A new web-based initiative aims to make it easier to engage employees in wellbeing schemes, explains Robertson Cooper’s managing director Ben Moss.
Despite the weight of research demonstrating the positive difference wellbeing can make, most organisations still do not realise the potential of a well workforce. Reluctant chief executives and other budget holders, as well as sceptical employees, can be big barriers. So where is the impetus for this change going to come from? Business psychologist firm Robertson Cooper believe that part of the solution is the internet and social media.
Having run a network of wellbeing practitioners for the last five years, in November 2012 the group launched a free online service called Good Day at Work – giving access to wellbeing resources to everyone in every organisation.
It builds on Robertson Cooper’s free tool i-resilience, which has now been used by nearly 30,000 people to help them improve their resilience levels. The company aims to provide resources to at least 100,000 people through the Good Day at Work initiative over the next two years.
Historically, wellbeing has been an issue primarily owned by HR, although responsibility has spread to other business areas, some of which usually sit within HR. But if wellbeing is to be part of everyday working life, senior management and line managers need to be involved, in addition to the employees themselves.
Wellbeing cannot just be ‘done’ to people, they need to engage with the issue themselves and take responsibility for playing their part in creating a well workplace.”
Wellbeing cannot just be “done” to people, they need to engage with the issue themselves and take responsibility for playing their part in creating a well workplace.
The Good Day at Work service is designed to enable all employees to take responsibility for their wellbeing and get more out of their work.
For example, understanding the behaviour and working styles of others helps an employee improve their working relationships. Or helping a line manager appreciate the impact they are having on their team improves their performance and that of their colleagues.
All too frequently, organisations offer fantastic wellbeing programmes and on-going support services, but awareness and take-up remain low. And when an initiative does not work out, funding is at risk. Often this can be a trust issue, with employees seeing wellbeing as a flash-in-the-pan initiative or a tick-box exercise that is not worth engaging with.
Sometimes, employees are just not ready to start the wellbeing journey despite what is made available by the employer. More information, interaction and dialogue is needed, but there is a limit to what most organisations can do in this respect – and this is the thinking behind the Good Day at Work service.
The new hub provides a trusted external source of information that will remain free for employees. Learning more about how wellbeing can help their performance and enjoyment of work will inspire individuals to find out about the wellbeing activity and support that is already available – making the most of existing policies as well as suggesting new ideas that are relevant for them.
In turn, all of this helps OH practitioners, as greater support for initiatives means more take-up and greater return on investment, which makes the business case easier to make in the future. Ultimately, it provides a lever to influence the people at the top to get on board with wellbeing, with local success stories providing the evidence they need to commit future resources.
Good Day at Work also includes resources aimed at HR and its partners, especially OH practitioners. Some organisations are much further along than others, so there is a need to bring people together to share experiences. This is more important than ever when resources are tight, as it stops businesses making the mistakes from which others have already learnt.
Different things to different people
Greater support for initiatives means more take-up and greater return on investment, which makes the business case easier to make in the future.”
Videos, case studies, white papers and online newspaper “The Good Daily” provide a resource library for managers and employees. Not all content is produced by Robertson Cooper – the company is acting as a curator, collecting all the information in one place. Wellbeing means different things to different people, so the website covers a blend of subjects, showcasing member successes and supporting movements that are striving for related outcomes. Robertson Cooper welcomes external input, as well as encouraging co-creation among members.
The founding directors – Ivan Robertson and Cary Cooper – are involved in national and international groups such as the Employee Engagement Taskforce, the World Economic Forum and the Global Health Council. This will ensure the resource is up to date with all developments in the field of wellbeing.
High levels of wellbeing, and all the benefits that come with them, are not just the preserve of dynamic, young start-ups or “best company” organisations with huge budgets. The resource aims to help all individuals work in an environment that brings out their best, so they are personally fulfilled and able to give all they can to the business. If enough people get involved, it is possible to reach a tipping point where wellbeing becomes a necessity rather than a “nice to have”.
Ben Moss is managing director of Robertson Cooper
Visit Robertson Cooper’s website to sign up for the Good Day at Work initiative.