Investors in People (IIP) have just launched a new award which they say will recognise those employers who’ve developed effective health & wellbeing strategies.
To achieve ‘The Health and Wellbeing Good Practice Award’, organisations must follow a framework, which the IIP have set out in a five-page competency-style framework. This basically boils down to:
- Identify what you’re going to do to boost employee wellbeing
- Ensure you have the resources to implement your wellbeing strategy
- Inform everyone in the organisation about what you’re doing and get them on board
- Ensure that managers are actually leading, managing and developing employees
- – and that employees feel they are doing this well
- Ensure that employees feel recognised and valued
- Encourage everyone in the organisation to get involved in the campaign
- Communicate what’s being done to meet employee needs
- Monitor the impact of the wellbeing campaign
- Keep at it and continue to improve
Health and wellbeing is part of the equation in helping people to flourish at work, so the award is to be welcomed if it leads to better practise. However, the IIP appear to be advocating a top-down approach in which leaders and managers come up with a strategy and consult staff on it, then expect everyone in the organisation to get involved in, and take responsibility for, implementing it – but only “at a level that is appropriate to their role”.
It seems to me that this hierarchical approach may help organisations fulfil the criteria for award status but fundamentally fail to improve health and wellbeing at ground-level.
Successful behavioural change – for surely that is what a health & wellbeing programme is about – means involving everyone. Involvement is not simply about telling them about the programme and hoping they will participate – remember the old adage about taking the horse to water?
Involvement means having a genuine dialogue with individuals at all levels:
- discussing the rationale behind having a programme,
- encouraging them to identify what their contribution to it means,
- and what they will gain (or lose) from it,
- developing the programme together so that it fits with both the individuals’ personal values and attitudes, and the organisation’s values,
- and so they trust the initiators, and managers of the programme.
So by all means, do enter for the award, you might get a nice logo to display. But if you really want to improve key performance indicators like employee engagement, ideas and innovation, morale and motivation, loyalty and retention, efficiency and productivity, then please consider how to make your wellbeing programme really work.
For help in organising and implementing wellbeing programmes and employee engagement, please email email@example.com
For a copy of the IIP’s ‘The Health and Wellbeing Good Practice Award’ framework see: