Ten tips for implementing health and wellbeing


06 / 5 / 2014 Midnight

1. Pull together all existing policies and initiatives that exist across the organisation to identify what you are already doing in support of the workplace health agenda.

These may include: Occupational health services, health and safety management, risk assessment and management, counselling services, flexible working, sickness absence management, and policies for managing stress, violence, musculoskeletal problems and bullying and harassment

2. Identify any gaps that need to be filled.

You may want to consider questions such as: Do all initiatives cover all staff, are the occupational health services that are provided suitable and sufficient to help line managers manage sickness absence effectively, are all of the risk management services in the organisation working together to share information and good practice?

3. Consult with staff side representatives – engagement has been shown to be a major component in the successful development of staff health and wellbeing initiatives.

Consider setting a team drawn from management and staff to help develop and take forward a programme for improving staff health and wellbeing. Staff side representatives will provide a useful means of obtaining information from staff and providing feedback to them.

4. Review sickness absence management at all levels of the organisation and consider how to improve it through offering rehabilitation, redeployment, counselling or occupational health input.

It would be useful to ensure that all line managers are aware of their role in managing sickness absence and of the role that occupational health services can play in facilitating the quick return to the workplace of those who are off sick.

Review your policies on rehabilitation and redeployment to ensure that they really enhance the organisations capacity to get staff back into work quickly.

5. Review the role and function of your occupational health provision, could it be more proactive, is it sufficiently involved in the sickness absence management process?

Advice from NHS Health at Work and recommendations in the Boorman Review final report suggests that processing pre-employment health questionnaires takes OH staff away from more proactive work and provides no additional benefit to the organisation. Check that the appropriate support is being provided by OH to line managers in managing sickness absence and rehabilitating staff back into work.

6. Consider an increased role for ESR in managing sickness absence, identifying “hot spots” and frequent causes or patterns of absence.

ESR can provide a range of information that is of use to line managers and HR departments in identifying patterns and common causes of absence. Consider how to make these more easily available to managers and how to ensure that they use them.

7. Review the use of risk assessment and risk management particularly in relation to issues that affect staff health and wellbeing.

Consider how to bring all risk managers together to identify common risks and how best to prevent them and to exchange information and best practice.

8. Engage all staff in the process and in agreeing and delivering the goal of better health and wellbeing for all staff.

The Boorman Review and many key pieces of evidence, identified engagement as key in the delivery of improved staff health and wellbeing. Consider how to improve engagement with staff through involving them and staff side representatives in delivering the programme and feed back to them on a regular basis.

9. Communicate the goal and the programme of action not only to staff but to patients, visitors and partner organisations.

Communicating the goal and how it is to be achieved not only to staff but to patients, visitors and partners will be good for the organisations profile and help to engage them in delivering the results you want.

10. Monitor and evaluate the implementation of the programme on a regular basis, with reports to the board and senior managers, and feedback to staff, patients, visitors and partners on progress.

Monitoring and evaluating progress against the programme will enable you to make changes and alter priorities as you go and to feed back to all stakeholders on the successes you are having. 

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