How to achieve the 3 key components to deliver a health and wellbeing strategy

We recently published a report Realising the value of your health and wellbeing strategy, which outlines three components to delivering a successful health and wellbeing strategy:

  • Intelligence and learning
  • Programme design
  • Communication and engagement

They can be achieved by taking a number of steps:

Gathering intelligence

The current state of employees’ health should inform any strategy. Identifying trends, gaps and risks affecting the workforce by using information from sources, including claims data, health assessment information, reports on HR sickness absence, health service usage and specific health conditions, staff turnover and employee satisfaction surveys can comprise a healthcare audit.

These findings will enable companies to formulate a strategy with realistic, measurable objectives and clear criteria for success.

Creating a vision

Gathering intelligence will also help organisations identify what they want their healthcare strategy to look like and, more importantly, achieve. Strategies should also reflect changes in demographics, lifestyle and healthcare trends.

Over 30% of the UK workforce is over the age of 50 and the number of people classified as overweight or obese has quadrupled over the last two years. HR professionals surveyed by AXA PPP Healthcare in October 2016 say that the biggest challenges to employee health over the next five years are mental health, obesity and high blood pressure.

Employers should adopt strategies that focus on preventive as well as reactive approaches to health and wellbeing, address wider physical and mental health and wellbeing concerns that affect all employees.

Whatever its specific provisions, the health and wellbeing vision must align to the business’ overall commercial objectives.

Securing the necessary resources

To achieve any of this, advocates need to convince the organisation’s senior management to invest in health and wellbeing. But there is resistance. Just over half of those surveyed by AXA PPP Healthcare think board-level executives don’t understand the value of HR professionals buying into health and wellbeing – despite them already having a strategy in place.

Employers need to build a credible business case that implementation of a health and wellbeing strategy will deliver measurable objectives –criteria for success that are evaluated on an ongoing basis. They could include increases in benefit take-up levels, reduced sickness absence or savings made on sick pay. Any spend must be constantly evaluated and reviewed for return on investment.

Organisations might include appointing a dedicated full-time role to plan, implement, communicate and measure the strategy.

Communicating and engaging

Any measures that are introduced won’t have any effect if they are not effectively communicated and the wider workforce does not engage with them.

Every stage of the programme should be communicated with a clear compelling message – preferably with a credible ‘in-house’ brand, that demonstrates the organisation’s commitment to employees.

Health and wellbeing advocates should use other employees to act as ‘health champions’ and maintain visibility of policies and benefits to employees as part of the organisation’s values and goals. Senior managers should be engaged as positive role models to openly support initiatives.

Once launched benefits of the programme should be communicated regularly to maintain awareness and engagement. This can be done through intranet and online portals, interactive platforms, email, events, onsite activities, health assessments and any other communication methods possible.

That so many people management professionals recognise the value of a health and wellbeing strategy is encouraging. But there are considerable barriers to their success that wellbeing advocates need to address if they are to achieve success.

View the full white paper from AXA PPP Healthcare here

This article was supplied by AXA PPP Healthcare.

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