An employers’ guide to strategically managing employee wellbeing

If you take a look around at many businesses and their priorities in January, you’re likely to find that many leaders are finally identifying that improving wellbeing amongst their staff is high on their agenda this year – particularly with everything that has happened in the last 9 months!

However, the cynic in me wonders whether these leaders are just paying lip service to the trend,  as the savvy business owners and leaders among you have already realised that looking after your people as a business owner is a human, ethical and moral responsibility — and it’s good for business too! Higher staff engagement means fewer absences, lower staff turnover and far better business results. While most business leaders know this, they don’t always know how to do this!

It’s fairly easy to roll out some quick wins, like introducing healthier options in the staff kitchen or being sent to employees homes and fridges, organising lunchtime walks or online yoga or fitness classes to do as a team, and it’s true that these things can be successful. But if you want to make meaningful changes that will have long-term benefits, you need to think about how you can update your overall strategies and company culture for the better.

So let’s take a look at some of the areas that you need to be addressing within your business to improve employee well being.

Focus on prevention rather than cure

Poor health and wellbeing isn’t something that can be effectively managed by sticking an Elastoplast over the problem. If you’re serious about creating a healthier and happier workforce, then you need to start right at the very beginning. How can you help your workers to reduce the risk of common illnesses, ailments, and conditions?

There are many options here, though it’s worth noting that it’s often about taking a long-term view, rather than just dipping your toes into some quick-fix tactics. You may be able to organise annual wellness visits, for example, and give staff the option to be screened for things like breast, skin or testicular cancer and vaccinated against flu or of course Covid in the very near future.

Engage via education

You can roll out provisions that will make it easier for your staff to eat well, get their five-a-day, exercise more, and so on. But if you want to make long-lasting changes that are truly embraced, you’re going to have to go much deeper.

It’s important your staff understand what you’re doing, and what the benefits are likely to be for themselves as an individual and for the business and its future potential if they are healthy physically and mentally. The only answer here is education. Inform your staff, get them involved, and ensure they have a vested interest in the success of your wellbeing initiatives and how it will impact their lives for the better. Consider, for example, whether your staff know what their BMI is, and how they can make better decisions about food when they are in the supermarket.

Recognise that it’s not just an HR issue

You might think that employee wellbeing is just the concern of the HR team. If you don’t have an in-house HR team, you might think the only option is to bring in some external expertise. It’s true that some external help could make a big difference for you, but it’s vital you also look at the bigger picture.

Wellbeing concerns everyone in your workforce, from the business owners through to the new temporary recruit. It’s also an issue that needs to be tackled by each business team or function. When it comes down to it, every leader, manager and employee will have to play their role.

You may need marketing and communications support to ensure the messages are  well received. The finance team will have a vested interest in ensuring that projects are delivered within budgetary constraints. If you want to maximise your chances of success, you’re going to have to consider wellbeing as a business-wide issue.

Overall business strategy can be a hard thing to do, especially when existing ways of doing things are already engrained into company culture. Sometimes though, it’s worth going the extra mile.

If well-being is something that you want to get on your agenda, then you can come along to our next Zoominar on Friday 29th January at 10am where we will share our ideas to help you create your own employee wellbeing strategy. You can book your place here; Meraki HR Zoominar – Employee Wellbeing Or if you’d like some specific help in this area, you can book a virtual cuppa with me to discuss getting Employee Wellbeing well and truly onto your agenda this year – you’ll be glad you did!

Our Zoominar’s proved to be very popular last year, so we have set the dates and the topics for 2021 based on your feedback, so have a look at what’s coming up and get yourself booked onto the sessions most relevant or helpful for you. Meraki HR Events