We don’t usually need to spend much time convincing our clients that an investment in the health and wellbeing of their workforce is a sound investment, far from it. Most organisations that we meet understand that there is a symbiotic relationship between health and performance, and take the wellbeing of their staff seriously.
However, one major challenge for many organisations seems to be to switch from a purely tactical mode to a strategic way of working.
The tactical mode
The tactical mode is focussed on planning for activities and events that promote health and wellbeing and is often quite satisfactory as it feels efficient to start “doing” things. We call this approach “event-based” as the primary focus is on making sure that there are activities or events that promote health and wellbeing in place for the coming year.
Admittedly there is a sense of satisfaction connected to a calendar full of events that activate an entire organisation. There is also a sense of achievement when the events are successful and you have received positive feedback from participants who say they enjoyed the yoga session, fruit basket, pedometer challenge, or whatever you had decided to do.
The problem here is that your sense of achieving increased employee wellbeing is connected to the completion of an event, rather than improving the health and wellbeing of your workforce and your organisation. This is often the case as the programme of events implemented because of decisions made by a small group of people, in some cases only one person, and rarely with an understanding of the actual health status of the organisation and its people.
A strategic way of working
A strategic way of working would require more planning, a representative work group and most likely a series of meetings before you can start putting together your health and wellbeing programme. It will also require an assessment of employee wellbeing needs, and the health status of your organisation.
This type of diagnostic should be done at a regular interval, where the first assessment will provide you with a baseline of data on the status of workforce/workplace health, the follow-up will give you an indication of how the health and wellbeing of the workforce and the organisation is changing over time.
Regular feedback from the employee group, as well as the identification of key indicators ensure that you use a data driven, evidence-based approach and it allows you to develop a programme that meets the needs, address the gaps and the real health and wellbeing challenges within the workforce and organisation.
The strategic approach lets you see the global, helicopter view and ensures that all units, divisions, departments, and geographies are working in unison.
So, is there really an “either or” in this case?
Well, the answer to that question is “NO”, you need to be both. The tactical approach needs to be fronted by a strategy. Once your strategy is in place then your tactics can kick in.
Our point is that your wellbeing programme should not consist of a range of unconnected, individual, events and programmes but rather a deeply considered, data driven, evidence-based document that lays out the ways the organisation is going to move the dial to improve workforce/workplace health to drive organisational performance.
To explore ways that Healthy Place to Work can support you building a Wellbeing Strategy, please contact us on [email protected] .