Wellbeing: tips for starting a workplace programme

 

Following on from our What the heck is “wellbeing”  article, here are our tips for starting a wellbeing at work programme.

 1. Don’t rush it

With so much to go at, it’s tempting to rush into a wellbeing programme and start kicking-off initiatives left, right and centre.  But if you want your wellbeing programme to have traction and longevity, and not be written off as just another HR fad, it is worth taking the time to do your research, think it through and plan the implementation up front.

2. Before you set off, work out where you are

Before setting out on your wellbeing journey you need a clear idea of where you are starting from.  You need to establish a baseline from which you can identify your priorities and measure your performance.  Good ways to establish this baseline include:

  • Collating as much wellbeing data from existing source as possible, such as: sickness absence rates and costs, accidents/incidents, referrals to Occupational Health, employee retention, amount of training and the results of appraisals.
  • Conducting an employee survey.  To  provide the data you need to form an effective baseline and identify priorities, the employee survey needs  to be wide-ranging, covering areas  such as:   physical health (BMI index), smoking and alcohol consumption, exercise,  motivation and recognition,  work load, working environment,  relationships (colleagues, managers), communications,  mental health (stress, anxiety) and work life balance
    There are now a number of proprietary wellbeing surveys available that cover the whole of the  agenda and can be tailored you organisation.
  • Benchmarking against a published wellbeing standard, such as the  Wellbeing Charter 

3. Develop your own wellbeing programme and priorities

While published wellbeing standards and frameworks can be really useful, you don’t have to be constrained by them.  There is merit in working out what wellbeing means for your organisation and developing your own programme, based on a Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle.  Equally, the wellbeing agenda is so large and wide-reaching, it is difficult to address it all at once. From the baselining exercise you will be able to identify what the priorities are for your organisation and what areas of wellbeing you want to focus on.  You don’t have to do it all at once.

4. Make sure you mean it

You will have a greater chance of success if you and your organisation recognise that wellbeing is a strategic programme.  The implications of this are:

  • it is long-term, i.e. it needs to be planned, funded and sustained over a number of years;
  • it should  be to be integrated into the overall business plan, rather than an HR add on, so it should be clear how the wellbeing programme relates to the overall business objectives;
  • it will need support, buy-in and engagement from across the organisation.

5. Gain top level commitment and engagement

This item appears at or near the top of the “to do” list for any change management programme, and it’s particularly true for wellbeing.  It is important that the Chief Executive and the senior management team:

  • understands what wellbeing is all about;
  • recognise its place in the strategic plan;
  • are willing to endorse it and lead by example.

Things that help with this include:

  • developing a clear business case for the programme;
  • collating peer information – what similar organisations have done or are doing;
  • using appropriate communication to engage senior staff.

You need to be able to give a clear and credible answer to the question “How is the wellbeing programme going to improve our bottom line?”

6. Identify and involve your stakeholders from the start

If people are involved in planning and designing the programme, they are much more likely to actively support it.  Key groups that you may need to think about include:

  • Senior managers
  • Frontline managers
  • Health and Safety and Occupational Health staff
  • Staff
  • Unions

Take the time to do genuine consultation from the start, i.e.  “This is what we are planning, what do you think?”  Give serious consideration to setting up a Wellbeing Project Steering Team, with representation from all the stakeholder groups, to lead and co-ordinate the programme.

7. Get the communication right

Successful wellbeing programmes depend on the engagement of a large number of people, so good communications is critical to success.   Tips include:

  • Take the time to work out a clear and easy to understand statement, free of HR -speak,  of what wellbeing means for your organisation.  You don’t even have to use the word “wellbeing”, for example, BT branded their programme “Work Fit”.
  • Use language and messages that are appropriate to your audience and its culture – what might work in a desk-bound call centre probably won’t resonate on a construction site.
  • Make an effort to make your material relevant and engaging – there are an awful lot of terminally dull wellbeing policies out there – make it fun, human and inspiring.
  • Use a range of media and methods to get the message across – face-to-face, social media, intranet, newsletters, email video.

Mental Health Awareness for Managers – Worcester February 2017

The next venue for our popular Mental Health Awareness for Managers course is Worcester in February.

Date 14th February 2017
Location Worcester County Cricket Club
Course fee £220 per person

Delegates enjoying mental health training eventThis course is designed to help managers promote the mental well-being of their staff and support employees who may be experiencing mental health problems.

Mental health problems, such as stress, anxiety and depression, are one of the top three causes of sickness absence in the work place today.  Managers and supervisors have an important part to play in addressing this issue – their behaviour has a significant impact on the mental wellbeing of their staff and they are likely to be the first people to be involved when problems arise,

Through a lively mix of discussion, personal accounts, videos and case studies, this course equips line managers with the knowledge they need to promote good mental health in the work place and support staff with mental health problems.

 

The  course covers:

  • The costs of poor mental health at  work.
  • Overcoming the stigma of mental health.
  • The common mental health conditions – what it is like to experience them, their symptoms and treatment.
  • Mental health at work and the law.
  • What makes for good mental health at work.
  • Managing for good mental health.
  • How to support staff with mental health problems.
  • Absence management and

Who should attend:  Managers and supervisors with responsibility for staff, HR professionals.

To book you place online click here or call us on 01386 839427.

We can also run this as in in-house course course, please call for more information.

How stressed was Business Expo?

expo-2016We had a great day manning our stand in the Wellbeing Zone at Hereford and Worcester Chamber of Commerce’s Business Expo on 6th October.   As part of our work promoting good mental health at work, we invited visitors to our stand to complete a short questionnaire designed to gauge the levels of stress they were experiencing in their daily lives.  The results are shown below:

expo

The good news is that over half (55%) of those who completed the questionnaire came out with low or moderately-low levels of stress.  It was no surprise that around half of those with the lowest stress levels were retired.  What did surprise us were a couple of individuals with quite stressful jobs, e.g events management and social work, who had very low levels of stress.  It goes to show some of us are just more chilled and stress-resilient than others.  

At the other end of the scale, 18% of the visitors came out with high or very-high stress levels.   When we talked to these people about their stress we found that around half of them were experiencing some form of personal trauma , e.g. a recent bereavement.   In the others their stress was more long-term and work-related. 

Most of us can cope with elevated levels of stress for reasonable periods of time, e.g. a month or two, without any adverse effects.  However, stress becomes unsafe when it is long-term or when it starts to impact on our daily lives.  Long-term stress can result in a range of emotional, physical and behavioural symptoms, including:  moodiness and irritability, aches and pains and frequent minor ailments, and insomnia and increased use of alcohol.  It is important that employers take steps to ensure their employees and are not subject to unreasonable levels of stress, not least because they have a legal duty of care.  It is also in the employer’s interest to address the issue: stress is a major cause of sickness absence and when an employee is signed off with stress it is likely to be for an extended period -the average is 23 days.  Long-term stress can also lead to other conditions such as anxiety and depression, and eventually burn-out. So, prevention is most definitely better than cure.

Enable Works Ltd provides training to help employers and employees manage stress.

Mental Health Awareness for Managers course

In November we are running a one-day Mental Health Awareness for Managers course.

Date: 29 November 2016
Venue: National Star College, Ullenwood, Cheltenham, GL53 9QU
Cost £190

Mental Health for Managers trianing course image.Mental health problems, such as stress, anxiety and depression, are on of the most significant causes of sickness absence.  Managers and supervisors have an important part to play in addressing this issue – their behaviour has a significant impact on the mental wellbeing of their staff and they are likely to be the first people to be involved when problems arise.

This course equips managers and supervisors with the knowledge, skills and awareness they need need to better manage mental health in the work place and support staff who are experiencing mental health problems.

The  course covers:

  • The costs of poor mental health at  work.
  • Overcoming the stigma of mental health.
  • The common mental health conditions – what it is like to experience them, their symptoms and treatment.
  • Mental health at work and the law.
  • What makes for good mental health at work.
  • How to talk to staff about their mental health.
  • Real-life case studies.

Who should attend:  Managers and supervisors with responsibility for staff, HR professionals.

To book you place online click here or call us on 01386 839427.

We can also run this as in in-house course course, please call for more information.