A guide to getting buy-in for your wellbeing strategy03.03.22
Chief Innovation Officer
Support from across the business is essential to building a successful wellbeing strategy. Look back to your analysis, goals and objectives and be prepared to tell the story of the current wellbeing landscape in the business – and how your new strategy ties into the priorities of the people you’re pitching to. Arm yourself with the data and research that links employee wellbeing with success metrics like employee turnover, customer loyalty and shareholder value, to illustrate clearly how your mission will positively impact all areas of your organisation.
At board level
When obtaining buy-in from senior management, give some thought to the specific roles of the c-suite in your wellbeing strategy:
Chief Executive Officer = Inspirational empowerment
Empowering employees to take their own wellbeing seriously requires them to see their leaders do the same. The CEO is ultimately responsible for making wellbeing a business priority and leading by example. Robbert Rietbroek, ex-CEO of PepsiCo Australia and New Zealand famously told his leaders to “leave loudly” to make sure all employees were comfortable using their flexible working policies. Use your CEO as the figurehead for your strategy.
Chief People Officer = Culture enablers
Wellbeing needs to be personalised to the individual and in line with changing needs and lifestyles. The CPO owns the company values, its culture and employer brand, so they’ll want to see a strategy aligned with those. They can bring you the metrics on wellbeing, engagement, diversity, and inclusion to predict future trends and success. Remember, your wellbeing plan should align to the people strategy and vice versa.
Chief Information Officer = IT gatekeepers and infrastructure enablers
There will inevitably be technology to integrate in your plans to create a digital ‘home’ for wellbeing resources and benefits. Having an internal consultant to support the project and build a seamless employee experience where all elements are connected in one place is non-negotiable.
Chief Financial Officer = Number-centric
There’s clear evidence for the financial impact of workplace wellbeing. Quantify the impact on recruitment, retention, absenteeism, and productivity in your business case so the financial payback is clear.
Chief Marketing Officer = Brand advocates
The crossover between consumer brand and employer brand is now so strong that customers and potential employees are looking for a sense of purpose and meaning on either side of the brand. Involving the marketing team in your strategy will ensure that the world knows about all the great things you are doing and how seriously you’re taking employee wellbeing as part of a wider corporate mission and purpose.
At management level
Managers should play a critical role, not just in signposting colleagues towards help, but in making sure employees know what resources are available to them. Management buy-in is also critical for obtaining support throughout the organisation and approving policies and processes related to a wellbeing strategy. Think about creating departmental champions to join a steering group to help embed wellbeing into your organisation.
Consider creating country wellbeing champions that can help build a better picture of what life is like in each region and inform on the language nuances to describe the same things across regions, e.g. ‘pay rise’, ‘raise’ or ‘salary hike’. You should also consider what each region is experiencing, at a macro-economic level, and how this might be supported by any strategy you develop.
Employee communications through wellbeing champions
While nearly all organisations say they communicated with their employees more about wellbeing in the last year, the data tells us that many employees still don’t know what is on offer in their organisation. Gartner’s Wellbeing Benchmarking Survey found that while almost every organisation (96%) offered emotional wellbeing programmes, less than half of employees knew their employer offered them.
To ensure the success of your wellbeing scheme, you must engage your employees through communication campaigns. The most successful of these will utilise your wellbeing advocates listed above. For example, use recognition to visibly thank those employee champions who are making efforts to talk about mental health. Use photos and stories of employee participation in wellbeing activities as part of your communications from leaders. Plan a comprehensive communications campaign to show how employees have engaged in, and benefitted from, the support you are offering.
Above all, remember that your employees are the most important stakeholders you’re pitching to – and they’re also the ones who will be using the wellbeing scheme. Consider the overlap, and build your strategy and buy-in proposal simultaneously.
To learn more about how to gain buy-in for your wellbeing strategy, check out our Practical guide to taking employee wellbeing to the next level.
Gethin is an award-winning psychologist who has been helping some of the world’s largest organisations to improve their employee experience and wellbeing for more than two decades. The last 11 years have been spent working as part of the senior leadership team at Benefex where Gethin leads thought leadership as Chief Innovation Officer.
As a frequent writer and speaker on employee experience and employee wellbeing, Gethin has been featured in Forbes, The Guardian, The Sun, The Huffington Post and The Financial Times as well as all major HR, Reward and Pensions publications. Gethin has been listed as one of the world’s top 101 Global Employee Experience Influencers for the last two years running, is listed on the Employee Engagement Powerlist, is one of LinkedIn’s top global contributors and an Inspiring Leader 2021. Gethin is also a regular keynote speaker, ex-Chair of Wellbeing at the UK Government-backed Engage for Success and a Fellow at the RSA.
In 2018, Gethin published his first book - the HR bestseller ‘A World of Good: Lessons From Around the World in Improving the Employee Experience’, which has gone on to inspire HR and Reward teams at some of the world’s best known brands. In early 2022, Gethin co-authored his second book ‘Das Menschliche Büro - The Human(e) Office’ a collaboration between leading academics and workplace professionals from across Europe. In October 2022, Gethin published his “third” book ‘A Work In Progress: Unlocking Wellbeing to Create More Sustainable and Resilient Organisations’ which also became an immediate bestseller.