With the health of Britain’s workforce increasingly in the spotlight, the presence of a corporate health and wellbeing strategy can have a significant impact on business performance, writes Fiona Lowe, Westfield Health’s head of HR development and strategy
Health and wellbeing in the workplace has changed significantly over recent years. As the pace and nature of work has evolved, through technological advances and the blurring of work and home life, so has our understanding of the impact on our health and wellbeing.
New research regularly reveals the changing state of employee health and wellbeing in the UK. As reported in the Guardian, recent studies undertaken by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development found two-fifths of employees are reporting mental health issues; while, as Health Insurance Daily flags up, the links between sedentary jobs and the increased risks of heart disease, diabetes and cancer have been widely acknowledged.
Furthermore, the impact of employee health and wellbeing on a business’s bottom line is a growing concern. Employers face a yearly bill of around £9bn for sick pay and associated costs (Office for National Statistics, 2014), while a staggering 131 million days were lost due to sickness absence in 2013, costing the UK economy £100bn.
The introduction of a strategy which focuses on improving employee health and wellbeing along with a few simple initiatives can help employers to take a preventative approach to these issues. In time, this strategy can deliver significant benefits including reduced absenteeism, greater productivity and improved staff morale, engagement and retention.
Developing the most effective strategy for your workforce and convincing decision makers it’s a worthwhile investment can be daunting. And, if successful, it can be a challenge to implement and evaluate your strategy effectively.
Ideally HR managers need to have access to a support system to help them choose, implement and evaluate a health and wellbeing strategy that could make a real difference. This can be achieved by following a five-step process.
Step one: formulating your health and wellbeing strategy Consider your corporate goals, your current health and wellbeing issues and objectives, and your statutory obligations. Identify possible solutions for your workforce that will help you develop your plan
Step two: winning the business case It’s crucial to develop a business case that outlines the purpose of your health and wellbeing strategy, the resources required to deliver your plan and the results you hope to achieve
Step three: choosing your supplier(s) With so many different suppliers on the market there’s a lot to consider when choosing who to work with. Use a checklist of points to consider when searching for your preferred health and wellbeing provider
Step four: staff engagement A great employee wellbeing strategy needs to be effectively communicated if it’s to succeed. Employee engagement will ultimately help you to achieve your health and wellbeing objectives
Step five: measuring performance You need to be able to evaluate ROI in order to assess the impact of your strategy, whether your measurement of success relates to financial impact or the overall wellbeing of your employees. Identify the right metrics and present them professionally to decision makers
Health and wellbeing information from the IoD
In association with Westfield Health, the IoD provides members with access to exclusive health cash plans and health-related resources to help companies through the process and provide comprehensive guidance for HR professionals. To find out more, please call +44 (0)114 250 2385 or visit iod.com/healthplan