Vox pop: Industry practioners on staff wellbeing

Nick Golding quizzes a cross section of industry practitioners on the amount of responsibility that employers should take for their employees’ wellbeing.

"It’s in an organisation’s best interests to promote good health. The role that an employer can usefully play is to assist individuals in accessing any available health and wellbeing services. Ultimately, however, responsibility for health has to rest with the individual. Promoting healthy-eating options is to the advantage of organisations, but lifestyle – including healthy eating – is ultimately the choice of an individual. We’ve adopted a dual responsibility model, in which we provide health-related services, facilities and education to support and sustain a well employee population, but it is up to our employees to take advantage of the opportunities that are available to them."

Anne Sloan
Head of policy and employment at Royal Bank of Scotland

"I think employers need to take a significant amount of responsibility to be honest. As people are spending more and more time at work, we need to be making sure that they are healthy and well. Our productivity levels and our success are down to our employees, so we have a real positive obligation to make sure that their health needs are supported at work. While we make wellbeing benefits available like flexible working hours, what is really key is actually promoting these benefits to staff."

Emma Wilkins
Deputy director of human resources at York St John University College

"It is important that employers meet staff halfway on wellbeing, and this may be easier at some organisations than at others. Here, at Danone, it is really part of our culture. It doesn’t take much to take responsibility for wellbeing, as it is about considering what is important. We started very simply with putting fresh fruit in the office and green tea, and slowly trying to educate staff, as this goes with employees outside of the office and gets them thinking about how they should eat."

Liz Ellis
HR director for Danone UK

"Employers must take some responsibility. If we make an effort (around) employee health and wellbeing, we can keep people in work and keep the business going. But while it is important employers play their part, ultimately, staff too will have to take some of the responsibility, because it’s no good us saying ‘we’ll take the worry away’ by offering healthcare cash plans, for instance, and staff (stop) looking after themselves. So while employers need to offer staff healthy options, it is very difficult to know what they do for their health in their own time."

Jackie Wild
Human resources manager at Blackpool Airport