The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has called on employers to address the effect of management style on employee wellbeing.
It has published public health guidance designed to provide advice for managers and employers on how to develop a more positive and health-aware culture.
The wide-ranging report acknowledges the impact of management style and corporate culture as a factor in employee health and advises on areas such as organisational commitment to health and wellbeing and the leadership style of line managers. The guidance recognises the value to wellbeing of giving employees more control and flexibility over how and when they work.
It covers mental wellbeing at work, including advice that all those with a remit for workplace health should develop policies that support workplace culture, such as ensuring respect for work-life balance.
“Senior leaders should act as role models for leadership, and proactively challenge behaviour and actions that may adversely affect employee health and wellbeing. Line managers should receive training to improve their awareness of health and wellbeing issues,” NICE has argued.
The guidance explores areas such as the positive and negative effect that an organisation’s culture can have on health and wellbeing, and the business case for strengthening the role of line managers in the context of employee health.
Dame Carol Black, the Department of Health’s expert adviser, said: “There is abundant evidence that the health, especially the mental health, and overall wellbeing of employees depends greatly on their relationships at work.
“That means their relationships with each other but particularly their relationships with employers, from line manager to the most senior executive and board member. These relationships are encapsulated in the concept and practice of engagement – a concept that reflects the culture of an organisation.
“The precepts contained in this guidance are simple and plainly put. They are already observed in exemplary organisations. It should not be difficult to translate them into practice in all,” she added.
It follows an intervention by Public Health England relating to workplace health in June, including the recommendation that sedentary workers should be encouraged to spend a minimum of two hours a day on their feet every day.
NICE deputy chief executive Professor Gillian Leng said: “Every workplace is different and the relationship between management and employee wellbeing is a complex one, dependent on numerous factors including occupation, sector and so on. However, there are some basic principles that should be applied by all employers, directors and line managers – these include ensuring the right policies and management practices are in place.”
And NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens added: “Health-promoting workplaces are obviously good for millions of employees and ultimately for taxpayers too, so the time is right for all employers – including the NHS – to raise our game.”