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Employee Wellbeing Q4 2023

What organisations should focus on to embed a wellbeing strategy

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Sophie Moran

KeepWell Programme Manager, Ibec

Significant progress has been made by organisations in establishing key health and wellbeing policies and support, but strategic alignment remains a challenge.

This year’s Ibec HR Update report highlighted the growing emphasis on wellbeing initiatives in the workplace — a trend we have been monitoring for several years. There has been no significant change since 2022 in the number of employers with a defined, holistic wellbeing strategy (21% have integrated one across the organisation).

Setting up a wellbeing strategy

Wellbeing is a broad concept, which touches many aspects of the employee lifecycle. Therefore, it’s understandable that companies can struggle with defining a focus for their activities. The challenge lies in demonstrating the value of what you are doing without having clearly defined objectives. There are benefits to developing a cohesive strategy, which outlines why and how your organisation plans to drive positive workplace health and wellbeing.

A data-driven approach

Creating a strategy forces us to look at all available data sources to establish a baseline view. This process involves reviewing key aspects that affect staff wellbeing (eg. psycho-social hazards, lifestyle factors, workplace stressors, etc.) along with measures of current performance (eg. employee satisfaction or culture surveys, health metrics, engagement scores, etc.) and the existing supports or initiatives in place.

Wellbeing is a broad concept, which touches
many aspects of the employee lifecycle

Measurable objectives

Once a baseline is established, defining measurable objectives to target the gaps will be easier. Objective-setting is an important step in developing any strategy. It forces us to consider the ‘why’ and provides an anchor to align our planned activities. Additionally, defining how you plan to measure progress towards achieving these high-level objectives is an important step. While we can measure engagement and satisfaction with individual initiatives, having key objectives, which align with the organisational strategy, forces us to take a big-picture view of health and wellbeing.

Challenges to embedding wellbeing

The survey also highlights that the key barriers to embedding a wellbeing programme were time constraints and/or restraint around resources and budget. This underlines some key considerations — the expanding remit of HR professionals, the need for continued training and development and the importance of being able to demonstrate value when investing in employee health and wellbeing.

The KeepWell framework offers organisations a structured approach to completing a baseline assessment of their current health and wellbeing practices and policies. It highlights gaps and key areas of focus, which can be tied to strategic business objectives. From there, organisations are supported to build a holistic health and wellbeing strategy, instilling a culture of continuous improvement.

For more information, visit thekeepwellmark.ie

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