Your investment in the health and wellbeing of your employees can be wasted if you don’t spend it wisely. By wisely we mean spending it on activities or events that don’t address the real needs of your people.
That there is a symbiotic relationship between health and performance is not news to most people we meet through the work we do with organisations around the world. However, many have to be convinced that they need to have a strategy in place. Switching from a purely tactical mode to a strategic way of working, is where you need to start, if you want to ensure your investment makes a difference.
The tactical mode
Being tactical is not hard but can be time consuming and a wasted effort.
The tactical mode is driven by a plan, a programme or calendar of events that promote health and wellbeing. This approach gives a lot of immediate feedback, and sense of success as the events themselves involve people and gives us a sense that we have achieved something. This approach is often referred to as event-based, as the programme of events being in place is what drives action.
There is a sense of satisfaction connected to a calendar full of events that activate an entire workforce. However, the problem that presents itself later is that no change in the health status of individual or organisational health factors has occurred, and you may not even realise.
Whilst you are happy that you have completed a series of events, that probably were fun and created joy in the moment, you cannot show any measurable change in health which shows you that the money invested gave some form of return.
This approach often fails to involve a representation of the workforce, and in some cases are the responsibility of just one person who has been tasked with the job. It often lacks a follow-up mechanism at the senior level of the organisation.
A strategic way of working
Being strategic means identifying long-term goals that needs to be achieved and normally requires more effort, more people and most likely a series of activities. By using a representative group, you ensure that everyone’s voice is heard, and the likeliness of your strategy being accepted by the people in the organisation increase.
Before you set your goals we recommend an assessment of employee wellbeing needs, and the health status of your organisation, so that the focus areas you select are the right ones. If you use an assessment tool that can survey your people at a regular interval, you can track changes in the health status over time.
This exercise of regularly collecting feedback from your target group, together with the identification of other key indicators such as productivity levels, performance review scores, attrition rates, and others, ensures that you use a data-driven, evidence-based approach. An evidence-based approach allows you to develop a wellbeing programme that meets the needs, address the gaps and the real health and challenges within the workforce and organisation.
The strategic way of working allows you to take a helicopter view on your organisation and ensure that you understand the health status of all units, divisions, departments, and geographies as well as different demographics groups.
So, is there really an “either or” in this case?
Well, on this occasion the answer is “NO”, you need to be both. Your tactics needs to be fronted by a strategy. When you have your strategy in place, you can start being tactical.
Our concern is that many organisations with a genuine commitment to to employee wellbeing feel that they are doing the right things, but in fact rely on a method that doesn’t allow them to focus on the real needs and risks within their organisation. This in turn means that they may in fact not achieve real engagement in wellbeing and may not make real difference.
To explore ways that Healthy Place to Work can support you building a Wellbeing Strategy, please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org .