Wellbeing insights: why strategic wellbeing programmes give employers a competitive edge


We are currently in a period of rapid change both in the workplace and societally. Organisations are facing complex issues such as new technologies, uncertain politics, demographic and geographic changes to the workforce and increasing competition; against a backdrop of declining UK productivity.

Judith Grant, director of health and wellbeing, Mace Group

Strategic workplace wellbeing programmes offer employers a competitive edge – employees feel cared for and offer additional discretionary effort. They stay with businesses, reducing turnover costs and retaining skills and talent.  

Employers who offer their employees the chance for development whilst encouraging rest and recovery following times of challenge will see productivity improvements, reduced costs such as sickness absence and insurance premiums, and a happier workforce overall. 

Investing in health and wellbeing at work is both morally the right thing to do and commercially the sustainable thing to do. 

However, creating the cultural change needed to support employee wellbeing requires visible leadership from the Board and all tiers of management. It also requires co-creation of a wellbeing strategy with employees – you need to understand what wellbeing means to each employee to drive initiatives for improvement. Focus on the design and organisation of the work environment (both mental and physical) and its impact on employees, rather than solely on interventions to change health behaviours. 

I think employers could generally evolve their approach to wellbeing by working across departments and the organisational hierarchy to understand and design an effective strategy. Collaborate with expert charities and academics to understand specific issues and capture and analyse results to help further research on wellbeing. Also, collaborate within and across your industry to share good practice and learn from others.

As a juror for REBA’s Employee Wellbeing Awards, I’m looking for entries that have a strategic approach to wellbeing, and have considered the health and wellbeing risks and opportunities faced by the organisation. That includes evidence of feedback from the Board to shop-floor on employee perceptions of wellbeing before setting the strategy. 

Judith Grant is director of health and wellbeing at Mace Group. She is a judge for The Employee Wellbeing Awards 2019, now open for entries.  



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