on track.

If something is not working find out why and what could be done differently. If it still isn’t working after a period of time, change it.

 To find out more about the benefits of a health and wellbeing strategy as well as further information on the five key stages in developing an effective strategy, download our Guide to developing a health and wellbeing strategy.

 If you’ve recently implemented a health and wellbeing strategy at your company and have any tips or success stories you can share, let us know on Twitter or LinkedIn using #healthandwellbeingatwork

To discover how Benenden could support your business with our health and wellbeing services please call 0800 414 8179 or click here.