This year’s edition of the Edenred Health and Wellbeing Research found that despite the belief that wellbeing improves business performance, the majority of employers are failing to put the right strategy in place to support their employees.

So what should organisation be doing? Our research identified seven action areas for any employer who wants to improve health, wellbeing and employee performance.

1  Investigate the issues facing your organisation – No two organisations are the same so the nature of your business and the kind of people who work for you will create a unique challenge when it comes to the health and wellbeing of your employees. It’s critical to identify the specific health and wellbeing issues you face so that you can focus resources on initiatives that will make the greatest difference to performance.

2  Quantify the impact and the costs – If investing in wellbeing is to deliver a business impact, you need to quantify the gains you expect to make for the business. By setting goals and targets to measure the impact of specific initiatives you can compare investment to business outcomes.  This will arm you with the information you need to engage and influence senior stakeholders.

3  Identify the gaps – The third step to an effective health and wellbeing is to map what you are doing today, how that meets your future needs and prioritise any gaps that need filling. This is the final piece of insight which will help you put together the right health and wellbeing strategy.

4  Put a strategy in place – The biggest opportunity for many organisations is to transform ad hoc wellbeing activity into a coherent programme. Plan how your programme will be delivered through all levels across your organisation and reinforced through other strategies such as employee reward, recognition and talent management. Make sure this realistic and break down your programme into discreet, deliverable initiatives.

5  Communicate what you are doing…and why you are doing it – Even the best health and wellbeing proposition will fail unless you engage your employees with what you are doing. Work with your managers to explain your priorities, why they matter and how they will help their teams and the business. Work with a champion in the leadership team to support what you are doing. Lastly, don’t go for a big bang launch and then do nothing. Keep momentum through communication and feedback about what you are doing.

6  Measure the right things – It’s not enough simply look at absence or sick leave as the lead indicator for wellbeing in your organisation. Issues like presenteeism where employees fail to take holidays and work long hours as well as around the clock email activity take a substantial toll on your people. Take a wider view on how you define a healthy employee and then measure against that.

7  Invest more in what works…and stop doing things that don’t – Health and wellbeing is still a new area for most organisations. That means some things will work but other things may not. Be prepared to kill the projects which aren’t working. This will free up money for the things which do work and show the business you are focused on business impact.

If you’d like to take a closer look at our research you can find a summary of the results on our blog where you will also be able to download the full results.

I am sales and marketing director at employee benefits provider Edenred. You can read more insight at www.edenred.co.uk/ehub or follow him on twitter @andy_philpott.

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