What is wellbeing in an organization? It’s the same as wellbeing for any of us — only on a far larger scale. When we’re feeling well — and that goes for mentally or physically — we’re more motivated, engaged and positively focused. When feeling unwell we tend to be more negative, have lower energy, and be less productive and engaged. For businesses, there’s a bottom line at stake, and wellbeing plays a proven role: Accenture’s investment in wellbeing led to 8% increase in employee engagement; 9,000 hours’ reduction of absenteeism; and an increase in productivity of 3%. The Human Capital Management Institute found that companies who invest just one US dollar per person on wellbeing can outperform their peers and experience by a productivity gain of 11.7%.
Wellbeing is well worth it. Here are the four key starting points to planning a wellbeing culture that works for your organization:
- Know where you’re going. You need to know what you are trying to improve. There are many commercial benefits to improving wellbeing and any work should be linked to the strategic organizational objectives. Don’t bolt wellbeing on as an extra initiative. It’s as much about improving culture and operational ways of working as it is about raising awareness of how to improve individual wellness.
- Look at all aspects of wellbeing. This means setting a strategy that, over time, will consider the holistic elements of wellbeing: physical, mental and emotional and social.
- Obtain leadership support. No amount of effort on the part of HR or the wellbeing team is going to make a difference if the leadership team has not bought in. They need to be involved from the earliest stages and they to understand the role they need to play.
- Empower employees. Ask employees what would make a positive difference to their working life, and don’t limit the options to benefits. Ask them about how they want to work, and what else would help them to do their best. You may wind up with some creative and winning ideas, and your employees will feel heard, an important part of employee wellbeing in itself.
Demonstrating ROI may be difficult as you try to improve and monitor progress. But you may be pleasantly surprised. For instance: a large Australian fire and rescue service ran mental health training with their managers, and achieved an ROI of $10 for each dollar spent. The savings were simply due to less sick days being taken.
Whatever the aim of your wellbeing efforts, knowing your starting point is crucial and having a clear rationale behind it will create a more compelling purpose for others to take ownership and get involved. And they should be involved: Wellbeing shouldn’t be something owned by a central business function, but by every single member of the organization. Leaders often need to take the first step, but creating a healthy culture is something that should be owned by all.
Written by Natasha Wallace. Have you read?
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