We co-hosted an event on Health and Wellbeing alongside Health and Wellbeing Inspiration and Growth and Change back in November. It acted as a powerful reminder that there is still so much for us all to consider in terms of keeping people healthy, well and in work. It was also a great opportunity for us to hear directly from our clients about their good practice and what health and wellbeing mean to them.
However, with the ‘Winter Blues’ feeling sweeping the nation since Christmas, we feel like it’s more relevant than ever to help educate employers on how to create a safe space for their workforce as we seek to make 2020 the happiest and healthiest year yet.
Here’s a recap of what we covered throughout the day and some key takeaways. We also provide you with a valuable tool to help you monitor how well your business is addressing employee health and wellbeing.
An Introduction to Employee Health and Wellbeing
We all know that organisations perform better when their teams are present, healthy and motivated. But, did you know that a massive one in six workers are dealing with a mental health problem and this can stop them from performing at their best? Or that the most common cause of long-term workplace sickness absence is mental ill-health (44%)?
It seems that despite the awareness around this topic, many businesses are still yet to identify or deal with mental health in the workplace.
However, although mental health is a huge issue in the workplace, this isn’t the only risk that threatens the health and wellbeing of our workforce. The term ‘wellbeing’ covers many aspects of the way we feel about our lives, jobs and relationships with wellbeing at work focused on everyday experiences with colleagues and management, how purposeful we feel and the work that we do.
The focus of our event was to provide attendees with the tools and knowledge to provide a safe workspace that prioritises health and wellbeing and to encourage those who need it to access the support available.
What does the research say?
Investing in the health and safety of your employees is more than just a legal obligation – it can help provide your business with a competitive edge.
Companies with high levels of wellbeing are said to outperform the stock market by an impressive 2-3% a year, according to Investors in People. This may be an accumulation of the many associated benefits of investing in health and wellbeing, including:
- Reduced staff turnover
- Reduced costs associated with absence and presenteeism due to ill health
- Improved creativity and innovation
- Better performance – improved customer experience
Happy staff equal happy customers! A report by What Works Wellbeing, found that staff who felt protected by working under good people management practices were “over three times more likely to have the lowest levels of staff sickness absence” in addition to having customers that were at least four times more satisfied!
With poor health and wellbeing having such an incredibly high financial price (absenteeism costs the UK economy a colossal £108bn a year) can you really afford not to act?
How does your business stack up when considering Health and Wellbeing?
Wellbeing can be a subjective topic as, honestly, there isn’t one cure-all. However, there are key themes that may support a positive and safe wellbeing culture and telling signs that flag when these aren’t being practiced appropriately.
In order to rate your business on its health and wellbeing, we suggest you take The Workplace Wellbeing Charter’s Self-Assessment to identify areas of weakness where intervention may help your business become better and stronger.
Applying for an IIP Health and Wellbeing Award can also help you demonstrate your commitment to the wellbeing of your staff.
Whether you’re a beginner to health and wellbeing or you’re looking to further your good practice, it’s important to consider how you can do more to manage health and wellbeing within your workplace.
What should we be doing to help manage health and wellbeing?
As well as having a good moral compass, helping your employees manage their own health and wellbeing stacks up for you too. A case study undertaken by the HSE found an 11% improvement in stress sickness absence with the successful implementation of management standards for stress. And that’s not all because improvements to their client’s management strategy and improved standards will be long-term!
You can start your journey by using the HSE Management Standards Indicator Tool to establish whether you should be doing more. They also provide a number of templates for you to use as a starting point here.
How can training help?
Many employers opt to take training courses to ensure they have practical knowledge of their employee’s health and wellbeing. If you have five or more employees, you are required by law to document how you manage risk within your business. This is commonly done by doing a risk assessment and actively acting on them with any paperwork you produce designed to help you communicate and manage the risks in your business.
HSE advises that Health and Safety should be first tackled by nominating a ‘competent person’. This person can be yourself, a co-worker or someone external to the business; however, the onus is always on the employer as it is their legal duty to oblige.
Appropriate training courses can be useful in helping you to assess and identify the unique risks that are threatening your employees’ health and wellbeing and teach you how to address these safely.
The Importance of well-designed jobs
A well-designed role can be beneficial to a person’s physical and mental wellbeing. This should include practical considerations such as the personal resources available, ensuring a realistic workload, reward systems and proper training.
How can employees help themselves?
A Wellness Action Plan (WAP) helps employees share what keeps them well at work and when and why they might become unwell. It helps to improve wellbeing by acting as an agreement between employees and their workplace.
Although it’s not a legally binding document, it can really assist in promoting a wellness culture. WAPs are for everyone, not just someone who has a problem right now.
Where to get more information:
Free HWBI Tool
Health and Wellbeing Inspiration can provide support to assess and develop your approach. They have kindly created an editable, FREE HWBI tool, which they shared with our attendees. Use it to learn from and to see if we can continue to generate examples of good practice or case studies for others to learn from.
Mental First Aid Courses
Mental First Aid (MFA) Training Courses teach you:
- About the issues that impact and relate to people’s mental health
- Practical skills that can be used every day, including how to spot the signs and symptoms of mental health issues and provide help on a first aid basis
- The confidence to guide people towards appropriate support and how to be mindful of your personal wellbeing.
If you’d like to gain more knowledge and insight on mental health, as well as practical tools on how to implement higher safety standards in your workplace, please contact Lou Harris via email:
IOSH Accredited Leading Safely Course
Aimed at Execs, Boards, Directors or anyone in senior leadership positions, our IOSH accredited Leading Safely Course provides you with the skills to lead proactively on safety, health and wellbeing. And, to help you fit it around your other commitments, it’s been designed so that it is only around 3 hours face to face time.