According to the independent review into workplace mental health commissioned by the prime minister and led by Lord Dennis Stevenson and Paul Farmer, Thriving at Work, poor mental health costs UK businesses between £33 billion and £42 billion a year. These figures are made up of absenteeism cost (£8 billion), presenteeism cost (£17 billion to £26 billion) and staff turnover cost (£8 billion).
In other words, businesses that fail to protect the mental health of their employees face significant and potentially devastating financial losses, which is why a proactive approach to mental health in the workplace is definitely recommended. One of the ways that businesses can better support their employees’ mental health is by implementing a workplace wellbeing strategy.
Here are five steps for creating a workplace wellbeing strategy that delivers stability for the business and the right support structures for staff:
1. Plan your approach
One of the biggest mistakes businesses make when implementing a wellbeing strategy is they dive right in without enough planning. As a minimum, consider these questions before you even begin:
- What are the main drivers for implementing a wellbeing strategy?
- What do your employees want and need?
- Who is going to be responsible for driving the programme forward?
- What do you currently offer and how is your new offering going to be an improvement?
- What do your competitors offer?
2. Secure management buy-in
By securing management buy-in, the business not only ensures it gets the budget it needs to make the wellbeing strategy successful, but also secures that much-needed senior level commitment to help drive the programme forward. This is important as it both highlights the importance of the initiative to employees and guarantees that the implementation has the greatest chance of success.
3. Establish a wellbeing team
A solid wellbeing team is crucial to the success of every company’s wellbeing strategy. While it is likely that many different individuals will be involved in the overall programme, there should still be a core team that champions the initiative, manages expectations and assigns responsibilities – and this team should absolutely include employees from across the organisation.
4. Communicate clearly
One of the biggest downfalls of many wellbeing strategies and programmes is that they suffer from poor communication. It’s simply not good enough to develop a strategy, implement it and expect employees to use it; chances are they won’t unless you clearly explain the drivers, the benefits and how they can take advantage.
5. Review and refresh
Once your wellbeing strategy has been implemented, it is important (as with any new project) to gather feedback and use relevant data to measure the effectiveness of the programme. This allows any issues to be identified and addressed. It also helps highlight the benefits of the strategy to senior management and underline the ROI realised.
Businesses that show they take the mental health of their employees seriously benefit from reduced sickness absence, increased morale, increased productivity and look more favourable to potential talent.
Interested in finding out more about products that help safeguard the mental health of your employees? Contact us today and we’ll be happy to discuss them with you.
I joined Premier Choice Group as a Healthcare & Protection Consultant in 2017, where I now look after the needs of over 200 clients nationwide. Prior to joining the Premier Choice Group, I worked for a large Private Healthcare Insurer, VitalityHealth, and managed SME and Individual clients across the country.