Helping a health organisation to find the best possible resources to support staff physically, emotionally and mentally in order to increase staff satisfaction and organisational benefits.
Undertaking a review of the existing and potential resources available, alongside ‘best practice’ from research, this included a workup of the primary, secondary and tertiary interventions that were available or could be implemented within the organisation (1). This work emphasised a change in mind set as the organisation had up to that time, had a very tertiary approach to employee wellbeing, and a big emphasis on physical ‘fitness’ to work; this tertiary approach was very much about dealing with a ‘problem’ at the stage where something has happened, after an event. I wanted to help them take this in a direction that meant they were putting things in place to prevent problems in employee wellbeing from, and that they were effectively signposting and supporting staff to help themselves.
This work has top level buy in, an important factor in changing mind sets. A virtual Wellness Centre was constructed, a process which brought together all of the elements of Occupational Health, Employee Assistance Programmes and Health Promotion. We also drew on existing forums in place for staff to feed in improvement suggestions, raise queries etc to feed back up to managers within the organisation, as one of the pieces of the Centre would be engaging with staff more around what they could do to help overall wellbeing within the organisation. The programme looked at how best to tackle the issue of wellbeing from both ends; bringing together a common approach and a living example of “Well Managed, Well People = Well Organisation”. This therefore meant the design of protocols for addressing wellness within policy development, building up a portfolio of classes (yoga, pilates, massage etc) and work with local businesses to secure discounts (gym membership, health & beauty treatments etc) to support staff to access wellbeing interventions. The programme also included a review of the organisations compliance with HSE guidelines, and go beyond these to create a holistic approach to wellbeing and happiness at work (2) in order to maximise benefits for both staff and the organisation.
The programme stretched across the organisation, engaging all departments to ensure that there was consistency of message and approach, raising the profile of wellness to the point where all departments, when considering new schemes that could affect staff, talk about the potential impact on wellbeing.
A lot of the work in building this programme helped to identify existing good practice and initiatives happening in pockets and consolidating them and sharing them widely within the workforce.
Wellbeing became an objective of each manager across the organisation. Top-level buy in from the executives supported this and it became integrated with other policies and practices across the organisation such as appraisal systems. This programme resulted in the organisation gaining a Work Health and Wellbeing Hallmark from their local authority (council), and helping other organisations across the City, by sharing good practice.
• Make wellness/wellbeing a core part of business activities and not a one off event
• Introduce wellbeing across a variety of forums and channels, creating a ‘trail’ for this within policies, practice, everyday conversation
• Include staff, get them taking responsibility and help them share their own good practice with colleagues and the wider organisation.
• Get senior level buy-in; role modelling form the top is important, and getting on the agenda at board level will give it clout.
1. Wren, B. & Michie, S. (2003) Staff experience of Health Care System. AbuAlRub, RF. (2004) Job stress, Job Performance and Social Support among Hospital Nurses. Journal of Nursing Scholarship. 36(1): 73-78, March 2004; Robertson Cooper, 2004
2. Warr, P; (1978, 2007) A study of Psychological Wellbeing; Work, Happiness and Unhappiness.