There is no magic pill when it comes to unlocking the benefits of a mentally and physically healthy organisation. One of the challenges (and major upsides!) of a good wellbeing program rollout is the level of personalisation that can have a real impact on the individual needs of employees to boost their productivity and engagement at work.
For this reason, it is really important to have a well-rounded, flexible wellbeing and rewards strategy that provides care for a wide range of immediate and long-term health goals.
Recent research by RMIT has shown that 46% of managers feel they are having to overpay new hires and 40% of existing employees feel the new hires lack the experience or skills to effectively do their jobs. It has never been more vital to retain and support your existing staff.
An effective wellbeing program is a great way to achieve that goal, whilst also building skills and capacity within your organisation. Moreover, by addressing individual health concerns and delivering personalised programs focused on the evidence-based pillars of wellbeing, such as sleep and diet, an organisation can improve its overall performance and reduce health-related productivity losses.
It is important to remember the outcomes we’re looking for with a wellbeing program can take some time to manifest. This is especially true if you have not had wellbeing services available in the past. Like prepping a canvas before you start to paint, getting the base layer of wellbeing in balance underpins good performance.
Many people don’t realise that almost half of all Australians are living with at least one chronic health condition [link “chronic health condition” to your own article about how to deal with chronic health disclosures] . One in five are living with chronic pain. One recent study also found that one in five Australians aged 18-85 suffered some kind of mental health challenge in 2021 alone. Whether you know about it or not, you definitely have staff grappling with one of all of these challenges.
So what makes a good wellbeing program?
1. GOOD PROVIDERS
It is important to understand your provider’s clinical model and their policy towards vetting the healthcare professionals who will be providing services to your team. The user experience and onboarding experience also needs to be consistent with your employees’ expectations – there is only one opportunity to make a first impression.
2. RELIABLE CARE
Continuity of care is essential, so making sure that those providers are going to be available for a reliable length of time is also important. The program should provide a consistent team that will be available to meet the personalised needs of your diverse workforce and provide pathways for culturally and linguistically diverse services.
3. DIVERSITY OF SERVICES
Everybody and every body is unique. A one-size-fits-all solution is not going to do the trick. You need a provider with a broad array of services that can custom-fit each of your individual employees. It is also important that the services offered are flexible and can fit in with the lives and schedules of your employees.
4. DATA SECURITY
Their policies for handling clinical records, maintaining confidentially and how personal information will be collected, shared, and secured.
Co-founder and Managing Director of [cu] health, Danny Mann says:
“Just like any other project, a wellbeing program requires planning, marketing, and thoughtful consideration to deliver the desired outcomes. A well-designed onboarding experience and having effective collateral to share with employees ensures the program gets off to the best possible start.
“ At CU Health we have found in most organisations, six weeks is an appropriate timeframe to establish a working group and cover all the necessary steps including pre-launch activities, building the healthcare team and other fundamentals needed to launch.
“We suggest providing a single point of contact who oversees logistics and communications internally with IT, legal and other departments, helps streamline the implementation process and increases the program’s chances of success.”
Employees simply knowing their employer cares and has made a convenient and valuable service available can have a large impact on them, especially if the services are independent and employees are well educated as to what’s on offer. Articulating the purpose and value of the new benefits and being consistent in that messaging goes a long way to a successful implementation.
If senior management are seen to appreciate the value and support offered by the program, employees tend to feel empowered to engage with the program and the program has a better chance to break through any pre-existing stigmas.
“We have really focused on making a good first impression. Our standard approach is to sit down with representatives to prepare a change management plan and frequently run it past them to ensure it aligns with their expectations.
“We find value, particularly with clients with more than 1000 employees, in engaging with key opinion leaders or champions prior to launching with the whole company. This group typically are responsible for the wellbeing of teams within the organisation and can influence and amplify key messages regarding the service.
“With this group, we focus on contextualising the intention behind the decision to make the services available. These sessions also provide early access to the healthcare professionals who will be routinely available and provides an opportunity to address any questions.”
Helping your people to find sustainable and long-lasting solutions and strategies for managing health issues shows care, breeds loyalty, and improves the diversity of your staff, whilst also allowing you to reach peak performance.