Three reasons why your corporate wellbeing strategies aren’t working and what you can do about it.

We speak to many companies about wellbeing and assist with their wellbeing strategies. We have noticed a trend. Wellbeing strategies are failing to gain momentum and produce results and it is often hard for people to get funding.

Is your strategy is failing?

The answer is simple – has anything changed for the better? Have staff absences reduced? What about staff attrition? If you have no real provable results from your efforts – it’s failing.

Why is your strategy failing?

There are many reasons but there are three which encompass most of the issues:

1.      The wellbeing strategy has no plan.

There is a tendency for a strategy to consist of a list of fun activities without an overarching plan. There may be ideas linked to areas of concern but one activity is unlikely to change the world, its cultural change which makes the biggest impact. So, do you have a measureable outcome ? Do all of your activities support that outcome?

2.      The wellbeing strategy is not supported or created by the leadership team.

In order for companies to benefit from having employees at the top of their game, the senior team must see it as important and support it. They need to encourage change and lead the project. They need to get involved. All too often, the wellbeing plan is given to a over worked person in HR who has to jump through hoops to get any funding. Often they don’t feel they have the authority to make cultural change and without the overarching view of the business it is hard to make an effective lasting impact.

3.      One or more phases of the programme are missing.

The wellbeing strategy is focusing on activities only in one of the three phases of wellbeing, or on the wrong phase for the needs of the team. This can be seen as low attendance at initiatives.

There are three phases of a workplace wellbeing project:

Engagement, Change and Maintenance.

The Engagement Phase starts the wellbeing conversation. Typical activities are wellbeing days and keynote talks. They are voluntary, light touch and are a largely a one way dialogue. This phase of activity may prompt individual change for a few people but if left unsupported or not built upon are unlikely to make large scale change. This is a great time to take a temperature check of the team or organisation and see what impact the initial engagement activity has had. What struck a chord, what could you work on?

The Change Phase is a two-way conversation. Typical activities are workshops and individual support activities such as coaching. This is where the magic happens, but few companies focus on this area. This is where you get to re-write the rules around how people work and support each other. This is where people have the opportunity to create an appropriate plan for themselves and to support their colleagues with their plan.

The Maintenance Phase is business as usual and should support the outcomes of the Change phase. For example, if as a group you have decided that a number of you want to focus on a physical activity as you have long periods of time at your desks – then set up five a side football, or a walking club. As this is discussed by the group as a collective outcome in the change phase, there is an established demand.

If there are wide ranging concerns in the change phase about anxiety this is the phase where you have a buddy system or a regular facilitated group. Without the change phase, how do you know what they need? Without the change phase do your teams really buy in to the change? in fact, is there going to be a change at all?

The typical issue around wellbeing initiatives is that the change phase is missed out. This leads to a lack of commitment to wellbeing activities. Mix this with no input from the senior team and you have a failing wellbeing programme. A talk, a wellbeing day where a few people attend, a bowl of fruit and half price gym membership.

Light touch and virtually no impact.


Does your wellbeing plan have a structure which will support a lasting change? If not, go back to the beginning. Each wellbeing activity will have an impact, but if you want a far reaching impact, consider what do you are doing in the Change Phase. Is there a true two-way dialogue? Does everyone have the opportunity to create a plan which is suitable and appropriate for themselves? Or have you made assumptions about what they need?

Discover Your Bounce offers the following support for wellbeing initiatives throughout the three phases.

Engagement Phase:

  • Wellbeing pop-up
  • Keynote speakers
  • Wake Up & Bounce discussion group to set the scene

Change Phase:

  • Engage! Programme
  • Wake up & Bounce discussion group to facilitate what could be changed.
  • The Bounce Programme for individual personal exploration

Maintenance Phase:

  • Wellbeing week
  • Wellbeing pop-up
  • Wake Up & Bounce – hot topics
  • Keynote speakers




Sharing is caring! Facebooktwitterlinkedinmail
About The Author

Sharon Critchlow

Sharon Critchlow is a Wellbeing Advocate, speaker and facilitator at Discover Your Bounce for Business. Passionate about people being the best they can be she is a Time To Change Champion for mental health and holds a Masters level qualification in strategic coaching for performance. Sharon is a qualified accountant and has 20 years experience in senior leadership roles in the financial services sector.