A quick summary:
- What is a staff wellbeing policy?
- The importance of an employee wellbeing policy
- Highlight company wellbeing initiatives
- Outline workplace wellbeing policy objectives
- showcase company missions and values
- Tackling uncertainty with your employee wellbeing policy
- Decide on who is responsible for your policy
- Legal requirements and laws around workplace wellbeing
A staff wellbeing policy helps to create a seamless wellbeing strategy, helping everyone to sing from the same hymn sheet.
And in a world where leaders are finding it more difficult than ever to retain top talent, it’s workplace wellbeing that could be the saviour.
Now — more than ever — organisations need a staff wellbeing policy. A list of processes, initiatives and principles that they can work from. Perhaps it details your duvet day initiative. Maybe it highlights your mental health officer within the company.
It eliminates confusion and opens up discussion around employee wellbeing; a subject that until recently has been burdened with stigmas. But like any form of instruction or outline, a staff wellbeing policy ensures things are executed in a certain way.
It’s a tool that both employees and employers can leverage for maximum benefit. And believe it or not, there are plenty of reasons to invest in workplace wellbeing.
To help leaders get the most out of an employee wellbeing policy, we’re taking a look at one, including considerations, legal responsibilities and more.
Whether you’re familiar with the concept of a staff wellbeing policy or it’s entirely new to you, this guide is all you need. So, let’s jump straight into it!
What is a staff wellbeing policy?
A staff wellbeing policy outlines how a company supports the emotional, physical, and mental health of employees. It’s a set of procedures and initiatives that a company puts in place to improve employee wellbeing.
It’s a written commitment that aims to improve the working environment for all, along with boosting engagement, job satisfaction and retention. And in today’s workplace, employee wellbeing is extremely critical to an organisation’s ability to retain talent.
Especially considering the uncertainty that life has thrown at us in recent months and years. Employees deserve better support physically, mentally and emotionally in the workplace.
The COVID-19 pandemic is just one example of this, with feelings of stress, anger and sadness vastly increasing to new records in 2020/21.
With a recession now well underway, there are a whole set of new challenges ahead for people to tackle. Including financial wellbeing within any policy, benefits package or initiatives programme is very viable right now.
So, now that we understand exactly what makes a staff wellbeing policy so important, what should it include? We’ll explore this in more detail later on, but for now, here’s what you’ll typically find:
- An outline of wellbeing initiatives and benefits
- Legal requirements around workplace safety and wellbeing
- How the company is addressing staff wellbeing
- Details of who’s responsible for the staff wellbeing policy
- Information on the various pillars of health and wellbeing
The importance of an employee wellbeing policy
Now we understand what a staff wellbeing policy is, why do you need one? The answer is simple: staff wellbeing is critical to attracting and retaining talent, and it’s this talent that can take your business to the next level.
The Great Resignation truly threw a spanner in the works. Companies quickly realised that employees need better workplace wellbeing. Things like remote and hybrid working created a divide between companies and their employees.
In a survey, reported by employeebenefits.co.uk, 51% of employees believe their employer should be doing more to support mental health. Another study reported 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 an employee wellbeing policy is to the workplace.
As the world battles with 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.
Staff wellbeing policy considerations
Now let’s take a look at some of the major considerations of any staff wellbeing policy. Once you’ve read through our list, think about your own workplace. Keep in mind that wellbeing is a personalised experience, so avoid a one-size-fits-all strategy.
Highlight company wellbeing initiatives
You must make your employee benefits and wellbeing initiatives known. Believe it or not, a staggering 42% of employees don’t understand their current employee benefits package.
Furthermore, 25% are aware of their employee benefits, but simply don’t understand them, and 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. These figures should be convincing enough to create a staff wellbeing policy.
Through an employee wellbeing policy, employers can highlight all the ins and outs of their benefits and initiatives: how to find them and make use of them.
From these statistics, one thing is clear: benefits materials just don’t work. If that’s not the case, then the benefits companies are offering just aren’t appealing enough.
But it’s a staff wellbeing policy that aims to understand the role of wellbeing in the workplace, and thus improve these initiatives.
Here’s how to better articulate your benefits package via an employee wellbeing policy:
- Make a list of all your employee benefits
- Ask your team to read through and provide feedback on the clarity
- Carry out a benefits utilisation survey
This is a crucial element of your staff wellbeing policy. Assuming your benefits utilisation survey shows an increase in uptake, one would assume your policy is working; meaning employees have a clearer, concise understanding of your benefits
Of course, the opposite can also be true. If you’ve carried out steps one and two and your survey shows poor utilisation results, it might be time to go back to the drawing board with your staff wellbeing policy.
Outline workplace wellbeing policy objectives
Any strategy requires a carefully structured outline of how you intend to get there. That’s no different with a staff wellbeing policy. Before actioning any of the points made in this guide, decide on what outcomes and objectives you want to achieve.
By giving attention to details, you can truly reinforce the idea of wellbeing throughout your workplace. Don’t rush into things. Sit down with your leadership team and decide on the answers to the following questions for your staff wellbeing policy:
- What outcomes do we want to achieve with a staff wellbeing policy?
- What obstacles and challenges might we face?
- How can we measure the success of an employee wellbeing policy?
- Who will be responsible for assessing our policy accomplishments?
- Can we set aside a budget to support our efforts?
- What new wellbeing initiatives can we consider?
These questions should get the cogs moving. It’s in these answers that your management team can construct a solid strategy for a staff wellbeing policy.
Remember to make your employee wellbeing policy goals SMART: specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound.
For example, you might set a goal of “Improving our employee engagement rate by 50% within the first year”. Here we’ve identified exactly what it is we want to improve, by what metric and by which point. It’s also relevant to the purpose of a staff wellbeing policy.
Feature company missions and values
In addition to outlining objectives for your staff wellbeing policy, it’s important to feature your company’s missions and values.
In the same way that your strategy outlines goals with your leadership team, your missions and values convey your intentions to the wider workforce.
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 — so don’t miss this consideration for your staff wellbeing policy.
Think back to the last time you worked on a project that had very little meaning. The kind that left you questioning why on earth you were doing it in the first place. You’re often left deflated and unsure of whether any of it is worthwhile.
This is exactly why company missions and values help. By outlining them in your employee wellbeing policy, you’re able to reinforce this notion of better health and happiness in the workplace.
Employees are better able to get on board with the vision you have for wellbeing in the workplace. They can also help you reach those goals too.
You may already have this information at hand, in which case, add it to your staff wellbeing policy. It demonstrates a serious commitment to your team’s health and wellbeing by detailing why you want to improve workplace wellbeing.
Now, although both this point and the last sound very similar. Think about the above as a way to communicate internally with leadership teams and this point as external with the rest of your team.
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.
What to include in this section of your staff wellbeing policy:
- The company’s reason for investing in workplace wellbeing
- The value the business places on improving employee happiness
- Behaviours and attitudes the company doesn’t condone
- Existing workplace initiatives and policies outline
There’s much more you can include. This should give you an idea of how to convey company missions and values to employees and should support your staff wellbeing policy.
Tackling uncertainty with your employee wellbeing policy
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 immediate hurdles, i.e the cost of living crisis.
Explaining how they currently combat the likes of 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 are tackling issues head-on.
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.
Decide on employee wellbeing policy responsibility
Let’s talk about the responsibility of your staff wellbeing policy. In the beginning, you should delegate various tasks to your wider leadership team. From surveys to managing the introduction of new wellbeing initiatives.
These are all part and parcel of a great staff wellbeing policy, so start by listing out all the responsibilities of your policy. Then decide which of your senior team are better suited to taking on these duties. This may be better for your HR department to delegate.
This is a crucial consideration of any employee wellbeing policy. You want to ensure everything runs smoothly. By managing your staff wellbeing policy effectively, you can maximise the outcomes and results.
Legal requirements and laws around workplace wellbeing
Finally, and very briefly, consider the requirements around workplace wellbeing. These are non-negotiable, and employers have to adhere to certain laws in the UK.
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.
We recommend outlining these in our staff wellbeing policy — just to give your wider workforce a better understanding of the regulations that must be upheld.
Similar read: 3 Tactics to Boost Employee Wellbeing and Employee Engagement
Include Heka in your new staff wellbeing policy
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.
Through more than a thousand wellbeing experiences, products and services, and across fifty or more categories, employees are empowered to take control of their wellbeing with Heka.
Want to find out all the great ways Heka can benefit your team? Get in touch by booking a demo with our wellbeing consultants.