Introduce me and my role as chair of wellbeing group, my day job, my background
The Wellbeing sub-group of E4S aims to drive the debate about the link between wellbeing, whether mental or physical, and employee engagement. It was launched in August 2013 to build on the paper “Why wellbeing matters: Sustaining Employee Engagement & Wellbeing”, and under Wendy Cartwright's chair, the group published a whitepaper called 'Wellbeing and employee engagement: the evidence' in May 2014.
Engage for Success (E4S) is a movement committed to the idea that there is a better way to work, a better way to enable personal growth, organisational growth and ultimately growth for Britain by releasing more of the capability and potential of people at work. We want to grow awareness about the power and potential of employee engagement, and above all we want individuals and organisations to take action. The movement is widely supported across the UK, involving the public, private and third sectors; organisations supporting the movement account for more than 2,000,000 people.
1. The big picture – productivity, austerity, engagement, wellbeing 2. How can engagement help improve productivity? 3. And what role does wellbeing have to play? 4. What can you do? i.e. What should you be focusing on? How can you deliver change?
The UK has a productivity deficit. On an output per worker basis, UK productivity was 20 percentage points lower than the rest of the G7 in 2011. This represents the widest productivity gap since 1995.
So if the UK has a productivity deficit, and funding is being reduced, our challenge is to deliver more for less.
Austerity is here to stay, and you’ll have felt the impact both at home and at work.
The pressure is often to cut what are considered to be the ‘nice-to-haves’ or the soft stuff like training, welfare etc.
Does that sound familiar?
Analysis of the evidence shows that:
So what is wellbeing? There are various definitions but I find that many tend to be incomplete.
To me, in simplest terms, wellbeing is about being healthy and happy. It’s about our minds and our bodies (the two are inextricably linked anyway, so why try and separate them!)
Our wellbeing is influenced by a number of factors or parts of our lives, and these will vary somewhat by individual. The chart just gives you an example. In fact it reminds me of the Wellbeing Wheel exercise in your ‘wellbeing toolkit’
So, I’d like to get your input here. Think back to a time when you haven’t felt ‘well’, whether physically or mentally, or when you have observed an unwell colleague.
What aspects of your or their performance were affected by their poor wellbeing? Just shout out what you observed.
Well that’s a raft of observations – here’s the list that I came up with – we’ve observed similar effects. But if you turn it on your head and have a happy and healthy workforce, then you achieve the opposite to this list – better attendance, concentration and decision-making, a more supportive environment, people better able to deal with pressure, uncertainty and change. A pretty good place to be, don’t you agree?
So, I’ve set out a fairly depressing landscape.
But, there is hope, because there are connections between all these things. And the evidence shows that by focusing on one area, we can improve another.
So let’s start with engagement – if we engage our employees better, how can this help?
Engagement = productivity Organisations in the top quartile of employee engagement scores had 18% higher productivity A 2013 experiment by Stanford University with China’s largest travel agency, CTrip, found that productivity increased by 30% after the company introduced working from home practices. They found it was due to employees feeling as though they had the trust, freedom and flexibility to work how and where they want - the psychological contract was improved.
Engagement = retention Disengaged employees are 4x more likely to leave than the average employee (CLC, 2008). Employees who are disengaged or find their work stressful are more likely to resign (Bevan, 2010). 54% of British full time employees feel that their employer does not care about their health and wellbeing as long as they do their job. 1/3rd of them have considered looking for a new job as a result (IIP, 2014)
Engagement = safety Organisations with bottom quartile engagement average 62% more accidents that top quartile (Gallup, 2006)
Engagement = less absence Those who describe themselves as happy are less likely to take a ‘sickie’: 20% vs. 27% of unhappy employees (IIP, 2014). Staff at organisations with high engagement scores take 7 days absence per year vs. 14 days in low engagement organisations
And engagement has also been proven to link to higher customer satisfaction, higher profits, greater innovation, greater revenue growth and better efficiency…
Although there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach and no master model for successful employee engagement there were four common themes that emerged from the extensive research captured in the Engaging For Success report to government (also known as the MacLeod Report). These four enablers of engagement have proved to be useful lenses which can help organisations assess the effectiveness of their approaches.
1. Visible, empowering leadership providing a strong strategic narrative about the organisation, where it’s come from and where it’s going. 2. Engaging managers who focus their people and give them scope, treat their people as individuals and coach and stretch their people. 3. There is organisational integrity – the values on the wall are reflected in day to day behaviours. There is no ‘say –do’ gap. 4. There is employee voice throughout the organisations, for reinforcing and challenging views, between functions and externally, employees are seen as central to the solution.
Examples abound on the E4S website, but let me tell you how I have seen this work from a personal perspective… provide own example here
“The relationship between employee health and employee commitment and engagement is multifaceted. Indeed, there is research evidence that suggests a two-way, possibly self-reinforcing relationship: healthy employees are more committed and committed employees are more healthy” Bevan 2010
Engagement bolsters emotional wellbeing in stressful times. Work is the primary activity for many people during their waking hours, so their engagement levels affect the extent to which they enjoy their lives.
When employees are engaged and thriving, they are more likely to be agile and resilient, so major organisational changes or disruptions in their personal lives are unlikely to throw them off course.
Organisations that make an effort to improve their employees’ engagement levels will also help their workers improve the quality of their lives, minimising the costs of decreased productivity resulting from chronic illnesses whilst lowering healthcare and absence costs. (Gallup, 2013)
Employees who are engaged in their jobs are generally in better health and have healthier habits than employees who are not engaged or are actively disengaged.
“Engagement is important for performance but that it is unlikely to be sustainable unless it goes hand in hand with wellbeing” (CIPD 2012)
The Best Companies Guide is something you have probably all heard of, as there is usually quite a fanfare each year when the prestigious Sunday Times list of 100 Best Companies to Work For is published.
The company that produces this, Best Companies Ltd, use many of the themes we are talking about today, relating to engagement and wellbeing, to judge ‘a best company to work for’
So it must be right!!
You are probably itching to know what you can do.
There are many examples in the wellbeing papers previously produced by E4S ( and on the website), but here are a few case studies which I thought were great illustrations of different ideas, achieving tangible results.
So, I’ve given you some definitions, some evidence, some models and case studies.
I hope that all of us in this room are agreed that wellbeing, and engagement, are very important and have tangible impacts if we get it right or get it wrong in our organisations.
But this might all feel a bit ‘big’ and a bit too much theory for you right now.
You might be thinking that you have no money, no time, and want to get results fast.
Let’s have a show of hands: Who feels like it’s going to be easy to get wellbeing and employee engagement right in the police service? Who feels like it’s going to be hard?
I can’t give you all the answers, but what I do want to share is the twelve steps we talk about at E4S which we believe will enable an organisation (of any size/type), successfully implement a health and wellbeing programme. I’m confident you’ve already ticked a number of these off. So let me focus on just a few, and one extra from my experience… Dedicated teams don’t have to be HR professionals or ‘experts’, just passionate and who understand the business. Insight before action – step back and understand your situation before jumping feet first into a programme or initiative. Far higher chance of it being appropriate and successful, and means you can track your success - employee survey, absence records, health risk assessments, accidents, turnover… Tailor interventions – must be meaningful and appropriate; don’t just focus on the easier physical stuff; think holistically; ask your staff what they want; TAILOR – what works for my organisation may not work for yours (diff culture, diff roles, diff strengths and challenges). What you do has to be right for your organisation. Even what works in one police force may not work in another. Leaders as role models – all leaders need to ‘walk the talk’ – all of you included! Be open and get involved; think about the message you give - if you brag about long hours, or 3 hrs sleep a night, what message does this send? Grant permission – so staff can get involved Create a supportive environment – not just policies e.g. relating to smoking, but informally too e.g. regular coffee breaks; taking the stairs to meetings; I bring in fruit and healthy snacks for the team rather than cake (some of the time!!), and I block out time in my diary each week to go to a spin class with some of my team Align processes, procedures and employer branding – does the reward and recognition policy and process, and induction and recruitment all reflect your organisation’s focus on wellbeing and engagement? Celebrate success – and share your stories internally, across the police service, with E4S Give yourself time – behaviour and culture change is not something which happens overnight; so why expect your initiatives to instantly work; today’s ‘now, now, now’ culture risks putting additional stress on you as wellbeing leads; don’t be too hard on yourself if you don’t see instant results, and don’t give up – keep working at it; if after a while it doesn’t seem to be working, ask why, learn and adapt
Keep up your focus on wellbeing – it is essential and your efforts will reap rewards. Even if it feels like a mountain to climb, just start with one small step. If anyone has read Nudge by Thaler and Sunstein, you will know how little tweaks and changes can make all the difference (like the order in which you display healthy and unhealthy foods in the canteen)
Under my lead, since the start of this year, the wellbeing group is building a practical tool for business leaders and practitioners which will help them understand the key trends likely to affect the UK’s organisations and working population in 2025, the potential impact of these on wellbeing and engagement, and how organisations can prepare.
We are launching a beta version for feedback at the E4S conference in London on 24th Nov, and will further develop the tool based on the feedback we receive. Want it to be useful to leaders and practitioners in organisations.
So, please do some along to the conference. Details will be out shortly which I can share with you via Peter.
If anyone is happy to review our tool and do some user testing, please let me know. The more people who can input, the more valuable to everyone it will be.
And finally, please share your success stories with me. However small, I and E4S want to hear them.
Wellbeing and Engagement Presentation
WELLBEING AND EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT:
JOINING THE DOTS…MAKING THE CHANGE
Hannah McNicholl – E4S Wellbeing Subgroup Chair
• The big picture
• How can engagement help improve
• What role does wellbeing have to play?
• What can you do?
UK productivity growth
is at its slowest level
since the 1990s
We have the second lowest
productivity rate in group of
world's richest nations
Source: ONS; The Independent
(10 July 2015)
Austerity is here to stay, impacting how and where
Source: NAO report on the Financial sustainability of police forces in England and Wales (4 June 2015) 5
Only 1/3 of UK employees say they are
actively engaged at work
20 million workers are not
delivering their full capability or realising their
potential at work
64% of people said they have more to
offer in skills and talent than they are
currently being asked to demonstrate at work
“A workplace approach designed to ensure that employees are
committed to their organisation’s goals and values, motivated to
contribute to organisational success, and are able at the same time to
enhance their own sense of wellbeing.”
Professor David Guest
POOR WELLBEING AFFECTS MANY ASPECTS OF
coping with pressure
coping with uncertainty
18% higher productivity
in organisations with top
quartile engagement scores
more likely to leave
than the average
62% more accidents
organisations with bottom
quartile engagement scores
than those in the top quartile
the number of sick days are taken by staff at
low engagement organisations than at those
with high engagement scores (14 vs 7) 10
THE FOUR ENABLERS
The Sunday Times Best
Companies lists use a number of
wellbeing and engagement
drivers as their criteria for
HOW ORGANISATIONS HAVE IMPROVED WELLBEING
Marks & Spencer - wellbeing programme included elements
suggested by employees e.g. walking month and January weight
loss month. Turnover reduced to a low of 0.5% and sickness
Birmingham City Council - took part in ‘The Choir’ as part of
their engagement strategy using music to break down hierarchies
and silos, improve wellbeing and improve their reputation within
the city. Over 200 staff applied to join the choir. 91% of those who
were successful reported improved wellbeing; 94% of all staff
Mars - wellbeing strategy focused on smoking cessation, diet, physical
activity, and stress management. One campaign included resilience
workshops, optional health checks and a 16-week pedometer challenge.
89% said their energy levels and resilience had improved; 68% said they
had made long term changes to help their wellbeing; absence due to
mental health issues reduced; employees reported an increase in their
sleep quality and daily productivity. 16
1. Support from the ‘big boss’
2. Dedicated teams
3. Insight before action
4. Action plan
5. Tailor interventions
6. Communications strategy
7. Help leaders be role models
8. Grant permission
9. Create a supportive environment
10. Align processes, procedures and employer
11. Evaluate outcomes
12. Celebrate success
And, give yourself time…
Take one small step
MY PLEA TO YOU
Join us at our conference
Help us test the
wellbeing web tool
Share your ideas and
your success stories
Reports and papers:
'Why wellbeing matters: Sustaining Employee
Engagement & Wellbeing”
'Wellbeing and employee engagement: the