How to make a business case for employee wellbeing

How to make a business case for employee wellbeing

7 practical steps to make a business case and gain buy-in to your wellbeing strategy

How to make a business case for employee wellbeing

7 practical steps to make a business case and gain buy-in to your wellbeing strategy

If you are looking to develop your employee wellbeing strategy, chances are that one of the first hurdles you will encounter as a wellbeing lead is getting others on board with the idea. Making a business case for employee wellbeing is essential for securing investment into your future plans and requires linking this investment to the outcomes you expect to achieve, both for employees and for the organisation.

If your organisation has a mature wellbeing strategy, it’s likely that a yearly budget will be set in advance, however wellbeing leads still often tell us they don’t have a pre-existing budget to work with, and so have to make a business case for individual wellbeing interventions to move forward.

So how to go about making a business case for employee wellbeing?

Whether you’re looking to secure a yearly budget, or to convince senior leaders in your organisation to agree funding for a specific wellbeing intervention, here are 7 practical steps we’ve compiled from our experience working with wellbeing leads.

Step 1: Connect your wellbeing strategy to the organisation’s wider vision, mission and values

Often stated within its website, and communicated internally, your organisation’s vision, mission and values is a helpful starting point to align your wellbeing initiative. Examples include ‘to be a leader in the industry’ or ‘to deliver a meaningful impact to the community’, both of which will undoubtedly be supported by an effective workplace wellbeing strategy. Consider how your approach will reinforce values such as respect, empowerment and innovation, for example.

Step 2: Set clear objectives

Organisations with a wellbeing strategy in place are reportedly at least twice as likely to achieve objectives such as improved employee morale and retention (CIPD, 2022). What are the organisation’s key objectives which workplace wellbeing will help achieve? Typically these could relate to the following five areas:

*performance – e.g., increasing revenue, productivity

*Reputation – e.g., thought leadership, ethical behaviour

*Talent – e.g., being an employer of choice

*Duty of care – e.g., ethical values, risk management, legal obligations

*Cost savings – e.g., switching to a more cost-effective provider, reducing sickness absence

Step 3: Define some key metrics

It’s helpful to compile a dataset which will allow you to track the impact of your wellbeing strategy over time. Some sources of data may be already accessible. For example, internal records such as sickness absence, Employee Assistance Programme data or utilisation of the OH service. If the data is not readily available, you could aim to collect it via employee surveys or tools such as the HSE risk assessment. You could also turn to external benchmarking offered by standards such as ISO.

Step 4: Outline your plan

If you are putting forward a business case for a long-term strategy, aim for a well-balanced approach, leveraging three types of wellbeing intervention:

* Primary interventions addressing the root causes of stress and ill-health – an example is wellbeing training for line-managers or adjusting shift patterns to allow for better rest and recuperation.

* Secondary interventions such as mindfulness and resilience training equip employees with the internal resources to deal with challenges and stress. Without addressing primary sources of stress however, they will most likely be ineffective, or even backfire.

*Tertiary interventions such as an Employee Assistance Programme or Mental Health First Aid training are necessary remedial measures providing support to employees once issues have arisen. They have limited impact when it comes to preventing problems in the first place.

When outlining the steps to include in your plan, consider prioritising those likely to deliver the greatest impact at the lowest cost – quick wins are key to securing buy-in further down the line.

Step 5: Plan for a pilot

Piloting your wellbeing intervention will increase your chances of achieving buy-in to your business. It will demonstrate that you are looking to mitigate risks such as potential failure by starting on a smaller scale, it will provide a period of learning and evaluation resulting in realistic expectations for the future. Finally, gathering data and feedback during this pilot phase will help you build the business case for a longer term, larger initiative.

Step 6: Build relationships

It’s important to nurture key relationships well in advance of presenting your business case. Aim to gather input from decision makers – what would be valuable to them? Ask for feedback on your presentation before you deliver it. This will provide you with the chance to clarify or adjust points to improve support once you are in the room.

Step 7: Present your business case

Aim to present your business case in a way that’s easy to understand and engaging. Data will be key of course but if you are able to tell a story, and touch on the human element of your plan, your presentation will be all the more powerful. It’s better to take questions throughout, enabling you to address them as they arise to keep the audience engaged.


As part of the work we are doing at SuperWellness we are developing training and a community of peers that will be truly practical and relevant for wellbeing leads. If this is something you would be interested in, please click this link to find out more.

Read previous posts:

3 common barriers facing wellbeing leads

The trailblazing qualities of wellbeing leads

Winning friends and influencing people as a wellbeing lead


x  Powerful Protection for WordPress, from Shield Security
This Site Is Protected By
Shield Security