Engaging employees through well-being


05 / 10 / 2011

Central to the programme, was the development of an innovative well-being website and mobile phone application (app) which provides help and advice on over 200 well-being-related topics. The university is now working in partnership with a number of NHS Trusts and other public sector employers providing customised versions of these resources.

What we did and why

How we did it

Results and next steps

Tips for other organisations


January 2013 update

What we did and why

The well-being excellence programme was originally conceived in 2009 to meet an identified gap in the help and guidance the university provided to its staff and students. The programme’s aim was to provide a range of information and advice on a variety of health and well-being matters. Objectives supporting this aim include the following:

  • high levels of participation in programme initiatives
  • high levels of satisfaction with programme initiatives
  • contribute to improved employee engagement
  • full coverage of health and well-being issues across staff and students
  • aligned to overall strategic plan themes and values
  • optimum level of resources deployed

These objectives have evolved to provide support to other organisations by making the university’s well-being resources more widely available. A central feature has been the university’s award winning well-being website. Designed as an online self-help resource, the website draws together well-being related expertise across the university. Its innovative user interface means that although there are 200 topics consisting of 50,000 words, no more than five topics are presented at any one time. Access to this support has been improved through the development of mobile phone apps for iPhone, Android and Blackberry. These apps are free for employees to download, providing them with easy access to information and advice irrespective of their location.

How we did it

One of the most innovative features of the programme is that it has been delivered entirely through the university’s own resources. This pan-university approach has been led by the well-being team, with significant input from a range of stakeholders, including the HR people development team (staff training), rewards and benefits team (well-being related benefits), web and multimedia team (website and new media development), technology faculty (web architecture), the faculties of health and sport & education (well-being expertise) and the commercial services team (commercial advice).

The well-being website provides a good example of how this has worked. From its conception, the website was designed and developed by the stakeholders listed above, with academics providing guidance on content, the web and multimedia team designing the innovative user interface, and the well-being team guiding its overall direction to meet its goal to be a universal resource for all. The phone apps which followed were designed and developed by MSc technology students.

In order to maximise the programme’s exposure, the well-being team has utilised a range social media to promote it internally within the university, and externally to partner organisations. This includes e-newsletters, website banners, mobile phone apps, a dedicated twitter feed for well-being (@TweetWellbeing) that sends out daily tips, Facebook fan page and YouTube channel. One very successful innovation was the placing of a well-being icon on every staff and student desktop in the university, linking directly to the well-being website. This resulted in a 400% increase in site traffic.

Results and next steps

The university’s well-being team has actively monitored a number of indicators to provide evidence of the programme’s effectiveness. The results of these include:

  • a sustained 17% reduction in stress-related absence in the first 12 months of the programme, saving the university over £75,000 covering sickness absence
  • improvements in staff engagement evidenced through staff survey results, including two-thirds of staff saying they thought the university was interested in their well-being
  • reputational gain through the achievement of a number of national awards, including the Overall Winner in the 2010 Occupational Health Awards

The wider impact of the programme has been seen in the way the university has made its resources available to other public sector organisations including several NHS trusts. The university provides each organisation with customised versions of the well-being website and mobile phone apps. These contain information specifically tailored to each organisation. Dan Pyrah, programme manager at North East Lincolnshire Care Trust Plus, commented:

“We are happy in the knowledge that we have a fantastic continually evolving and improving resource that we hope will have a considerable impact on the lives of NE Lincs staff for years to come.”

Tips for other organisations

From Leeds Metropolitan University’s experience, an effective well-being programme can be delivered by organisations of all sizes. Its well-being team offer the following tips:

  • create a well-being brand and include within it some of the things you might already have in place, such as childcare vouchers or cycle to work schemes
  • engage your staff, get their ideas on what they want
  • look for free resources available to employers, such as smoking cessation packs from the NHS
  • celebrate the success at all levels, from the directors for supporting it, to staff for getting involved
  • keep it going and keep it fresh


To find out more about Leeds Metropolitan University’s experiences, please contact:

Or visit www.mywellbeing.org for a guided tour of the website and mobile phone app.

January 2013 update

MyWellbeing continues to go from strength to strength. Continued development of the website and phone app are current priorities with the website now at version three which includes capability for health care provider development and location based services such as GP surgeries, dentist and pharmacies.

The university is currently working on proposals to improve engagement through collecting data on user wellbeing and contact quality. They are in the final stages of agreeing a spin-off of MyWellbeing into a separate enterprise.

Two new NHS clients are using the application and discussions continue with a further two.

Current NHS clients include:

  • Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust
  • The Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust
  • North East Lincolnshire Clinical Commissioning Group
  • South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust

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