Top tips for setting out global wellbeing principles that work for everyone
Working with a global team can be amazing. Collaborating with colleagues around the world adds value to organisations and often makes jobs more rewarding for international teams. But for busy HR directors, global teams present significant challenges, among them setting wellbeing principles that are universal and meaningful across regions but flexible enough to adapt to varying needs across different locations.
Mental health issues are a global, not local, issue as billions struggle worldwide. But wherever a company is located, when employees’ mental health and general wellbeing are not protected and prioritised, research shows individuals and companies suffer. And it’s clear that something must change – more than half of employees say they don’t feel supported and mental health-related costs are higher than ever at £56bn in the UK alone, according to Deloitte.
To transform employee wellbeing for the better for their entire staff, global organisations must commit and take action. And rolling out global wellbeing principles is the first crucial step. When used as more than abstract ideas about how companies should support employees, these principles can act as guide rails to keep organisations on track in their wellbeing goals for their workforce.
1. Build the right team
You can’t set wellbeing principles that reflect your organisation’s values and the needs of the entire team without feedback from a true cross-section of employees. Ideally, this group will include people with varying levels of seniority from different backgrounds, departments and locations.
Including a diverse mix of employees in this process will help ensure that any principles adopted are widely applicable to the largest cohort of employees possible. Look for those who are passionate about the topic. Find people who will keep the conversations moving and those who can be brought along and have influence across the business. You’ll also want to identify and manage detractors.
To ensure you don’t end up relying on the same few volunteers that put a hand up for every culture project, you may need to reach out to people who don’t typically participate and incentivise their involvement.
This could be done by offering to make it part of their professional development, extra paid time off, or a small reward such as a gift card to a popular retailer, ideally linked to the values you want to promote. You may also want to include a consulting agency for outside-the-box insights.
2. Start with a few guiding principles
If your team has trouble getting started, it can be helpful to have a few key principles prepared in advance that groups can provide feedback and develop. Ideally, these should be principles deeply linked to your company’s values and mission. They should also incorporate focus areas you’ve seen become a priority in the job market in recent years. Consider mental and physical health, both affected by a sedentary work lifestyle.
Discussing mental health can mean overcoming stigma. Traditionally, initiatives on workplace mental health have focused on resolving individual problems and ‘negative’ attitudes. However, we all have mental health and it is the responsibility of the individual, group, leader and organisation to proactively support positive mental health.
3. Build in a feedback loop
After rolling out your guiding wellbeing principles, review teams’ reactions globally. What has resonated and what hasn’t, and where? Are any key themes emerging in different locales? What are the potential challenges to widespread acceptance across locations and how can these be overcome?
Whenever possible, build feedback loops in while designing your principles so you can quickly assess and redirect action as needed. Feedback can be obtained via trusted project champions, upward feedback via managers, 121s with leaders or via surveys or stall polls.
Use the feedback you’ve gathered and any learnings to decide if a principle needs a more robust foundation or revision. After initial implementation, you should have the necessary information to distill your principles to more closely reflect what matters in your organisation.
To find out more about building employee wellbeing at your workplace, download our free e-book, Building organisational resilience: The business case for employee wellbeing.
In partnership with Koa Health
At Koa Health, we believe digital mental health solutions are the answer to mental health issues.