11 February 2023

A Guide To Setting Up A Wellbeing Program In Your Workplace

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A Guide To Setting Up A Wellbeing Program In Your Workplace

Workplace wellbeing programs are essential for creating a safe, healthy and productive work environment. By implementing an effective workplace wellbeing program, you can boost employee morale, improve mental and physical health, better manage stress and create a stronger sense of purpose and community in your office. Workplaces with wellbeing programs have also been shown to benefit from a reduction in staff turnover and reduced absenteeism.[1]

Establish Clear Objectives

Establishing clear objectives is an important step when setting up a workplace wellbeing program. Think about what you and your organisation want to achieve and how that can be realistically implemented into your workplace. Consider these steps to help get you started:

The physical work environment
Is your workplace a corporate office, factory, retail or hospitality space, construction site or other? This will set the tone for the most urgent priorities in your workplace wellbeing program e.g. high risk environments where physical and mental risks, or mistakes are potentially life threatening.

The workforce
Do you have a number of entry-level staff or are the majority of your team managers? Are most employees full-time, or do you have numerous casual and shift work staff members? Understanding your employees gives you the ability to better tailor wellbeing initiatives that work with their schedule and job demands.

The industry
Employees in customer facing roles may be more at risk of verbal abuse or interpersonal conflict, while those in highly autonomous, isolated roles may have reduced access to training and support. Think about the industry you operate in and how this might effect the challenges and issues faced by your team.

The timing
To what timeframe do you want to plan out your workplace wellbeing program? If this is your organisation’s first attempt at creating and executing employee wellbeing initiatives, 12 months is a good starting point that enables you to plan ahead and measure the efficacy of the program after one full year.

The budget
How will you calculate or structure the investment of your wellbeing program? Will it be costed per person, per initiative (e.g. per workshop) per month, or as a percentage of your human resource budget? The investment structure you choose should ideally align with the objectives of the program and allow flexibility for growth and/or change.

Research Wellbeing Resources

When establishing your workplace wellbeing program, research what resources are available to you, the costs involved and how they can meet your wellbeing objectives. Websites like the Australian government’s Mentally Health Workplaces (https://beta.mentallyhealthyworkplaces.gov.au/) is a good place to start as are the following:

Get Buy-in From Management and Staff

Giving staff the opportunity to be involved in organisational decisions not only empowers team members but can also increase engagement and participation once the program is launched. A good way to do this is to put together 3-5 Wellbeing Program options and present them to your team. Ask everyone to vote on their favourite by putting their preferred option on a post-it note and placing it in a safe place like an ideas jar in a common area.

You can also ask what they like and dislike about the options, what they would change and what they would keep the same. This gives employees a sense of ownership and helps you develop and plan the program.

"Giving staff the opportunity to be involved in organisational decisions not only empowers team members but can also increase engagement and participation once the program is launched"

Measure The Success Of Your Wellbeing Program

Measuring the efficacy and effectiveness of your workplace wellbeing program allows you to continually assess, modify and improve the program so it continues to support and enhance employees’ wellbeing. A useful way of doing this is by running a Wellbeing Engagement Survey at the start and end of your program (e.g. 12 months) that’s designed using an evidence-based framework measuring a number of various outcomes including wellbeing initiatives. Surveys should be easy to complete (ideally using a fit-for-purpose survey tool), well laid out and provide both qualitative and quantitative data to allow future comparison.

References & Resources
[1] Baxter, S., Campbell, S., Sanderson, K. et al. Development of the Workplace Health Savings Calculator: a practical tool to measure economic impact from reduced absenteeism and staff turnover in workplace health promotion. BMC Res Notes 8, 457 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1186/s13104-015-1402-7

Did you know?
The Wellness Workshop’s Gold Wellbeing Program includes a custom Employee Wellbeing Survey based on the Perma +4 Framework for Work-Related Wellbeing. Each survey is custom created to suit your organisation, industry and work-force. The survey measures wellbeing across 9 areas including physical health, mindset, work environment and economic security, as well as demographic data – all of which can be compared annually. Surveys are beautifully designed using an online survey tool that can be accessed on all phones, tablets, laptops and desktops.

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