Starting a health and wellbeing programme for your employees involves much more than just implementing random acts of kindness which will only improve employee wellbeing short term.
To create a programme that effectively promotes workplace wellbeing long-term, it takes a great deal of planning and dedication especially from the senior team.
Read our step by step guide on how to implement the best long-term programme to benefit every one of your employees: -
Step 1: Evaluate what you want a Workplace Health & Wellbeing Programme to achieve within your business
Before you start to even think about designing A Workplace Health & Wellbeing Programme, you must evaluate what result your business desires. Think about what type of improvement to your employee wellbeing you hope to achieve and identify where your business lacks physical and mental health support. By having clarity at this stage, it will allow you to measure its success!
Knowing what goals, you are striving for will also help you budget and gain the essential commitment from the senior team.
Step 2: Create a Plan of Action
Like any plan, it must identify and document key elements to help you both measure success and get by-in from the senior team:
What wellbeing programmes will you use? There are many different options. Group seminars or presentations to your employees with wellbeing techniques are often where most Corporate or larger organisations will start. Staff surveys where you ask your teams to provide their views of what changes or improvements can be made are also a really good way of getting everybody involved at the early stages of planning. You could opt for a full needs assessment where you employ an external expert to look at the health of your workforce. They will look at ensuring teams have the right training e.g. for manual handling for their warehouse role or how long employees are expected to sit at their computer - they will assess the 'risk' of your employees becoming mentally unwell from work related issues and document a full list of recommendations for improvements.
How will you monitor effectiveness? For example, you could ask for staff feedback or even track absence records if that is one of your goals.
Longevity of the plan – how long will it run before you evaluate progress.
Who is in charge? – It seems obvious, but if you do not document roles and responsibilities of this type of programme then it can get easily lost from their day to day action list.
Are you going to use an external agency? – If part of your plan is to run workshops for mindfulness then unless you have a team of trainers in-house, we would always recommend using an external agency. They will have all the tools readily available to run successful workshops from the word go from promotional material to team exercises and presentations to support these workshops. Typically, courses are run across an 8-week period by accredited mindfulness teachers in small groups usually around 20 employees. Techniques including breathing training, overcoming difficult situations, mindfulness based cognitive therapy and so on!
Step 3: Avoiding Conflict and Delays
Stress, depression and anxiety are common workplace mental health problems. Before implementing a Workplace Wellbeing Programme, we would suggest you look at your current workforce to see if you have employees that potentially are already experiencing distress. To do this you can ask your senior team:
- To identify anyone within the workplace who has been diagnosed with mental health problems;
- Whether they are comfortable discussing mental health and happiness at work with their teams;
- Be open and spend the time to listen. Often the person who is feeling unhappy already has gone past being able to talk about what the issue is whether it is within the workplace or an issue from home. By organising half an hour one-to-ones with all the team members each month, it gives each person a chance to get a problem off their chest before it escalates.
Step 4: Implementation
Your new Workplace Wellbeing Programme is now signed off and you are ready to implement your chosen programmes. Make sure the team are in place and start slowly to avoid the people implementing the programme from feeling overwhelmed. Remember, for a mindfulness programme to work, the senior team need to have fully bought in to every element as they will be the voice of the programme and how you will quickly understand any conflict or employee issues.
Step 5: Evaluation
There is absolutely no point in implementing a programme of any kind if you do not then have time or the financial commitment to evaluating its success. Tracking the performance of the programmes you have chosen is crucial to meet your overall aim of improving the workplace environment for your employees.
To measure effectiveness of each individual element of your Workplace Wellbeing Programme you should:
- Gain feedback from employees who have used the programme. Find out whether they have found a workshop useful or maybe the extra ½ hour lunch-break awarded to employee of the week has improved morale of a specific team or the smoking cessation workshops you have organised was well attended. You can do this by asking your employees to complete a satisfaction survey.
- Assess productivity levels by looking at workflow patterns; bottom line; sickness absence and overall staff morale. These provide strong evidence for whether the business has benefited.
- Ask the senior team to highlight any issues on a weekly basis using the weekly management meeting as a platform even if it is under AOB. It is their job to not only ensure their teams understand what is available but also to manage any negativity on the shop floor.
What kinds of programmes can you implement?
It doesn’t matter what the size of your business is – everybody will benefit from some form of Workplace Wellbeing Programme and it doesn’t need to be a huge business expense or need to be full mindfulness Programme.
We’ve seen lots of smaller ideas from our clients some which we have even implemented here at Noble Recruiting to make our workplace a happier environment:
Encourage teams to take their full lunch break – we ask our team here at Noble Recruiting to at least move away from their desk to have their lunch. We’ve provided an area where the team can chat and eat in a more relaxed environment. Stepping away from work gives people time to reorganise their thoughts and recharge.
Pay Day– the whole team can take an extra ½ hour on pay day for their lunch break. Actively encouraging them to go out for lunch.
Restricted Access to Emails out of the office – when the office is closed work stops. However, remote working during working hours can be deemed a benefit if you need to work from home when your children are poorly.
Other ideas from our clients:
Gym membership – a great benefit but often kept just for the management team. By introducing free or discounted gym membership to your whole workforce it motivates them to be physically fit which can also help with mental health.
Health checks – many large corporate companies offer physical and mental wellbeing health checks. To extend this to the manual workers you can address any lifting or handling issues and ensure the correct training is implemented to avoid employees suffering any accidents at work.
Eat well, feel well – A healthy diet promotes a healthy body and mind! Rather than taking the team to the pub why not have a free fruit bar available to encourage 5-a-day!
Socialise – Bringing employees together to take part in an out of work free activities encourages teamwork and team bonding. Plus, friendships across the teams will only lead to better productivity. Regular staff initiatives like Terrarium Workshops at the local garden centre, bowling or a racing night will help build a successful workforce.
These strategies will all help create the perfect work-life balance for your employees!