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Changing the narrative on wellbeing – leader case study

Changing the narrative on wellbeing – leader case study

Interested in integrating wellbeing into your pre-existing health and wellbeing structures? This leader case study from a large UK facilities management organisation gives an overview of how one business successfully broadened their narrative on wellbeing.

C took charge of wellbeing and separated it from the HR function. However, he retained links with the HR department as well as the other functions within the organisation to ensure wellbeing did not exist in a silo. His role as the Director for Wellbeing started by embedding wellbeing into the business purpose by revamping the existing strategy and values. This formalised the business-wide intention to always put employees before client needs, which was a change from a ‘customer is always right’ approach which had sometimes placed teams in difficult positions. Being trustworthy, authentic and showing genuine care for colleagues is placed at the centre of moving the business forward.

There is a move from traditional health and safety approaches which involve ‘telling’, to encouraging more of a coaching style for broader wellbeing issues. C is senior enough to have started influencing a change in mindset at the board level, towards a more holistic understanding of wellbeing. His strategy is underpinned by an understanding of what helps support behavioural change. J and his team are recognised by the organisation for raising awareness of wellbeing and mental health across the business and embedding these into the culture.

Understanding that wellbeing is owned by the whole organisation, C used the quarterly forum approach, involving representatives across the business to bring in new wellbeing activities. The forum enabled genuine dialogue on wellbeing and has been an effective tool for obtaining timely workforce feedback of any new initiatives. The representative members were pre-existing wellbeing champions at the supervisory or lower level of the organisational hierarchy and were not formally involved or responsible for the health and safety function. In this way J built on existing elements of the business to evolve new areas of wellbeing work.

This slow but steady process of evolution means that although C originally set up a dedicated Wellbeing Committee, this has since gone through several iterations and is currently a Wellbeing Team which has absorbed other areas of the business, such as safety, sustainability and assurance. As part of this team, a practitioner Wellbeing Business Partner is influencing the new strategy, focusing on the link between wellbeing, health and safety and the systematic prevention of underlying causes of ill health. She drives the KPIs and develops their WB indicator tool, ‘the maturity matrix’ and its implementation. These keep wellbeing on the business’ agenda and provide the data needed to judge how well things are going on an ongoing basis. This informed, evidence-based approach allows the new way of doing things to prove itself, but also evolve over time.

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