Make audits a life line


Make audits a life line

When developing a strategy avoid costly duplication by having a thorough review of existing health benefits and practices

PRIOR to implementing a health and wellbeing strategy employers need to spend some time considering exactly why they want to introduce one in the first place. This might seem fairly obvious, but without taking the time to think through what the desired outcome should be, whether the health and wellbeing of staff needs to be tackled, the budget available to spend and what employees want, any plans that are introduced risk failure.

In order to determine what a strategy should include, the employer needs to carry out a sickness absence audit. This should help uncover the reasons why employees are calling in sick. Hot spots of unhappiness, stress or illness in the organisation can be identified as well as any action that needs to be taken.

Employers with an outsourced absence management service will be able to obtain statistics from their provider, or will have the relevant data if absence is recorded in-house. Those that have an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) will also be able to obtain in-depth information from their provider, which may also give some insight into causes of absence.

When devising a health and wellbeing strategy it also makes sense to evaluate the facilities and benefits already in place. It may be that a bikes for work scheme, discounted gym membership, a lunchtime running club and healthy eating options in the canteen can all be pulled together and re-communicated to employees with some health and wellbeing advice.

Kate Bawden, an associate at Mercer Human Resource Consulting, says: "A lot of big organisations have fairly comprehensive benefit packages and these can contribute towards employee wellbeing. It may be they just need to enhance those initiatives already in place rather than spending money buying huge packages that may duplicate what is already there."

Key steps:

  • Prior to implementing a strategy work out what needs to be achieved and why.
  • Carry out an absence audit to help identify problem areas within the organisation.
  • Look at the benefits and facilities already in place and utilise those where possible.
  • Re-communicate existing benefits to staff.

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