30 June 2016

How to launch a health and wellbeing strategy

According to a CIPD report, UK businesses are losing £27 billion each year to sickness absence and presenteeism. In many cases, sickness-related absence is costing upwards of £554 per employee.

The responsibility of solving this problem is falling to HR, who are being tasked with creating a culture where health and wellbeing is centre stage. But profitability is not the sole reason reason why, and improved workplace health, enhanced productivity and a more motivated and engaged workforce are all strong drivers.


A successful approach to health and wellbeing in the workplace is all about starting conversations and instigating small steps of change towards a healthier life.


So, if you’re considering focusing on health and wellbeing in your businesses (and you should be!) here is the ultimate guide to helping you on your way.


1). Identify your champions


If you want to truly embed health and wellbeing into your business, you need to take a long-term approach and commitment. But, coordinating an ongoing calendar of activities (and promoting them!) is no easy task and it’s likely you’ll need extra hands on deck.


The good news is that there are probably already people in your organisation willing to help. Health and wellbeing is a relatable, exciting subject that many people already have a passion for.


From the keen cook to the yoga bunny, and the outdoor adventurer to the marathon runner, find those who are already passionate and get them involved. Whether it’s running activities, or simply spreading the word, a team of champions will prove invaluable.


Tip: Why not create a brand especially for your champions? Run a training event, put together launch packs with t-shirts and diaries/notebooks and run a recognition scheme for their contribution.


2). Create an identity


Employees are bombarded with information from every angle; so getting cut through for any campaign can be tricky. But health and wellbeing is the chance to have a bit of fun with branding. Get stand out by creating a campaign identity and concept, which can run across all of your promotional activities and communications touchpoints. You want it to be instantly recognisable.


Tip: Why not engage your employees with this? Design a couple of different concepts and conduct focus groups to see what would make people pay attention.

3). Partner up


Finding resources for health and wellbeing activities can be tricky. Take a look at your existing suppliers – is there anyone that you could do a contra deal with for discounted goods or services? What local (or national) charities are there that would like access to your employee base? Team up with them to do awareness talks and activities. What about local fitness, wellbeing and sports facilities? It’s surprising what opportunities come about once the conversations start.


Tip: Keep an eye on national awareness days so you can tie elements of your campaign around these. They often have resources available for download too. Try the NHS website and National Awareness Days website.


4). Encourage conversation


An Enterprise Social Networking (ESN) site is the perfect place to encourage conversation between employees and lets people share stories, pictures and offer words of support and inspiration. If you have an existing ESN, make sure you have a clear strategy on how you will distinguish health and wellbeing content from everything else. Can you set up groups, use campaign related hashtags or hold a health and wellbeing takeover and rebrand the site? If you don’t have an ESN, now is the perfect chance to launch.


Tip: An ESN doesn’t have to be expensive – take a look at existing tools like Google+ and Facebook at Work.

5). Get competitive



Everyone loves a bit of healthy competition and a health and wellbeing campaign is the perfect opportunity to embrace this. Game mechanics also offer reinforcement and help people build confidence. It helps show that small steps make all the difference. Whether it’s a one-off competition, a series of competitive events like a Tough Mudder or Three Peaks or team-based challenge like Race to Rio, the opportunities are endless. Get involved in existing challenges like the ones we’ve mentioned here or set up bespoke one related to your organisation. Why not try an online or offline leadership board?


Tip: Take a long-term approach and hold a monthly prize giving for the person or team who has taken part in the most wellbeing activities or made the biggest changes.


Useful wellbeing resources:



Are you launching a health and wellbeing campaign?


Get in touch with us today and see how we can help you launch and embed your strategy. Contact gemma@mccannsynergy.com.uk or call 0117 962 1534.


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