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How to implement wellness initiatives that actually work

By Jack Campbell | |5 minute read
How To Implement Wellness Initiatives That Actually Work

Wellbeing can mean many different things depending on who you ask. This is why implementing an effective strategy can be difficult, as you’re catering to different needs.

However, there are some general rules that can help to make the process more impactful.

“The best workplace wellness initiatives are those that draw on practices from positive psychology to create positive change, allowing employees to reduce stress and increase resilience,” said Indeed's workplace psychologist Amanda Gordon.


“Examples of these can include access to guided meditation and mindfulness apps, encouragement of both personal and professional gratitude practices, positive feedback and recognition programs, goal setting and monitoring, and work/life balance initiatives like flexible working and support of wellbeing habits.”

“Initiatives like these empower employees to make positive choices in their own lives and be more effective and connected in the workplace,” she said.

Initiatives that give employees the opportunity to better understand and manage their mental health are extremely important, said Ms Gordon. This can be achieved by providing mental health support services, training, or therapy.

There are mistakes that organisations make, which are important to recognise. Ms Gordon noted that treating wellness like a “tick box” will only cause the initiative to fall short.

“An example of this is a company organising a resilience workshop and then believing they have covered this area, so they don’t check back in. When organisations do this, it can leave employees feeling less supported. Follow-up conversations and actioning any outstanding learnings or evaluations are an absolute must,” Ms Gordon said.

“Diverting total responsibility to HR is another mistake. Employees are always more receptive when leaders and managers take the lead in integrating wellbeing and wellness into the culture of the business and [are] part of an open and ongoing discussion. When organisations separate wellness initiatives and programs from everyday business practices, this can diminish the overall impact.”

Effective wellbeing policy can have a significant effect on both the workers and their work output. It can also build resilience, helping to reduce future stress, said Ms Gordon.

“Investing in the ongoing resilience of employees plays a significant part in overall business performance,” she said.

“Effective wellness policies can also improve inclusiveness within the workplace. There is good evidence that an inclusive workplace is highly valued and enhances employee effectiveness and engagement.”

Ms Gordon continued: “An effective wellness policy will also provide opportunities for open conversations about physical and mental health. Employees will be more likely to speak up when it comes to their mental health, as well as reach out for help if needed. Finally, an effective wellness policy will reduce the likelihood of employees burning out, needing to take longer-term stress leave, or making a claim against the company.”

Jack Campbell

Jack Campbell

Jack is the editor at HR Leader.