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How to develop an effective health and wellbeing strategy

Promoting health and wellbeing at work is not just about free fruit and yoga. It is so much more. It’s about how your company demonstrates the value of their people, and how you will support them to lead healthy and fulfilling lives, both inside and outside of work.

Workplace health and wellbeing can be complex. Many companies decide to implement wellbeing initiatives in an adhoc way, without considering what their employees really need, and what might be most effective for them and their industry.

Whilst this approach may have good intentions, it may not necessarily lend itself well to creating a cohesive employee wellbeing plan, or strategy, which can be evaluated, tweaked and improved upon. A full health and wellbeing strategy guide can be downloaded here.

Developing a cohesive employee wellbeing strategy can help a company be clear about their objectives, where they may need to prioritise interventions and activity, and help them to think about how effectiveness is measured.

To help companies plan and develop their health and wellbeing strategy, Benenden worked with Jane Abraham, health and wellbeing specialist and Managing Director of Flourish Workplace Ltd, to create a useful guide, which outlines the key benefits of a fully developed strategy, and takes you through the five key development stages:

Five stages

Stage 1 – Planning your approach

Before you dive right in and start thinking of initiatives and developing an employee wellbeing policy, it’s important to think through and plan your approach. You should consider:

  • What are the main drivers for implementing a strategy?

  • What the employees want and need?

  • Who is responsible for what?

  • What is the current offering and are there are any gaps?

  • What are your competitors offering?

Stage 2 – Getting management buy-in

It is vital that senior management understand the value of a health and wellbeing strategy, to ensure you have support and designated resource and budget.

To secure buy-in you should present tangible data, with the necessary management tools in place to showcase results.  The most ideal data to use is your own as it’s relevant to your company and can help to build the case to support health and wellbeing investment. Some useful data sources you could use include:

  • Sickness records – to identify how much sickness is affecting your company and to identify the key causes of sickness.

  • Employee demographics – to identify any key wellbeing needs in each demographic.

  • Existing initiatives – use data from existing initiatives (e.g. Employee Assitance Programmes) to understand what and how people are using the service for.

  • Exit surveys or employee engagement surveys – to identify themes or trends related to health and wellbeing.

Stage 3 – Developing your strategy

Once you have buy-in you can develop your strategy:

1. Set out your vision and objectives – use your research to understand the key priorities your strategy can address. Break these down into smaller objectives if necessary.

2. Agree budget and resource needs – this will help inform your initiatives. Understand who is responsible for the delivery of the strategy and ensure that they have time in their role to dedicate to this.

3. Identify responsibilities and expectations – it is likely that there will be multiple people in the company involved in the development and ongoing implementation of the strategy. Identify who they are and ensure they are aware of their responsibilities.

4. Determine key metrics – understand how you will measure and show success of the strategy. As well as helping justify the spend and approach, it also helps identify if things aren’t working as well, and inform any necessary changes

5. Select relevant initiatives – based on your objectives and budget, brainstorm and agree the initiatives that will help you achieve your goal. Whilst it’s tempting to do it all at once, try to start small and ensure employee buy in until you see results and then expand it.

6. Find partners – it is likely that for some initiatives you will need to partner with external healthcare providers or even local charities. Review local companies, as well as larger providers to establish who is best placed to help you deliver your initiatives and meet your goal.

Stage 4 – Launching your strategy

Once the strategy has been developed and signed off, it will need to be communicated to employees. Some potential ways you could do this include:

  • Having a launch event including posters/emails/social media and employee briefings

  • Tie into national/external campaigns

  • Identify and use champions who can promote the initiativies

  • Communicate examples of real change 

  • Create and send a regular newsletter

Stage 5 – Review and refresh

Ensure that you regularly review the data and KPIs to check that you are on track. If something is not working, try to find out why and see if something can be done to improve it. Don’t be afraid to evolve and change elements of the strategy.

Use the data and take time to consider next steps and how you can improve year on year.

Review the full guide

Whilst it might seem a large task, it is clear that developing an effective health and wellbeing strategy is extremely beneficial to your company.

To find out more about the benefits of a health and wellbeing strategy, and discover further detailed information on how to implement each stage of the process,  download the full health and wellbeing strategy guide.

If you’ve recently implemented a health and wellbeing strategy and 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.