Fads are bad for wellbeing

I’m often surprised when companies implement wellbeing programmes and interventions just because the same activities have worked for other organisations.

Companies blindly adopt others’ strategies or simply implement whatever a consultant or supplier peddles without examining how it fits with their particular organisation. Surely the better approach is to determine the needs of the organisation and its workforce, which includes taking account of the diversity within the company, and then selecting and applying the solutions that best match the requirements for each group of workers?

I was reminded of the importance of this targeted approach when I attended the All Party Parliamentary Group on Wellbeing Economics at the House of Commons this week.

Sir Robin Wales, the Mayor of Newham (one of the most deprived boroughs in the UK) spoke about the work that his London borough was doing to help its residents build personal, economic and community resilience through programmes which focused on the development of personal skills, community networks, and the creation of economic opportunities.

Contrasting with this big picture perspective, Cllr Jim Hakewill, the Mayor of Kettering Borough Council (a relatively affluent area with high levels of employment), spoke about the initiatives that reduced residents’ daily hassles, encouraged prosocial behaviours, and supported its rural communities.

Despite their completely different approaches, both boroughs were achieving good levels of wellbeing.

So what can businesses learn from this? Consider what your objectives are, be consistent in how you ask your workforce for their opinions, understand their requirements, and work with them to implement the solutions that matter to them. If you want help to steer your way through the hype, email gill@unisonmedia.co.uk

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