Keeping Wellbeing Alive
In previous blogs I have written about the rationale, the planning and implementation of a great wellbeing programme, but what about keeping it going? This I have found can be one of the more common struggles organisations face when running a programme. As a wellbeing provider we often get brought in to initiate the launch and drum up some excitement. Continued responsibility is something organisations sometimes pass on to their HR team to manage or nominated employees, who by the way are often already stretched!
As is and always will be, organisations are here primarily to make money. You know as well as I do that wellbeing is fundamental to the long term success and even survival of any business. Year on year every single one of the companies we work with want to do more, higher KPI’s, increased profits and improved productivity. Unfortunately human beings are not evolving fast enough to meet this ever growing demand and there is unsurprisingly a compromise…… employee’s health and wellbeing!
In 2018 there was a record 15.4 million working days lost to stress, anxiety and depression. Whether you believe all of these are genuine cases or not we can’t argue that it’s not having an effect on our businesses. Many of the employees I encounter come to the agreement that some element of stress is part of their job. From a wellbeing perspective we need to ensure that this level of stress is controlled. If left uncontrolled stress can elevate and increase the likelihood of developing lasting mental ill health such as anxiety and depression, which should under no circumstances be “part of the job” Everyone should take some role in keeping wellbeing at the forefront of every business, after all, until the robots take over it us who need to keep going.
So who is responsible for making wellbeing work? In short, everyone! Organisations ultimately need to facilitate wellbeing, by that I mean make it so employees and all levels come to work and leave as physically and mentally fit and healthy as they were when they arrived. This may begin with implementing a policy and budget to show their commitment. Secondly I believe line managers need to be provided with training on how to be a good manager. In order to fulfill their responsibilities managers need to understand the importance of wellbeing, how to support their teams while safeguarding themselves.
Individual employees should be taking responsibility for their manageable health i.e. the areas of wellbeing they have control over. These areas include their sleep, nutrition, physical activity levels, engaging in conversations with their colleagues & managers and developing their own levels of resilience. Groups of employees can also be further empowered to support the wider employee network with the implementation of Wellbeing Champions. My preference is that voluntary or elected champions come from different areas of the business and at different levels.
Then there is us, the providers. One of the most rewarding part of the job for me is when I go back to an organisations and have an employee tell me that coming to work feels different. By no means is this an easy over night win but ultimately this is what we strive for. When I joined hero in November last year I was truly excited to know I would have the amazing support of my colleagues both making my work life better but also helping me to support our clients. The feedback has been phenomenal and through the joys of our wellbeing platform and of course twitter we get to hear all the remarkable changes employees are experiencing.
It’s vital to keep asking questions. The things that motivate, stress and engage your people is personalised and continuously changing. You cannot expect to keep running the same old content and expect to retain high engagement levels. Innovation is king, try mixing up the use of in-person services, technology, individual and group education. Ultimately, attending a one day training course will not change anything, doing a single health check will not change anything and sitting on a bike powered smoothy maker will definitely not change anything!!! Wellbeing at work needs to be a collective effort from all levels, top to bottom and bottom to top. A great place to start is with a Wellbeing Discovery Report.
Andy Romero-Birkbeck, Content & Delivery Director – Hero Wellbeing