What defines a successful workplace wellbeing programme? Answers may differ from one organisation to the other, but most people will agree that really, it’s all about creating tangible benefits for employees as well as the company. Closely linked to success is the need to build engagement, and as many have found, this is not a quick, easy or straightforward process.
The reality of implementing wellbeing
One of the greatest challenges faced by those who are looking to leverage the benefits of wellbeing is overcoming barriers to engagement. Often the employees who would benefit the most are the most resistant to participating. You may also find that everyone has different views on how to approach wellbeing, what topics to address and how to communicate them.
This can feel daunting if you’ve been tasked with implementing wellbeing, especially in the early stages. It might be helpful to know that the vast majority of organisations face the same challenges and that there’s in fact no silver bullet solution. Wellbeing is something that takes time to embed and, as we’ve found, it’s a combination of many different factors that, over time, creates success.
Over the course of several years working alongside our clients, we’ve identified six key factors which we have found to be effective when combined. Rather conveniently (and perhaps a tell-tale sign of my marketing background!) they form the acronym IMPACT. Below is a brief overview of all six attributes:
- Inclusive & diverse – both in methods of delivery and in content. It’s important to engage different groups of employees and we’ve found that topics that have been particularly successful have been around men’s and women’s health, in particular the menopause. Think about topics that will appeal to different age groups, for instance we’ve found that ‘eco-friendly eating’ has been popular with younger generations of employees.
- Measurable outcomes – whether it’s the benefits on individual health or measures such as employee turnover, how will you track how well your wellbeing programme is achieving its objectives? Without effective measurement, wellbeing is harder to justify and develop in a meaningful way.
- Planned for the longer term – engagement builds over time and those who are resistant to wellbeing activities may not be ready right now. If your wellbeing programme is providing a drip-feed of content over time, this puts you in a better position to engage more widely. Having a plan in place also makes wellbeing much more manageable. It can feel overwhelming trying to cover all bases with the awareness of the many health campaigns taking place each month. A plan allows you to focus on what’s important and you can still adjust it as your programme evolves.
- Accessible, fun & informative approach – no one likes to be preached at, so humour and a down-to-earth approach are important. A client we worked with in construction were a prime example of this. Before visiting the site near Glasgow, we carried out a survey and found that 40% of employees were against having nutritionists visiting onsite. Luckily their employer decided to press ahead anyway and organise some taster activities. When the employees realised that we weren’t there to give them a lecture, and that the programme had an element of competition and was fun to be part of, many decided to join and experienced significant health benefits.
- Champion-led engagement – wellbeing champions are often the missing link that’s required to build engagement more widely, identify the real needs of the workforce and break down barriers to engagement. Organisations are increasingly putting in place these networks of engaged individuals. With the appropriate support, they will play an essential role in ensuring wellbeing becomes and embedded, and authentic part of your work culture.
- Tailored implementation – no two workplaces are the same and the main question is: what do we need to do to get the best result? In some situations, communication options are limited. We frequently work with field-based employees who may be unconnected, or have time restrictions and it’s important to fit our approach around these limitations. Increasingly we’re working with global companies and the content has to be relevant and appealing across different cultures.
If you’re wondering where to start, or what to focus on next, our free Wellbeing IMPACT scorecard might help. Simply complete the 15 point questionnaire to receive a tailored pdf report highlighting which of these 6 areas to prioritise along with some tips and ideas to implement.
Click here to access the scorecard