Creating a staff wellbeing policy for your business

A quick summary:

What is a staff wellbeing policy? 🔎

Why do I need a wellbeing policy? 👀

Considerations for your staff wellbeing policy ✅

Introducing Heka 💚

Employee wellbeing has climbed the corporate agenda - demanding better working conditions, incentives and general support. Leaders are finding it more difficult than ever to retain top talent, as the Great Resignation gets greater. 

The answer? Organisations need a set health and wellbeing policy, including a list of processes, initiatives and principles that they can work from. That way, every employee from executive to C-level knows exactly what to expect. It eliminates any confusion and opens up discussion around a lack of attention to employee wellbeing. 

After all, a staff wellbeing policy in writing ensures that things must be done in a certain way - all in the name of better health and wellbeing for employees. Below, we’re taking a look at how to create a staff wellbeing policy, including considerations, legal responsibilities and more. 

What is a staff wellbeing policy?

Although we’ve touched on it above, what exactly is a staff wellbeing policy? To put it simply, it’s a set of procedures that a company puts in place to improve the health and wellbeing of employees. It’s a written commitment to ensuring your workplace is a happy and healthy environment for all. And in today’s work environment, health and wellbeing have become extremely critical to an organisation’s ability to hire, retain and succeed. 

Especially considering the uncertainty that life has thrown at us in recent weeks, months and years. People need better support physically, mentally and emotionally in the workplace. The COVID-19 pandemic has proven this to be the case, with feelings of stress, anger and sadness vastly increasing to new records in 2020/21

Your staff wellbeing policy should include some of the following:

  1. Your company’s wellbeing initiatives
  2. Any working conditions/arrangements that relate to wellbeing.
  3. Outline of legal requirements and laws regarding workplace wellbeing
  4. Any other information relevant to your team’s wellbeing

Why do I need a wellbeing policy in the workplace?

So, now we understand what exactly a staff wellbeing policy is, why do you need one? If we’ve seen anything from the modern workplace, it’s that health and wellbeing are crucial. 

The Great Resignation truly threw a spanner in the works for companies who quickly realised that employees need better working conditions. Things like remote and hybrid working created a divide among companies and their employees.

In a survey, reported by employeebenefits.co.uk, 51% of employees believe their employer should be doing more to support employee mental health. And in another study, reported by SHRM, there was a shocking disconnection between employees and HR professionals when it came to employee wellbeing. 

In one case, 47% of HR leaders believed their company was doing enough to support wellbeing, but only 24% of employees agreed with this sentiment. The report suggests there’s a contrast of opinion when it comes to both physical wellbeing and mental wellbeing. 

Ultimately, it’s figures like this that show just how important a staff wellbeing policy is to the workplace. As the world faces uncertainty, stress and many other negative emotions in the post-pandemic world, employers need to ramp up wellbeing support - a staff wellbeing policy is an answer.

Legal requirements and laws around workplace wellbeing

Before we share our top considerations for your staff wellbeing policy, we must highlight some of the legal requirements all businesses must abide by. According to the IoD (Institute of Directors), there are a number of legal responsibilities employers have, including the following: 

  • Health and Safety at Work Act 1974
  • Employment Rights Act 1996
  • Protection from Harassment Act 1997
  • Working Time Regulations 1998
  • Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999
  • Equality Act 2010

It’s recommended that you do your research on these acts and regulations. That way, you’ll have peace of mind that your workplace is fully committed, legally, to workplace wellbeing. 

Similar read: 3 Tactics to Boost Employee Wellbeing and Employee Engagement

Considerations for your staff wellbeing policy

Now let’s take a look at some of the major considerations of any staff wellbeing policy. Once you’ve read through our list, consider some more wellbeing policy ideas of your own. Think about your workplace in particular, and keep in mind that wellbeing is a personalised experience, so avoid a one-size-fits-all strategy.

Facing uncertainty, stress and depression head-on

We’ve talked a little about the importance of a staff wellbeing policy in a world plagued by uncertainty. Now, we want to really drive home this idea of describing how your company will support these issues. As the UK economy faces an economic downturn, along with other fears creeping into everyday life, leaders must address these issues. 

Whether it’s through a benefits scheme or not, employers should use their staff wellbeing policy to detail any processes put in place to support stress, depression and other emotional turmoil employees face. 

This may be things like showcasing your mental health consultants or highlighting free services available to employees. Ultimately, it’s a section of your staff wellbeing policy that provides information on how you support stressed and unhappy employees. 

Too many workplaces have very few details on these matters and assume one-on-one meetings are the answer. Show your new hires and existing employees how to find support and the degree to which your company supports mental health and wellbeing.

Outline your company’s take on learning and development

We speak about learning and development a lot in our blog content because it’s an essential part of any staff wellbeing policy and successful business. Progress is what inspires motivation and keeps people wanting to work in a particular role and company. 

Both the company and their position have to progress over time, or else employees face boredom, disengagement and weakened job satisfaction. As for employers, this results in higher staff turnover, a less productive workforce and many other business-critical impacts.

In your staff wellbeing policy, explain how each employee will have access to learning and development tools. Will your company reimburse tuition fees, or let employees take on degrees while in a job? These are all considerations for your learning and development section. If you have an L&D professional on hand, this may be a good opportunity to involve them. 

Although some employers may argue that learning and development do not fall into wellbeing, they are far from right. Our progress in the workplace will often determine our happiness and job satisfaction. So, it’s important to include L&D opportunities in your staff wellbeing policy. 

If your company isn’t very forward-thinking with learning and development, this may be a great opportunity to brainstorm some initiatives and incentives for employees. Whether it’s lunch and learns, paid online courses or some other form of upskilling and progression, think outside the box. 

Similar read: Fostering a positive organisational culture for better productivity

Details about company culture, vision and the employee experience

Moving on to company culture, vision and the employee experience. These are all huge factors in a successful work environment. Employees need a firm understanding of your company’s culture and the direction you want to steer the ship. 

This understanding drives job satisfaction and creates a sense of belonging in the workplace. When employees know why they’re working toward specific goals, they are more content with their job. 

Think back to the last time you worked on a project or task both in and outside a work setting, that had very little meaning. The kind of task where you questioned why on earth you were doing it in the first place. Without a detailed outline of your culture and vision, this is exactly how some employees may feel on a day-to-day basis. 

You need to sit down with your leadership team and decide on certain features of your culture and vision. You may already have this information at hand, in which case, add it to your staff wellbeing policy. 

Looking at the employee experience, your team need to know what they can expect from the workplace from onboarding to initiatives and so forth. Outlining the different stages of your employee experiences eliminates uncertainty and frustration. 

If you don’t offer learning and development to employees who haven’t been in their job for more than 6 months, you can only imagine how irritating it could be to see others upskilling, and not knowing why they’ve been given the chance to do so.

Highlight your employee benefits and wellbeing initiatives

Last and certainly not least, you must make your employee benefits and wellbeing initiatives known. According to one report, a staggering 42% of employees don’t understand their employee benefits package. 

Looking deeper into the data, 25% are aware of their employee benefits, but simply don’t understand them, 11% are only aware of a number of benefits, while 6% don’t know or understand them whatsoever. Whether this is due to a lack of attention from employers, or low engagement from employees, leaders must address this issue.

Through a staff wellbeing policy, employers can highlight all the ins and outs of their employee benefits and wellbeing initiatives; including how to find them and make use of them. The figure above shows that benefits materials just don’t work, or employers are offering the wrong kind of benefits. 

Make a list in your staff wellbeing policy of all the benefits your company offers (mainly those that address health and wellbeing in one way or another). Ensure it’s easily digestible and doesn’t cause confusion in both the language and instruction. Have members of your team read through the page and feedback on the clarity of the content.

Once you’ve put out your staff wellbeing policy, carry out an employee benefits utilisation survey. You can then asses the use of your employee benefits and wellbeing initiatives after you’ve shared the new staff wellbeing policy - assuming use should increase with more readily available information.

Introducing Heka

Heka is an employee wellbeing platform designed to put personalisation back into workplace wellbeing. For too long, we’ve seen employee benefits and wellbeing initiatives working against employees, rather than for employees. 

That’s exactly the issue our employee wellbeing platform counteracts. Through more than a thousand wellbeing experiences, products and services, and across fifty or more categories, employees are empowered to make wellbeing there’s again. 

Want to find out all the great ways Heka can benefit your team? Get in touch by booking a demo with our wellbeing consultants.