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Raising the profile of workplace wellbeing

The issue of workplace wellbeing is increasingly becoming a headline focus for businesses in Kent but do senior leaders see it as a business critical issue or the latest fad and an excuse to lobby for away days and a workplace massage?

At the recent Wellbeing Symposium, held at the Canterbury Christ Church University, there was no lack of persuasive statistics on the benefits of increasing workplace wellbeing in the form of reduced absenteeism, increased engagement and better productivity but the concern expressed was whether managers are truly persuaded of the business justification for committing resources to wellbeing initiatives. Businesses are under pressure so why should this be an issue they spend time and resources looking at, and when all said and done, we are business leaders and not doctors, family members  or friends?

Research suggests that where businesses are focusing on this issue, they do so for a variety of reasons; for example the CIPD’s absence management survey indicated that 63% of businesses who focused on wellbeing did so because they wanted their organisations to be a great place to work and 47% because they believed a focus on wellbeing is linked to business performance.  If, however, the business case is compelling why aren’t we as business leaders doing more? Part of the issue may be the fact that employee wellbeing can be such a nebulous concept encompassing everything from health and safety, to healthy eating initiatives and there is currently no single accreditation which businesses can aim for.

As business women within the County is there more we could do to reinforce the strategic benefits of wellbeing strategies? It is clear from the case studies and research available that a wellbeing improvement strategy will only be really effective where there is a firm commitment at every level of an organisation to making a difference. As a manager I acknowledge my responsibilities to do what I can in terms of ensuring effective leadership, that I keep an eye on absence and other indicators, that our approach acknowledges individuals may need greater levels of support at different times of their life and that we have some fun. Happy employees are committed, flexible and provide exceptional client service. Day to day, I can see the benefits of focusing on individual wellbeing on our service delivery and client feedback, and a focus on team work and increased communication has provided clear benefits within our Firm.

A key thought from the Kent Wellbeing Symposium for me was that “wellbeing is everyone’s business” and as business people committed to the success of our organisations, and the wider Kent business community, raising the profile of evidence based wellbeing strategies and measuring the impact on the bottom line of successful initiatives, has to be good for everyone, including us.

Brachers and Kent HR provide legal and HR services that support employers looking to improve their wellbeing strategy and those wanting to create and implement one for the first time. For further information, please contact Catherine Daw, Partner and Head of Employment on 01622 690691 or email catherinedaw@brachers.co.uk

Catherine Daw

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