Strategy, strategy, strategy – this was the overriding theme from many conversations we held at the Health And Wellbeing @ Work conference in the NEC earlier this month. Senior executives from numerous sectors – finance, health, education, construction, recruitment, local government – all had strategy on their minds when they stopped by The Wellbeing Project’s stand. But although strategy was uppermost in their minds, not everyone was coming at it from the same angle.
Those we spoke to tended to fall into three camps.
First, there were the companies that were already running wellbeing initiatives in their organisation and wanted to know what was and wasn’t working. These organisations were typically multi-site operations with local approaches to wellbeing and now they were seeking to make it more streamlined, re-thinking the projects that weren’t performing and implementing a wider rollout of those that were successful.
Secondly, there were organisations that had wellbeing programmes in place already – the leadership team could see their value and now had an appetite for a greater sophistication in what they offered to the workforce.
The final group were starting from little or nothing and, faced with a blank canvas, were working out how to begin putting a strategy together. And a health at work conference with more than 150 exhibitors is a very good place to start.
Given the focus on strategy, it is unsurprising that those who talked to us were senior in their organisation – HR directors, OD consultants, HR business partners and the occasional finance director – and each of them talked about recognition from a high level that people were their biggest asset. Restructures, acquisitions, change programmes and redundancies – all of them were taking a toll on the workforce and senior management acknowledged that this needed to be addressed.
A failure to do so could result in staff becoming unwell and taking sick leave or presenteeism whereby their productivity would be much reduced. It could also result in people leaving the organisation, taking with them a wealth of knowledge, not to mention the interruption to business continuity and how expensive they might be to replace.
The recognition that it is far more sensible to look after a workforce that is being expected to do more with less is welcome. We live in straitened times but this has a knock-on effect in terms of wellbeing, creativity and productivity and organisations that recognise this are forward-thinking and wise. The organisations that take the long-term approach, keen to help their teams develop resilience and maintain their physical and psychological wellbeing, will reap the benefits because one thing’s for sure – the road ahead is likely to have a few more twists and turns.
What lies ahead for you over the next 3, 6 and 12 months?
What does this mean for your people?
What support and resources do you have in place to see you through this?
Our Wellbeing Audit helps organisations to shape and build a robust wellbeing strategy. If you’d like to commission a sample audit, we are running a special offer of a free ID for a team of up to 15. To register, please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org