Wellbeing has certainly become a priority for many businesses over the last few years, and rightfully so. What kind of approach should organisations take though? Our expert panellists advocate for a strategic rather than ad-hoc approach to be adopted.
To discover how this can be achieved and the associated benefits, we heard from Brian Crooke, Founder of Workplace Wellbeing Ireland, Aileen Bailey, HR Director with Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) and John Loftus, Communications & Employee Engagement Manager with BT Ireland.
Brian set the scene by discussing the necessity of developing a wellbeing strategy, while Aileen and John offered their experiences with implementing effective programmes within their own organisations.
1. Well-being has become a priority area for many organisations of late. While there is an awareness of the need to develop programmes, it isn’t always clear how to measure the progress when initiatives are implemented.
2. While many organisations find themselves offering ad-hoc wellness initiatives, a beneficial workplace wellbeing programme should be strategic in nature, involving long term planning and sustainable initiatives.
3. Brian advocates for a strategic approach involving committed leadership, a team of wellness champions, a data-driven approach and creating a high-level operating plan. This planning should inform initiatives implemented.
Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU)
4. Upon joining the organisation, Aileen found staff survey data indicated wellbeing was an area requiring attention. While initially implementing ad-hoc initiatives, after a year it was realised a more embedded, sustainable approach was warranted.
5. The HR Team in the organisation worked to create their vision for a healthy workplace and devise the necessary steps to realise their goal, in conjunction with senior leadership and staff.
6. After implementing their internally branded programme, benefits in terms of engagement and morale could be felt across the organisation. It was evident that staff now felt that their wellbeing was a priority area for the organisation.
Communications and Employee Engagement Manager
7. BT adopted the Healthy Place to Workframework to embed a culture of health into the organisation. Adopting the framework yielded benefits in terms of enhanced relationships with customers, increased net promoter score and improved internal survey results.
8. During the lockdown periods, the organisation maintained their commitment to wellbeing in a virtual setting. This would include a range of remote wellness initiatives but also virtual volunteering activities, an avenue that offers often forgotten wellbeing benefits.
9. Organisations should be aware that there are no quick fixes where developing a healthy culture is concerned. Programmes must be sustainable and tend to grow organically over time through staff input and consistent reviews.
What shone through in the accounts of all panellists was the need to be strategic, consistent, and patient when implementing a workplace wellbeing programme. A well-considered strategy can yield benefits for both employees and the organisation alike. It is through these mutually beneficial initiatives that we can create Great Workplaces for all.
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