How to implement an employee health and wellbeing strategy on a tight budget

The downturn in the economy back in 2008 shifted the way many departments up and down the UK have had to conduct their responsibilities.  The troubled economic times presented HR Departments with two priorities to get their heads around,

dealing with high levels of stress for employees whilst trying to increase productivity added with,

coping with little or no budget for wellbeing programmes.

But as many other organisations had to get creative with reduced funding, HR Departments in the UK have had to demonstrated that they can handle business pressures with no or low cost options.  Here is a quick run down of some our favourties,

Improving the working environment

Asking your employees what they’d like to improve with their health and wellbeing can often lead to low-cost, but effective measures.

For example, a staff survey on the working environment might produce some surprising results.  A lot of organisations can miss aspects that are well within their control such as the location of desks underneath air conditioning units, the openness of an office, the position of water coolers and kitchen facilities.

After a period of fact-finding, the priority should then be to provide staff with information and advice on how to improve their own health and benefit from increased energy and performance.  This could include workshops as these are more cost-effective than large wellbeing events.

Also, employers can also encourage staff to take more interest in their health by forming workplace groups and allowing them time to perform exercises or other health-related activities during the working day. For example, there are no costs to be incurred in starting a walking group or or assessing healthy eating programmes.

Researching and using free resources

There are plenty of free tools available from organisations such as NHS Choices, DrinkAware, MacMillan or Mind that can help employers to devise health and wellbeing programmes.

There are plenty of examples with events being run with a department’s creativity and support such as promotional literature from charities.  A Healthy Performance client recently introduced a Pedometer Challenge to all of their staff and encouraged all of them to complete at least 10,000 steps per day.  The challenge was run with a free pedometer app for employee’s smart phones and saw a 60% engagement rate – it created a positive buzz around the organisation.

A key aspect to implementing a strategy with free resources and creativity is to encourage Senior Management to get involved – their buy-in is free PR and the most valuable way of communicating and filtering down positive habits to all of your employees.

Online Assessment Tool

An online assessment tool is the most cost-effective method for providing employees with a dashboard of relevant health and wellbeing information covering lifestyle (think alcohol and smoking), nutrition, fitness, body and mind, work/life balance, medical and health risk. 

For a HR department, an online assessment tool will allow your business to take the temperature of your company’s health and wellbeing.  The Healthy Performance tool, MyWellbeingCheck™, provides companies with an accumulative company score and a ‘Company Health Age’ to track progress and improvements but crucially, also identify hot spots for future health promotion activity.  This makes it perfect for organisations looking to tackle health and wellbeing proactively and pricing starts from just 1p per employee, per day.

Employee Health Screenings

It is more cost-effective to focus on preventing staff getting ill than treating them or managing ongoing conditions. The costs for dealing with sickness are very high and the investment in prevention is small in comparison.

If you want to maximise your budget then mini Employee Health Checks or focus days such as cholesterol awareness are ideal. The health check can be carried out onsite by trained health professionals – they are a great option for convenience and engagement. These mini health checks can include issues such as blood pressure, heart rate, body composition, hydration, cholesterol and diabetes and are very effective for single or multi-site delivery.

Employees receive their results in a same day health report that includes recommended guidelines and suggested improvements.  We can tailor health checks around your budget and requirements. An Organisational Health Report from the health screening sessions can then be used to further develop a proactive health & wellbeing strategy to support your business development and we can also provide additional services to help improve these results.

Employee Assistance Programme (EAP)

An EAP will support the psychological and emotional wellbeing of your employees, providing a 24 hour helpline with advice to line managers dealing with issues they are unfamiliar with, and some programmes can also extend to employee relatives. Examples of these issues include financial problems, addictions, moving home and location and a plethora of personal problems that many employees are likely to be facing.

An EAP will undoubtedly be the most cost effective investment your organisation can make. The investment varies depending on the quantity of employees, however average prices are just £15.00 per employee and some programmes will charge only if they’re required.

Finally, it sounds simple but once you have a strategy in mind, the next point for any health and wellbeing initiative is to analyse the current situation.  The best focus is often to examine data around absentee levels.  As with most departments within a company, it is easier to quantify a return on investment for a health and wellness initiative if it is data driven.  For free assistance with this, please contact a member of the HP team on on 0844 432 5849 (HEALTHY) or team@healthyperformance.co.uk.