Best Practice Workplace Health and Well being Strategies
What do workplaces have in common when it comes to demonstrating best practice in their health and well being initiatives?
They demonstrate an outstanding commitment to understanding employees’ health and well being needs and provide innovative, highly targeted and accessible initiatives. Their holistic programs focus on physical and psychological health, work/life balance and financial well being. A strategic approach and effective evaluation of programs have lead to increasingly innovative and successful health and wellbeing initiatives.
Benefits to individuals and workplaces
The benefits of these programs to individuals and to the organisations are manifold.
Ive found individual cases of potentially life saving interventions as well as evidence of positive lifestyle changes in areas such as work and life balance, exercise, fitness, nutrition and weight reduction.
Benefits to workplaces include:
positive impacts on retention, recruitment and engagement;
decreases in stress claims, loss time injury, workers compensation claims and absenteeism;
staff feeling proud to be part of these organisations.
Creating an Award winning initiative
A great example of an organisation with an outstanding health & well being program is Greenslopes Private Hospital (GPH).
The GPH Wellness Centre was launched in 2003, providing employees with a facility to improve their health and well being. In 2005, the hospital launched a new “[email protected]” initiative, encompassing Human Resources (HR), Occupational Health and Safety (OHS), Learning and Development, Greenslopes Wellness Program, Social Club and Library. This was designed to provide a more coordinated and collaborative approach to organisational wellness.
“With an increasingly competitive employment marketplace, and nursing shortage, increasing flexibility of work practices and the GPH wellness program were implemented as a key recruitment and retention strategy.
Other drivers included corporate social responsibility, an aging workforce, work intensification, increasing workers compensation costs, work life expectations, and ‘walking the talk’ as a health care organisation” explains Renae Long, GPH Human Resources Manager.
Long says “At GPH we have a comprehensive range of options for changing lifestyles and family demands. As we are a Hospital and as such operate 24/7 our staff has the option of tailored work hours to suit their family, educational and lifestyle commitments.”
GPH provides an extensive range of flexible work practices and well being options. These include an EAP program, gym, child care on site, many professional development opportunities, external education grants and scholarships for staff, the introduction of a recognition and rewards system, paid maternity leave provisions, support for financial wellness, a subsidised staff bistro providing healthy meal options, internet access via personal workstation or bistro IT booths, and many many, more initiatives.
Renae Long from GPH says “the benefits of our initiatives for employees include improved health and well being, job satisfaction, work life balance, productivity and financial literacy and retirement planning. This provides our staff with employment satisfaction and is supported by our increasing retention rates.”
Leadership, management commitment and employee engagement are key to the success of well being programs. This commitment and engagement require role modelling by senior management, consultation, on-going education, sophisticated facilitated dialogue and program evaluation.