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CIPD Wellbeing at Work Conference: What you missed

The Wellbeing at Work Conference was hosted by the CIPD in Marble Arch, London

The HR magazine team headed to the CIPD’s Wellbeing at Work Conference to round up the hottest topics in wellbeing.

Link wellbeing to priorities 

Organisations should embed wellbeing by aligning it with their business priorities, according to Clare Gowar, global lead of health and wellbeing at Philips.

Speaking at the conference, she said this had been particularly relevant when making redundancies in the organisation: “We had to make difficult decisions this year and say goodbye to some staff. We had to shift to see wellbeing as fundamental support and not a ‘nice to have.’

“We knew the employees who remained after the redundancies may have larger workloads, and may have been affected by the situation. So, we implemented things like shortening meetings and reminders for people to take their full holiday allowance and disconnect.”

Read more: CIPD advises next UK government to focus on 'good work'

Lead with vulnerability 

Leaders should be encouraged to talk about their own mental health and model an open culture, according to Sarah Merrington, head of the Mental Health at Work Programme at Mind.

She said: “There is immense power in vulnerability from your leadership to foster an environment where conversations around mental health and support happen.

“Senior leaders have to buy into your wellbeing policies to let this happen. That means honour flexible working commitments, not sending emails outside of core hours and undertaking training.”


Focus on access

Wellbeing policies are only effective if they are truly accessible, according to Aggninder Dhillon, head of international reward and wellbeing at Twinings.

She said: “We want our wellbeing policies to be something everyone is part of but we recognise we have to engage with different groups in different ways.

“For our manufacturing workforce, we know they might not have access to a laptop to look at our policies so we host in-person sessions to take people through our wellbeing approach. We also put QR codes and posters in the factory so people can access our programmes quite quickly. And we have seen a bigger uptake since that.”

Read more: Five ways to boost your benefits strategy

See line managers as enablers

To prevent line managers from being overwhelmed by wellbeing responsibilities, they should learn to signpost and enable staff to get help, according to Becky Thoseby, head of workplace wellbeing at the Ministry of Justice.

She said: “Managers are not there to fix things, they're there to create the environment where things can be fixed.

“Wellbeing is a shared responsibility between individual and line manager. Managers are scared to have conversations because of what they can reveal, but the line manager can be an enabler, not a psychologist or a friend.

“They need to learn to signpost appropriate resources and know that signposting is not ‘fobbing people off’. This should help them let go of some of the pressure and guilt that can happen around wellbeing.”