What is a wellbeing policy?

In short, a wellbeing policy supports the mental, physical, and financial health of your employees. Ultimately, it helps businesses grow a thriving workforce that operates in a safe and inclusive environment.

According to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), there are seven domains of workplace wellbeing.1 Though each domain is distinct, they share some similarities.

Because each company has different needs, the domains they prioritise vary. Nevertheless, a successful wellbeing policy in some way touches upon all seven domains, which are:

  • Health: Includes mental health, physical health, and physical safety
  • Good work: Prioritises work-life balance and comfortable ergonomic spaces
  • Values and principles: Promotes ethical standards, diversity and inclusion
  • Social: Nurtures strong working relationships, recognition and active listening
  • Personal growth: Encourages coaching, mentorship and development
  • Lifestyle: Supports healthy choices both in and out of the office
  • Financial: Eases the cost of living and anxiety about money

HR manager creating an employee wellbeing policy

What to include in your employee health and wellbeing policy

When developing a staff wellbeing policy, core elements include:

Health and safety policy guidelines

Legally, every UK business has a duty of care to protect their employees and visitors from injury.  In other words, this includes anyone who enters your working area or uses your equipment.2

Steps you need to take include, but are not limited to:

  • Conducting risk assessments
  • Offering training in accident prevention
  • Developing emergency procedures for fire and other major incidents

Initiatives that reduce workplace stress and anxiety

Fortunately, many organisations are making mental health a priority. For many years, wellbeing policies focussed on the physical health of employees. Mental wellbeing was an afterthought — or worse still, disregarded altogether. Over time, this attitude has changed, as we have a greater understanding of how stress and other psychological conditions, such as anxiety affect a person’s ability to function at work.

Nowadays, there are plenty of ways to support your employees’ mental health. One option is an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP). This service provides counselling services that range from legal and money matters to stress and grief. It’s helpful to think of an EAP as a starting point that directs employees to more long-term help.

Additionally, many businesses are turning to tech — or employee wellbeing programs, to help their teams care for their health. Perkbox, for example, provides top-quality content developed by industry-leading wellbeing providers. Moreover, because everything is accessible from a global app or an online portal, it’s available 24/7 — which is great for both in-office and remote employees.

HR manager interviewing a stressed employee

Learn more about how Perkbox can help you reach your wellbeing goals in our free brochure

Steps to cultivate a healthy culture

Wellbeing doesn't just begin and end with employees, it affects your culture too. A positive and healthy culture has a clear purpose, which gives employees an understanding of their role in your success. Usually, employers use a strategic recognition scheme to achieve this.

Recognition has many sources, though most employees receive it from line managers or peers. Before employee engagement programs, a simple thank you note over email was the simplest way of showing appreciation. But with the rise of instant messaging apps and recognition platforms, this is no longer true.

Recognition isn't just a way of showing appreciation — it’s a fun and engaging form of communication in its own right. With Perkbox, not only can employees send instant recognition messages, but they can also tag them to company values. This shows everyone exactly why their behaviour was recognised, which is great for company culture.

Training and development opportunities

Development programmes help your employees get better at what they do — that’s obvious, however, there are wellbeing benefits too. Upskilling your teams typically increases job satisfaction and productivity, while also relieving stress. Needless to say, these are all positive employee experiences that ultimately give rise to happier and more engaged teams.

Sustainable working hours and competitive benefits

We all know work-life balance is key to maintaining wellbeing. And this is especially important for employees who work overtime. For a lot of people, overtime is a useful way to make extra money. But at the same time, working extra hours increases a person’s risk of ill health if they don’t get enough rest. This is why overtime must be shared between employees.

Easing the cost of living is a pressing problem lots of organisations face — particularly if their employees are reporting a need to work extra hours. That’s why many are turning to comprehensive discount packages as a way to stretch salaries further.3 With Perkbox there are over 9,000 discounts and deals with leading global retailers, so giving back to your teams has never been easier.

Clear communication guidelines

Every organisation should aim for clear and transparent communication. Senior managers at the very least should update their teams whenever significant decisions are made. If they don’t they risk losing the trust and support of their direct reports.

Fortunately, engagement tools can help with this. Perkbox's intuitive comms platform keeps everyone on the same page. It uses engaging visual cards to share company updates, policies, social events, and more — all in one centralised location. This reduces the reliance on managers to cascade information to their teams.

Senior manager communicating with a junior employee

How to create an employee wellbeing policy

We’ve summarised how you can create your own wellbeing policy in four steps. 

1. Explain why you need to create or improve a wellbeing policy

This may seem like an obvious point, but to get senior stakeholder buy-in you usually need a business case, especially if an objective in your health and wellbeing policy requires a significant financial investment.

Obviously, the areas of wellbeing your business needs to focus on will differ from others, but to find your ‘why’ we suggest answering the following questions.

  1. How will improving physical and mental wellbeing benefit employee health?
  2. What are the benefits of positive wellbeing for the organisation?
  3. Why is wellbeing important to company culture?
  4. How will a new wellbeing programme help employees with wellbeing issues?

2. Set out your aims and objectives

You should spend a considerable amount of time on developing aims and objectives as they can make or break your wellbeing strategy.

Don’t forget objectives need to be SMART this means they are:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Realistic
  • Time specific

3. Keep up to date with industry trends and legislation

There’s more to wellbeing than just managing sickness absence. It’s a complex subject that is influenced by many employee experience touchpoints. Because of this, research is ongoing and you need to keep on top of it. As we’ve all seen with the uptake of hybrid and remote working, office culture can shift dramatically within a few years.

If you want to learn more about creating a wellbeing programme for your remote employees, our free ebook has some useful tips

4. Monitor your key wellbeing metrics

In your health and wellbeing policy, you must account for how you’ll measure success. Sometimes success is obvious and quantifiable — an example of this would be reducing your sickness absence rate by 2%. Employee feedback, however, is very useful for collecting more qualitative data. Polls, pulse surveys and town halls can all reveal what your employees really think about your new wellbeing policy. Of course, not all feedback will be positive, but constructive comments — when acted upon — can make your policy stronger.

Burned out employee in need of a corporate wellbeing policy

Why it’s important to have an workplace wellbeing policy

Many factors can affect your employees’ mental health and wellbeing. This is why a health and wellbeing policy is important, as it provides you with a framework to tackle numerous wellbeing issues.

But this doesn't mean your wellbeing policy should be reactive. Instead, you should think about how you can continually support your employees’ wellbeing so that they remain happy and motivated — investing in a wellbeing platform, with plenty of mental and physical health resources, such as what Perkbox offers is one way of doing this.

Find out how Perkbox can help you achieve your wellbeing goals

Employee wellbeing policy: your FAQs answered

What is a staff wellbeing policy?

A staff wellbeing policy documents an organisation’s commitment to the health of their employees. In the past, the purpose of a health and wellbeing policy was to minimise the risk of mental and physical injury at work. And while that’s still true today, modern policies make an effort to build an environment where employees thrive both in and out of the office. For example, instead of just focusing on physical and mental health, organisations are finding ways to nurture a healthy culture. This can look like increasing mentorship opportunities and coaching future leaders.

What should a wellbeing policy include?

How do you promote employee wellbeing?

Optimise your employee wellbeing strategy and prevent burnout

We've put together this guide to help you create the best possible employee wellbeing strategy.

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