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How to justify spending on workplace health and wellbeing when money is tight


Whatever the financial climate, there is always competition for budgets within any organisation.


When pitching wellbeing to stakeholders, you need to be clear on why it’s a vital investment – a ‘must have’ rather than a ‘nice to have’. Here’s what you’re up against…


1) Surely wellbeing isn’t a priority right now?

Make no mistake, there is no better time to look after your employees than when the pressure is on and demands on them are at their greatest.


If you’re working with teams who’ve had their numbers cut, they need to be engaged and motivated to focus on the job and not on insecurities around them.


If your initiatives are properly designed, they will have an immediate impact throughout the business and get great results, improving staff energy, staff morale and staff fitness as well as helping individuals to maximise their personal efficiency.


In short, a downturn is when your people need support the most.


2) How do we ensure wellbeing at work is received positively?

Be strategic with your wellbeing programme. You need to know why you’re doing it and communicate the right information to your staff, whether this is on stress management or health awareness.


If you’re making the effort to create a positive and energetic culture within your organisation, tell everyone concerned. If you’re doing it to ease the increased stress and burden staff may be feeling, tell them.


3) Wouldn’t staff just prefer extra cash at the end of the month?

The reason most businesses don’t simply offer more money is that extra pay can be a very short-lived incentive.


Conversely, wellbeing at work can provide staff with resources that generate personal benefits way beyond a few extra pounds each month.


This is money well spent on building engagement, retention and loyalty as well as providing added value for employees.


4) How do we justify the extra spend internally and externally?

If you’re concerned that the money you’re planning to invest in wellbeing will come under scrutiny from your staff or from sources outside the business, particularly the media, make sure that everyone knows the full story.


Be transparent about the positive intentions the company has for its culture and its people. Sell the benefits.


Make it clear to staff that you’ve done your research and you’re responding to what you know will improve happiness, motivation and performance levels within your business. As corporate health and fitness programmes are extremely popular with staff, this should be very well received.


If you need to justify the initiative externally, explain how every pound you’re planning to invest in this area is designed to generate many more pounds when it comes to increasing productivity and morale, and reducing absence, turnover and recruitment costs.


5) Is wellbeing the right place to be spending money?

Yes, if well planned. If you’ve done your homework, you will be in a position to roll out a programme that doesn’t break the bank while ensuring that it is so well targeted to your employees’ needs that each initiative generates a tangible return on investment, boosting staff morale and helping individuals to reach a higher level of personal effectiveness.


6) How do I make the right decision about what to spend the money on?

Fancy initiatives that cost a fortune are no substitute for targeted initiatives that make a real difference. Bear in mind the following guidelines:


a) Use initiatives that get people excited and involved. This way you will be able to increase staff energy, giving your workplace a tangible buzz.


b) Recognise and reward those who take part. This needn’t mean extra expense, but cost-effective tokens of appreciation or even simply publicly acknowledged success stories that get staff engaged and create a brilliant buzz around your office.


Communicate, be flexible, judge by results and modify your approach as necessary to ensure you always achieve value for money.


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