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Health and wellbeing – is your organisation a potential award winner?

Source: Public Sector Executive April/May 2014

Paul Devoy, head of Investors in People, discusses workplace wellbeing and the upcoming Investors in People Awards.

In an ever-stressful working environment, there are several factors that can take a toll on your people. In the recent Investors
in People Wellbeing at Work Poll, more than 50% of employees felt that their bosses didn’t care about their wellbeing, so long as they got the job done. And over a third of these people had already considered looking for a new job.

With low morale, stressed-out staff are more likely to take time off work. Our survey showed that stress makes ‘sickie’ rates soar: one in 10 Londoners have ‘pulled a sickie’ more than five times in the past year alone. Unhappy staff give less to the organisation
when they are there, and they’re less likely to stay with you in the long term – increasing your recruitment and training costs and
impacting on your ability to attract and retain the best talent.

The good news is that having the right systems and support in place can reduce stress levels, and increase employees’ motivation and commitment towards what they do. 51% of the people questioned in our survey said that health and wellbeing benefits provided by their employers had added to their overall sense of job satisfaction.

Whether it’s talking to your team to find a working pattern that fits for them, being more adaptable to their needs, encouraging regular breaks and exercise or simply showing your appreciation for their hard work, focusing on wellbeing can work wonders. Four in five employees would feel more positive towards their employer if they offered better health and wellbeing benefits.

However, for these benefits to have a really positive effect on your workforce, they need to be taken seriously and grounded in a
work-wide approach. 46% of stress is attributed to workload, according to The American Institute of Stress – so you may also need to make some broader management decisions, backed up with clear-cut policies and regular reviews of your people’s happiness and motivation.

Investors in People’s tips on creating a good workplace culture could help your business develop a healthier and happier culture.
Try incorporating some of the following 10 tips into your workplace:

1. Health and wellbeing policy: It is helpful to ensure that people understand the boundaries within which they work. A health and wellbeing policy developed by the HR department or a working group can assist in ensuring that these policies are known and understood by all.

2. Mission, vision and values: For health and wellbeing to be truly part of the company culture it needs to be built into the everyday working of the organisation. This might include references to health and wellbeing in the mission, vision and values to show the importance placed on support for people’s health and wellbeing.

3. Link capability/competence framework to health and wellbeing: Extend your frameworks to include the behaviours
expected from managers in managing their teams in supporting their health and wellbeing - for example, when people are absent, when people want to return to work after illness, when people want to work flexibly, or when people seem to be under excessive pressure.

4. Dignity and Respect policies: Link into national initiatives. The government has a number of schemes designed to help people give up smoking, exercise more and reduce their consumption of alcohol.

5. Relaxing areas: In high pressure working environments, provide an area or room for relaxing with sofas and comfortable chairs. Provide quiet areas for writing, away from phones etc.

6. Remember health and wellbeing in the appraisal round: When setting team and individual objectives, consider the impact of people’s work on their health and wellbeing - to achieve their objectives, what support or flexibility might they need?

7. Return to work programme: Develop a therapeutic return to work programme for staff who have been off sick for some time or even for those who have just taken some time off. This is a programme with a gradual increase in hours with regular monitoring of their progress.

8. Review meeting effectiveness: Review the effectiveness of team meetings in terms of working practices, management style and outcomes. Effective meetings help communication, morale and feedback within the organisation.

9. Tackle abuse: Adopt robust policies to tackle verbal/physical abuse or bullying from customers.

10. Improve the working environment: Issues should be identified e.g. improved air conditioning, improved chairs, better screen monitors, renovated staff room. This can improve motivation and improve performance.

And if you think your business has its culture just right, you might want to consider the Investors in People Awards, launched
for the first time this year. Any Investors in People accredited organisation can apply for a range of Awards, including Most innovative People Strategy, Excellence in Work-Life Balance, and Excellence in the Public Sector.

The deadline for entries has just been extended to 10 April.


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