Senior leadership still blocking wellbeing strategies

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HR teams are still faced with significant obstacles implementing wellbeing strategies, including a lack of buy-in from senior leaders.

Almost a third (31%) of HR leaders said that a lack of buy in from senior leaders was the biggest barrier to implementing wellbeing strategies, ahead of limited budgets (25%) and even a lack of time (12%).

The research also found that 45% of HR leaders identified tackling mental health issues in the workplace as their biggest wellbeing challenge.

Vicky Walker, head of people at Westfield Health, warned that a lack of wellbeing in the workplace can impact company culture.

“Putting wellbeing first isn’t just about investment – it’s about culture,” she said.

“With genuine, visible and consistent support from senior leaders, companies will be able to make health and wellbeing an integral part of how they do business.”

Stress (22%), poor engagement (18%) and physical health (10%) were also identified as major issues in the workplace.

Walker said: “This pandemic has placed business in the most extreme of climates, testing the wellbeing and flexibility of companies with little advance warning.

“Some have embraced this challenge, altered their wellbeing approach and will benefit as a result. But others are yet to see wellbeing as an important strategic tool to aid recovery.

“If HR leaders can get support from the top down, then we can work together to create happier, healthier, thriving companies.”


Further reading

The importance of employee wellbeing for SMEs

HR and business leaders must acknowledge mental health taboo

Employer support is not enough to help the wellbeing of millennials


In June 2020, research for Westfield Health’s Divided Together report found that 35% of HR leaders across the UK have increased their wellbeing budgets, with the same percentage planning to continue investing into the future.

Despite progress being made, its latest research had revealed there are still significant obstacles to the implementation of wellbeing strategies.

Walker added: “With the benefits of happier workers, better retention rates and higher productivity, there is a powerful argument for investing in wellbeing as a core, strategic element to strengthen a company.”

Surveys can help HR monitor an employee’s happiness, suggested Walker.

“Getting a clear baseline of employee wellbeing needs through surveys then tracking the implementation and impact of programmes will help HR teams make the case for starting, sustaining or even increasing investment in wellbeing programmes,” she said.

Survey data was based on the view of over 400 HR leaders.

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