Employee wellbeing – make sure it’s more than a tick box exercise...

Oct 15 2012

Our research, Health and wellbeing at work – where we are at and where we need to be, shows the large majority of employers have wellbeing on their agenda. However, many organisations don’t know where to start or what to do to really improve employee wellbeing and deliver return on investment for their business. In addition to this, many professionals who are responsible for wellbeing are time poor and have budget restraints. This means welbeing often moves down their list of priorities.

I attended a recent conference focusing on employee wellbeing and two things stood out to me:

1. There are still some organisations that treat wellbeing as a tick box exercise

2. More can be done to deliver return on investment

Let me give you an example... A senior HR Director talked about his approach to employee wellbeing. He was asked how he got buy-in from those at the top to provide employees with private medical insurance.

He said: “I’m lucky, I don’t have to get buy-in. The directors just get the need for it. They understand the importance of having people in work and therefore understand the need to help those who are off sick get back to work quickly, so I have never needed to make a business case.”

But he then went on to say private medical insurance is very rarely used and claims are very low because of the profile of their workforce.

There we have it. Private medical insurance is not adding real value to this organisation or its employees. In fact, the organisation is wasting thousands of pounds on a service that very few employees will ever need and very few will ever get to benefit from.

Challenge what has been done before In order to deliver real change we need to move away from treating wellbeing as tickbox exercise or a standalone activity, it is something that needs to be threaded through all talent management activities and that really becomes part of the culture. It is not enough to simply offer private medical insurance or hold one event or workshop. Only by understanding the challenges your people are facing, such as poor engagement and low energy, can you set your objectives. And these challenges change over time which is why what you offer needs to be reviewed regularly. In order to influence those at the top and really improve employee wellbeing, HR need to focus on what’s best for employees and what will improve business health. It is time to challenge what has always been done, review what people related initiatives are in place, start being innovative in our approach to employee wellbeing and not be afraid of change.

To listen to our October 2012 webinar, focusing on practical ways to tackle wellbein, please click here. Please email for a copy of Health and wellbeing at work – where we are at and where we need to be.