How Wellbeing Action Plans can help create healthier, happier and more productive teams

How Wellbeing Action Plans can help create healthier, happier and more productive teams

20th March 2023, 12:43 pm

Using Wellbeing Action Plans is a great way for your organisation to improve employee health and wellbeing. By supporting employees to stay on top of their health, Wellbeing Action Plans can strengthen your company culture and bring a full host of benefits.

The average cost to an organisation per employee per year due to poor mental health is £2,500 (Deloitte UK Mental Health Report – The Case for Investment 2022)!

Employees that are in a state of good health, reduce absence, presenteeism, and leavism and stay with the company longer. Giving employees the tools to understand and improve their own health and wellbeing won’t just make them feel valued, engaged and happier at work – it’ll improve their productivity and your business outcomes too.

Wellbeing Action Plans are a brilliant but underused tool that you can use to seamlessly embed wellbeing conversations into 1-to-1 manager meetings to improve engagement and your wellbeing culture.

Wellbeing Action Plans are a personal document written by individuals and shared with their line managers in confidence.

They include information on what keeps them well and when and why they might become unwell at work. Here are 10 top tips on how to roll these out and successfully embed them into your culture.

1. Wellbeing Action Plans are for everyone

Wellbeing Actions Plans are an easy and valuable way of helping your managers support their team’s health and wellbeing. All employees should be encouraged to complete a Wellbeing Action Plan, they don’t have to have been formally diagnosed with a physical or mental health condition to complete one or to reap the benefits. Prevention equals retention!

2. How to get started

You can download our free Wellbeing Action Plan template and A Manager’s Guide here

Wellbeing Action Plans will provide a structure for conversation around how employees can be supported with their health and wellbeing at work.

Reading through A Manager’s Guide to Wellbeing Action Plans will provide you with some guidance on how you can structure your approach and conversations with employees before, during and after any 1-to-1s.

Get started by communicating to everyone that as an organisation and an employer, you want to better support their health and wellbeing at work. Remind employees it’s a personal document that should explain their experiences and needs in a way that makes sense to them.

Be honest as to why you want to roll this initiative out and embed it into your processes. Transparency will help increase engagement and will guarantee better buy-in from employees so that initiating Wellbeing Action Plans will be a piece of cake (not too big a slice now)!

3. Give permission to block time out

Completing a Wellbeing Action Plan can take some time, especially if it’s the first time an employee has been asked to think about what keeps them well at work. So after you’ve shared our template with your teams, encourage them to protect time in their diary to reflect on what keeps them well and makes them unwell at work.

4. Create a safe environment for open conversations

Creating an environment where employees feel safe sharing the details they’ve prepared in their Wellbeing Action Plan is essential. Decide on an appropriate time, place and space that’s private and quiet and will be free from interruptions so that individuals feel relaxed and able to have open and honest conversations with their manager. Be mindful that people working from home may not feel comfortable discussing their wellbeing if other household members are present.

5. Keep information confidential

Wellbeing Action Plans should be discussed in confidence between a manager and their team member and only shared with the relevant people with their permission. However, it’s your duty of care to keep employees safe at work and there may be times when a manager will be required to break confidentiality. Confidentiality should be explained and discussed from the outset.

6. Use as a live document

Wellbeing Action Plans shouldn’t be done once and then filed away! Nor are they just for those who may be currently experiencing problems with their health and wellbeing. Embed Wellbeing Action Plans into regular manager 1-to-1s for the best impact and document any changes or additional support needs as part of your approach.

7. Actively listen

Allow employees to talk through their Wellbeing Action Plan in their own words and at their own pace. Actively listen to what they have to say without passing judgement or dismissing their feelings and/or thoughts. Don’t assume what might be of support based on your own experiences, allow individuals to suggest what they think would aid good health and wellbeing for themselves at work.

8. Make workplace adjustments

After having a discussion with an employee about their Wellbeing Action Plan, a manager might decide that some workplace adjustments are required to best support their team member. Adjustments for mental health don’t need to be complicated and it’s best practice for adjustments to be available to support all members of staff.

It’s important to be steered by the needs of each individual. This is a good opportunity to revisit internal processes to ensure employees have the right skills and experience to deliver what is expected of them in your organisation.

9. Ensure you’re compliant with the law

Employees don’t need to have any specified mental health conditions to be legally protected under the Equality Act (2010) and are entitled to reasonable workplace adjustments. However, what employees do need to demonstrate, is that their mental health problem is considered a disability.

The use of the term ‘Disability’ has a particular legal meaning under the Equality Act, which is more expansive than the way we might typically understand the word.

What is reasonable will depend on each employee’s circumstances and their role in your organisation and adjustments should be viewed on a case-by-case basis. Allowing employees flexibility in how and when they fulfil their role, legally and in line with organisational needs can produce rewards such as increased loyalty and improved productivity and can help reduce stigma and normalise mental health and disability in your workplace.

10. Get expert support

There’s no doubt employee health and wellbeing is a complex subject and like any other strategic area of your business, expert advice and support are invaluable to ensure you’re supporting your people in the best way possible.

Email me at [email protected] to identify opportunities to better look after your employees, so that you can hit the ground running in reducing work-related ill-health, improving profits, and protecting growth.

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