Well-being at work: More than a benefit, a genuine business strategy

December 5, 2016 Geoffroy De Lestrange


When it comes to well-being in the workplace, many employees are still not satisfied, and one key reason is because their company lacks a proper well-being programme.  


Yet, a study from the Health Enhancement Research Organisation this year revealed that companies who adopted a well-being strategy not only demonstrated better financial performance, but also had a better capacity to retain employees and attract new talent. According to this study, companies that prioritised the well-being of their employees saw a return on investment of 235% on average.


Even if you are not ready to launch an internal well-being programme right now, you can take certain measures to initiate the journey towards making well-being an integral part of your business, simultaneously improving your employees’ health and your company’s financial results.


  1. Focusing attention on the health of your employees is a cultural change, not just a programme


By definition, a programme involves a plan of action aiming to reach a specific goal. Employees’ wellbeing though is continuously evolving and there is no set “achievement” date. Companies need to modify their way of thinking and place their employees’ health at the top of their priorities list. Culture is the accumulation of all employees’ behaviours and is the means for instigating change, so you have to start with the basics. The most important first step towards implementing a well-being strategy at work is to implement a tailored talent management system.


  1. Transform the work environment


It’s key to identify the work environment areas that could be altered to promote healthy behaviour. For example, think about that bowl of sweets on the reception desk: all of the employees who pass by it can take some. The day when the sweets are replaced with fresh fruit, habits inevitably change. Colleagues always have something to snack on but their health is protected. These little changes can build out to a much larger workplace culture change over time, and create a healthier work environment overall.


  1.  Treat colleagues like clients


Often HR concentrates on rules and regulations. When it comes to the well-being of employees, a simple email will not be enough to grab their attention and ensure everyone participates in something. The message has to be personalised to each employee. Rather than applying a blanket approach to all, HR should treat colleagues like clients, and “sell” initiatives to them. This could be done by working directly with the internal communications department for your “client”, ensuring they can help effectively communicate your message. You could also create a discussion group or “well-being committee” to define your staff demographics and determine the best way to communicate to them.


  1. Get permission from the top


Implementing an employee well-being programme is only possible through winning the support of management and directors. Clearly that is easier said than done and in many cases you have to start from stage zero, but that does not mean that you shouldn’t try at all. It simply requires a little time and the full support of your peers


Start rallying this support with one department, division or office. Advise these colleagues to recommend the notion to management and have them demonstrate how they will immediately benefit from it.  Don’t forget what Philippe Laurent the work happiness specialist once said: “managers are the levers for happiness at work.”


While it may take time to get a full program in place, taking small steps will quickly help you achieve the broader goal. Having a well-being programme is not just for the employees; it’s to better the performance of the company too. Good luck! 


About the Author

Geoffroy De Lestrange

Product Marketing & Communication Director EMEA at Cornerstone OnDemand

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