Implementing an effective employee wellbeing strategy is a vital component of business success. The impact of world events on Mental Fitness and resilience, changing cultures of work, the growing narrative of ‘The Great Resignation’ and changing attitudes towards work all make wellbeing more and more necessary. And more and more high performing companies are showing how wellbeing is a driver of innovation, performance and growth.
You can read more about the key steps to take in implementing a strategy here.
Another key to delivering an effective strategy is making sure it includes the 5Cs of success.
The wonderful folk at the What Works Centre for Wellbeing commissioned a wider ranging systemic review of existing research into what helps deliver a successful workplace wellbeing strategy. Working in collaboration with the ESRC, The University of East Anglia and The University of Sheffield, the study reviews 74 pieces of research covering 86 workplace initiatives.
Some of the topline findings are that it’s vital to create or nurture a climate of optimism, to implement adaptive systems to support wellbeing and to feed back into the organisation so everyone knows what is working and sees the success of the strategy unfold.
The 5Cs of a successful employee wellbeing strategy
Overall the study distils its recommendations into the nicely memorable 5Cs of success.
Weaving communication about wellbeing into the everyday life of the organisation to reinforce the message that it’s important and show how different activities are part of the same strategy. This can be through new formal structures (wellbeing meetings, intranets, newsletters) and by talking about wellbeing in all the existing channels, forums, meetings that may take place.
Integrating all the different elements of wellbeing within a wider programme, and making these part of the governance of the organisation. For us at Cognomie this is about balancing the ability to personalise wellbeing to individual needs by offering a range of tools that might include profiling, transformational coaching, apps, support for physical health, flexible working, building wellbeing into assessment and performance and other measures suggested by employees themselves, and integrating these under a coherent umbrella within the organisation.
Like any organisational change project, successful implementation requires navigating any challenges the project might face, from lack of buy-in, to scepticism, to low participation or other demands on people’s time. Success in this can mean anything from full commitment and backing from senior levels of the organisation to stakeholder management and relationship building at all levels to finding the right balance of employee involvement, along with the usual mix of perseverance and tenacity!
This is about building on what is already there in the organisation (whilst avoiding replicating any current practices that are part of the problem for wellbeing). Integrating wellbeing with existing management practices, health and safety structures, evaluations and appraisals, grafting wellbeing into the organisation and existing workplace norms rather than creating something separate and ‘bolted on’.
This is where the strategy constructively challenges the elements of workplace norms, structures and behaviours that are toxic to wellbeing and replaces them in creative ways with new ways of thinking, behaving and working. Challenging long working hours, changing practices of flexible working, addressing cultures of bullying and creating cultures of inclusion and empowerment. Transforming the business with creative thinking and leadership from everyone, not just senior teams.
From our own Cognomie perspective , we might add a 6th C…
We think any strategy should be tailored around the individual, allowing them to choose from a range of options and personalise the approach to their own needs. One solution isn’t going to work for everyone, one size never fits all. Building a broad range of options into your wellbeing strategy that can help different people meet their needs is an integral component of our approach.
For us here at Cognomie this rigorous study is a reminder of both the complex and challenging nature of bringing a wellbeing strategy to the heart of the organisation, and the vast benefits to individual and business performance when this happens. It’s a reminder of how it involves developing, evolving and transforming the capabilities and skills of everyone involved in creating a culture of wellbeing.
Read the full report
If you’d like to dive deeper into this study, you can read the full study here.
Want to take this further?
Not got a Wellbeing Strategy, or you’d like to learn how we can help you make your existing strategy work harder, then we want to help you.
If your organisation is aiming to be in the vanguard of putting Mental Fitness at the heart of organisational development and you’d like help to take this further, we’d love to talk.