On the whole organisations tend to be more reactive than proactive when it comes to developing a well-being strategy. In the CIPD’s Health and Well-being at Work Survey Report only two-fifths of organisations described having a standalone well-being strategy. The good news is whichever approach organisations are taking there does seem to be activity on the well-being front, as only one in six organisations are not doing anything to improve employee well-being.
Perhaps the most obvious shift people professionals can make is working towards a strategy in a proactive way, planned and defined. In our Workplace Well-being Strategy course we place planning at the forefront of conversations. Encouraging participants to define well-being, draft a strategy and explore current well-being models; plan, do and review at the core. That’s not to completely undermine a reactive or ad hoc approach, as many great ideas start out in this way; of course responding quickly to change also needs to be part of our game plan.
Simply setting up initiatives is not the be all and end all, but organisations often fall foul of this pitfall. When a strategy is in place plans can be acted on, structured and wide ranging. Most organisations described providing one or more well-being benefit to employees in the CIPD survey. Most offer some form of health promotion and it’s great to see that an increasing proportion provide employee support in the form of counselling services and employee assistance programmes. This is a timely reminder that initiatives might already be in place, just not recognised as falling under the banner of well-being. Maybe we need more flag waving activities to draw in the crowds.
Many initiatives can be provided with limited resources, whilst others might call upon significant people time and financial investment. Aligning to an organisation’s health and well-being strategy doesn’t always guarantee investment, if required. Decisions regarding the purchasing of well-being benefits are often influenced by this age-old currency.
With plans and initiatives in place it is important to start reviewing progress even if activity hasn’t yet reached full maturity. Evaluation is clearly an important step in the development of well-being programmes. But as we all know practice doesn’t always follow what we preach.
Perhaps a good place to start is the CIPD’s Valuing your Talent research, which includes – engagement index score, commitment, ill-health retirements, voluntary resignations, absenteeism rate, mental health well-being rate, employee assistance service usage rate and the quality of support received through these services. A neat framework that can also encourage flexibility.
The good news is that organisations who do assess the quality of well-being outcomes for those involved are much more likely to report that their activity has had positive outcomes, compared with those that don’t have such a rigorous approach to evaluation. Three-quarters of organisations report positive outcomes from their health and well-being activity. Typically reporting an increased number of achievements, better morale and engagement, a healthier and more inclusive culture and lower sickness absence. Good news that can help power up the planning.
Stuart Haden is a Programme Manager at the CIPD. Join him at Festival of Work to hear him speak on the Talent, Skills and Capabilities stage at 12:45 on 13 June.
The CIPD’s Festival of Work (12-13 June 2019, Olympia London, www.festivalofwork.com) promises to be a landmark event for both people professionals and business leaders. By focusing on the most innovative strategies in management, technology and learning, the festival will help you, and 7,000 of your colleagues, to harness the latest transformations and drive a human future of work. With 7,000+ attendees, 160+ inspiring speakers, filled with inspirational live experiences and challenging ideas, it’s the ultimate celebration of people in the workplace.