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Legal & General HRD: Wellbeing doesn’t have to be expensive

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Implementing wellbeing programmes doesn’t need to be expensive if HR is “smart”, according to Legal & General group HR director Elaine MacLean.

MacLean told HR magazine HR directors could “consider being smarter about opportunities without spending vast sums of money” in order to gain buy-in from senior leaders.

“It’s about what you’re trying to achieve,” she said. “Don’t assume you need to spend a lot of money to do it.”

For example, Legal & General worked with a number of charity partners, including the British Heart Foundation and Mind, trading business expertise in exchange for awareness sessions.

MacLean said she didn’t want Legal & General’s wellbeing strategy to be “a massive programme that made people feel sheep-dipped”.

Instead the organisation focused on three strands: my money, my life and my health. The campaign tied together a number of areas of wellbeing; namely physical, mental, financial and personal.

“You don’t need to spend a lot of money, you just need to spend some time pulling together clear themes,” advised MacLean. “Having the three strands means everything came under those and it makes the communications more powerful.”

Initiatives include using the government-backed scheme StepJockey, which evaluates the calories burned using the stairs in an office, inviting nurses on site to offer health assessments, and helping staff to manage their finances.

MacLean said a key aim was to encourage employees to address their health and wellbeing without feeling it was being forced upon them.

“We don’t want it to feel like a nanny state,” she said. “It needs to be about making it easy for people.”

Appointing wellbeing champions who are not fitness fanatics has been helpful in engaging staff in the programmes. “It helps to get unlikely champions,” she said.

Building the business case for wellbeing

HR magazine is holding a live HR Lunchtime Debate broadcast on building the business case for wellbeing on 24 June 2015, in conjunction with Unum.

The debate will explore why wellbeing often isn't viewed as a boardroom issue and features Matt Freeland, senior HR director (European snacks category supply chain) at PepsiCo, Stephen Bevan, director of the Centre for Workforce Effectiveness at The Work Foundation, Anthony Douglas, CEO at Cafcass and Joanne Abate, assistant VP global health management at Unum.

To register, click here