Hannah Pearsall: What are the benefits of having a strong wellbeing strategy in place?

It goes without saying that supporting employee wellbeing should be high on the agenda for all organisations. At Hays, improving employee wellbeing is a top priority, as we acknowledge that people can only reach their full potential if they are in a good place with their mental and physical health. Beyond being the right thing to do, building a strong wellbeing strategy is business-critical as it directly impacts a number of key areas across an organisation including talent attraction and retention, brand reputation and business performance and productivity.

It is important to prioritise workplace wellbeing to stay ahead of an evolving regulatory curve; while legislation in this area has historically focused on protecting employees from physical hazards in the workplace, the increasing public awareness of mental ill health means that the spotlight is firmly on employers to step up to the plate.

Employers can present a strong wellbeing strategy on paper, but whether their initiatives work well in practice is another ball game. Organisations must clearly define what wellbeing means to them and where the responsibility lies: you can put a great strategy in place, but it is important to encourage and inspire staff to look after their own wellbeing. Crucially, an effective wellbeing strategy takes a holistic approach to support staff with their physical, mental, financial and social wellbeing. Rather than being an initiative led by HR, an effective wellbeing strategy should also be integrated into all parts of the business.

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A balance of both proactive interventions, such as identifying the root causes of wellbeing risks, and reactive interventions including mental health first aiders, is the best way to improve employee wellbeing in the long run. Easily accessible resources that staff can reach for in times of need are also a must. Finally, it is important for employers to regularly review the impact of their wellbeing strategy and be open to continually adapt and evolve their initiatives, to ultimately strive for a happy and healthy workforce.

Hannah Pearsall is head of wellbeing at Hays