In the current climate, it is becoming increasingly more important for organisations to focus on supporting employee mental health and wellbeing. Many organisations are beginning to implement mental health and wellness strategies using wellness tools to improve their employee’s productivity and increase their bottom line.
After all, the CIPD states that the proportion of companies raising awareness of mental health across the workforce increased from 31% in 2016 to 51% in 2018. The CIPD have also stated that organisations who have health and wellbeing activities in place had better employee morale and engagement (44%), a healthier and more inclusive culture (35%), and lower sickness absence (31%), than those who do not.
There is clearly a growing enthusiasm and acceptance of mental health in the workplace, and many organisations are acting fast to get ahead of the curve.
What this does mean though, is that plenty of organisations are jumping the gun and getting it completely wrong. This results in employees feeling their workplace wellbeing programmes don’t work, and that they just aren’t effective.
Why is this though? To begin looking into this problem, we can start by comparing physical health programmes, which are well understood, to mental health programmes. If you were to implement a physical health program would you buy everyone a membership to a running club? Would you then wonder, ‘why hasn’t everyone attended?’.
Would your next move then be to buy everyone membership to 5-a-side football sessions and begin to wonder why you’re spending so much money and not getting the results?
If this is so obvious with physical health, why do we feel we can do the same with mental health? Mindfulness and yoga are great tools to assist but may not be best for everyone.
Thing can also get very expensive, very quickly!
If you want to implement a plan, you need a real strategy. Below, we outline 3 steps which can help you to achieve this.
Step 1: Gather Mental Health Data
The first step is to define what the current state of mental health in the organisation looks like. This includes looking at theemployee engagement data, and understanding exactly how employees feel, both in terms of their overall mental health and wellbeing, and their response to any potential programmes that may be introduced.
Organisations then need to understand what exactly it is that is wanted in the organisation, and what kind of programme they would feel most comfortable engaging in. Remember, this will probably be different depending on the organisation and industry.
From the organisation’s point of view, they need to understand where the most improvement can be gained. If the marketing department for example, are feeling sleep deprived, it is obvious that is a major point to address, to improve their productivity and general output.
Wellbeing technology, such as HR analytics tools, have a major part to play in this whole process, and can be used to dramatically improve the understanding of where best any wellbeing program should be introduced.
Step 2: Deploy interventions, release materials and provide constant access
After completing an initial assessment of the organisation, and the employee’s potential response to wellness programmes, the next stage is to start raising awareness of wellness programmes by using email campaigns, announcements of new releases, and other wider awareness campaigns.
Other ideas to raise awareness may include:
- Using portals to provide constant access for employees
- Using tip cards or conversation cards to place information around the workplace
- Testing different sessions in different areas of the company.
Remember, the same way that all employees don’t have a ‘one size fits all’ solution to improving wellness, each organisation will be different too, and react differently to different programs and ideas!
Once the baselines are established, you should then begin to use wellness technology to invite people to the events and interventions you have created. This will allow you to keep track of how many have engaged and, more importantly, how many haven’t! You can use this information to style different events for different kinds of people in the organisation, depending on their preferences. You can also use wellness technology to send individuals materials that they actually want, rather than something that goes straight in their bin!
Step 3: Continuous Monitoring of Outcomes
The main point of all this, is that you should always, always be collecting feedback. By continuously monitoring outcomes, you will be able to take your wellbeing services to the next level. You should use anonymous surveys to collect this feedback. The best action to take is to ensure these are pulse surveys – maybe once a month, or quarterly – and not annual ones. You will be able to collect more data, and release smaller surveys more frequently, meaning the engagement rate is likely to be higher. Again, wellness technology can help you with this. Take a look at our HR analytics vs People analytics blog for more information on this.
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