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  • Writer's pictureFelicity Baker

How to Build Lasting Workplace Wellbeing

There has never been a more important time for employers to prioritise staff mental health and wellbeing. The impact of COVID, the cost of living crisis, amongst other factors, have pushed wellbeing up the agenda like never before. Employers have realised that they can no longer ignore the impact of stress on employee functioning and retention. With this explosion of interest in supporting employee wellbeing, we discuss how to build lasting workplace wellbeing and achieve sustainable psychological change.

Start with a strategy

A workplace wellbeing strategy is a systematic approach to building lasting employee wellbeing that is firmly grounded in the needs of employees. It responds to a deep understanding of the key sources of workplace stress and the wider impact of organisational culture on mental health and wellbeing.

Through understanding employees’ needs and challenges, organisations are able to take a coordinated approach to workplace mental health and wellbeing and design a targeted wellbeing programme that delivers interventions when and where they are required.

Steps to creating a workplace wellbeing strategy

Creating a responsive wellbeing strategy involves the following steps:

1. Assessment

A well-designed wellbeing assessment will identify the main sources of stress within your organisation. It will also provide important information about what your people need and want for improved wellbeing at work. This information is essential to inform the content of your workplace wellbeing programme.

A wellbeing assessment can take several forms, including staff survey or evaluation, focus groups, 1-1 meetings or regular review sessions. Whichever approach you choose, it is crucial that there is a systematic data collection process in place. You must also ensure that a representative sample of employees from across the organisation are included.

Conducting a wellbeing assessment gives employees a voice and communicates that you are serious about supporting mental health and wellbeing.

2. Programme Development

Information gathered through your wellbeing assessment directly informs the design and content of your wellbeing programme. This ensures that wellbeing initiatives delivered as part of the programme are responsive to the needs of your employees.

Taking a tiered approach to the design of your wellbeing programme, as recommended by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), ensures that a range of support and learning is available to meet the diversity of need across your organisation.

Tier 1 – organisation-wide approaches

Interventions at this level provide a foundation for good mental wellbeing and therefore should be accessible to all employees. These might include:

  • Providing accessible resources and materials aimed at increasing awareness and building core skills to manage stress and improve mental wellbeing, for example, factsheets, newsletters or staff support meetings

  • Implementing measures aimed at minimising sources of stress at work (e.g. workload reviews)

  • Providing all staff with access to regular 1-1 wellbeing check-ins and/or peer support interventions

  • Integrating mental health and wellbeing measures into procedures, policies and working practices

  • Allowing time and space for employees to engage with resources and connect with each other around wellbeing

Tier 2 – individual approaches

Interventions at this level target sub-groups or sections of the workforce and might include:

  • Group training and coaching in resilience and wellbeing skills for people who are at risk of developing mental health difficulties

  • Regular group mindfulness, yoga or meditation sessions

  • Training for managers in core communication and coaching skills to ensure they are equipped to talk with employees about wellbeing issues and signpost them to relevant support

  • Resilient leadership training aimed at equipping all leaders with the skills to develop personal resilience and to promote resilience and wellbeing in their teams.

Tier 3 – targeted approaches

At this level, employees who are struggling with mental health, wellbeing or personal issues are offered individualised support aimed at addressing their specific workplace needs. A wellbeing action plan developed in conjunction with the line manager or HR team might include targeted 1-1 interventions such as resilience coaching or staff counselling.

Professional support for leaders and HR staff providing regular space for reflection and skill development will ensure they are equipped and supported to respond to employee mental health and wellbeing challenges.

3. Evaluation

Remember, creating and maintaining wellbeing across your organisation is an ongoing process. A robust wellbeing strategy will include key performance indicators that can be measured at regular intervals, with evaluation and revision being part of the strategic process. Reviewing and revising your wellbeing strategy regularly will ensure it keeps pace with changing wellbeing challenges and needs within your organisation and will help to establish a lasting culture of wellbeing.

Help to build lasting workplace wellbeing

If you need help to create sustainable and lasting workplace wellbeing in your organisation, get in touch for a consultation. Our Thrive package incorporates all the elements you need to develop your strategy and start making a real difference to your employees.


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