Lastest news

It's time to create a culture of wellbeing in your workplace

Feb 16, 2019

It's no longer enough to offer staff healthcare cover when it comes to their wellbeing. Businesses have to step up if they want a happy, healthy and productive workforce.

With Ireland reaching almost full employment and your competitors offering tempting opportunities to recruit your staff, it is more important than ever to ensure your company offers more than just a pay cheque at the end of the week. A lot of companies offer health insurance cover and this is a fantastic initiative but companies who have a real culture of wellbeing go well beyond this step.

Improved workplace well being can lead to sustained improvements within the office, including increased creativity, improved employee loyalty, higher productivity and better overall customer satisfaction. In light of this information, many employers are now concentrating on workplace wellbeing initiatives.

So, how do you promote a culture of wellbeing in the workplace?

Culture Committee

To ensure you successfully introduce a wellbeing initiative within your workplace, you must ensure there is a well thought out plan in place with a group of people responsible for its succession. To ensure you have the right people behind this, you should advise staff that you are putting together a new committee to solely focus on employee wellbeing and engagement. Ideally, committee membership would be voluntary. The committee should be made up of a minimum of two people at any time. There should be a time-frame on the sitting of any members, such as six months. The committee will be tasked with coming up with new initiatives and organising different activities throughout their term to ensure a culture of wellbeing is being fostered.

Information

According to the findings by the Nutrition and Health Foundation (NHF), many of Ireland's workers want to become healthier and would like to see their employers playing a role in this. This could be as simple as providing information on general wellness ideas such as group walks after work, charity events like Darkness into Light, nutritional educational talks or articles, or following Operation Transformation. These can be done as team events or you could, where possible, allow some element of this to be included in the employees’ working hours. The key when starting off is to ensure the activity is realistic and achievable. You can always add new and bigger initiatives once you have mastered the smaller, more practical ones.

Communication

Encourage the committee to meet with employees regularly on a one-to-one basis and have regular group brainstorming sessions. The committee members need to make the other employees feel part of the process by listening to their needs and suggestions. If you feel employees would not be forthcoming with ideas, a good way to access unfiltered information and ideas would be through a staff survey where the results are anonymous.

Following the above points will result in creating a real culture that promotes employee wellbeing.

Caroline McEnery is the Managing Director of The HR Suite and HR and Employment Law Expert. Caroline is a former member of the Low Pay Commission and is also an adjudicator in the Work Place Relations Commission.