UK not converting growth into Wellbeing……
The UK was ranked in the bottom 25 out of 162 countries, when it comes to improving the wellbeing of citizens. The economics of wellbeing investment are well documented, showing that targeted wellbeing initiatives linked to the causes of impaired wellbeing can easily yield a return of £4 for every £1 spent.
At a macro level the Boston Consultancy Group showed in a recent sustainable development assessment that whilst the UK is making some progress in converting economic growth into the wellbeing of its citizens, progress is still slow and modest.
So what does this mean and can we take evidence based steps as organisations to improve this?
A starting point is to consider wellbeing as part of your core business model. Often organisations say ‘our people are our greatest asset’, yet they don’t always enhance the wellbeing of their staff. This may reflect that whilst organisations recognise the value in contribution terms that staff bring, leaders may not acknowledge that they have a role to play in promoting the wellbeing of staff. In this sense they may not think or believe that there is a corporate responsibility to actively promote wellbeing at work.
One feature that some leaders do now see in high growth or very demanding environments is what the risks of staff leaving would be upon the organisation. In some manufacturing environments or 24/7 service environments, a lack of staff availability means that existing staff are often asked to work longer shifts or 5½ or 6 day weeks.
Whilst the first step is to have a wellbeing strategy which states the principle and value of wellbeing to the organisation, such a statement becomes of real value when two things underpin it.
Firstly, having an evidence base of the current state of staff wellbeing, and second having a plan to provide interventions that directly addresses the issues arising from the evidence base. There are few areas that organisations make decisions on without evidence and there is every reason to adopt this philosophy with wellbeing. In our previous blog article, we offer some advice on what wellbeing programmes are and why organisations should be implementing them.
The really interesting feature we see is that when organisations tailor the interventions to the evidence, they begin to see two effects.
The first is the direct impact on staff on absence and attendance levels are enhanced with higher levels of effort and discretionary effort being attained. One of the biggest drivers is managers, who upon being trained to help improve the wellbeing of staff, see significant up lifts in productivity.
The second follows on from this last point – the organisation is more productive and is able to achieve growth or change targets.
Finally, a point to bear in mind – any wellbeing programme should be as holistic as possible – so without changing the way staff work as well as how they look after their physical wellbeing is unlikely to be effective.
For more information on workplace wellbeing diagnostic or interventions, please contact us.