How to Create a Culture of Wellbeing in the Workplace

On the 30th of October, 85 HR professionals joined us for a panel discussion about creating a culture of wellbeing at work. Read more for some of the insights they shared.

Yugi the Giraffe - 4 November 2019

When it comes to wellbeing benefits, businesses often find it difficult to find a solution that will be sustainable, deliver tangible change, and engage employees. In recent years, more and more companies realise that in order to do that, they need more than just a benefit - they need to create a culture of wellbeing.

But “culture” can seem like an abstract term, which doesn’t explain how to create it and what’s important to think about when creating it. These are exactly the questions our event on the 30th of October tried to tackle.

Around 85 HR Directors and Heads of Wellbeing attended this exclusive breakfast event at MMC Ventures offices in London. The talk was led by Sammy Rubin, Founder and CEO of yulife, and featured industry leaders who have created successful and sustainable wellbeing cultures at their respective workplaces: Arti Kashyap-Aynsley, Head of Wellbeing at Deloitte Consulting; Ewen Macpherson, People Director at Havas Media; Alexandra Gagliardi, Head of People at Elvie; Jen Christie, Wellbeing Ambassador at Leon and Rise-Well Founder.

The fascinating talk was preceded by a healthy Deliciously Ella breakfast and networking time for the guests. Everyone left feeling motivated to bring wellbeing into their office, realising how much of a hot topic a culture of wellbeing is right now - and for a good reason.

Guests having breakfast

“A few years ago, a candidate’s first question was almost always about salary and progression,” Jen stressed the increasing importance of a wellbeing culture. “Now, the first thing they ask about is culture. People won’t even consider a job unless they feel the culture is right for them.”

All about you

The panel also discussed the significance of adapting your wellbeing culture to the specific needs of your employees. “A good culture of wellbeing requires agility and a dynamic approach,” Arti explained. “It means understanding your people, and what their challenges are. If they work in professional services, for example, they may be travelling a lot, away from their families and with little routine. A good wellbeing initiative may need to look different, in this instance.”

“Not everything will suit everyone,” Ewan agreed. “We have our core benefits for everyone, but then we build on this by having lots of additional stuff to appeal to lots of different people. The important part is listening to your people: we have crystal healing workshops now - I wouldn’t have thought of this on my own, but it was suggested by someone on the team.”

Businesses may think that a good wellbeing programme has to be expensive, but our panel made sure to refute that assumption. “There are some cheap and easy actions to get started and showcase the benefits of a wellbeing culture,” Alexandra shared. “For example, we started by reminding our employees to take their holiday on a regular basis, giving them free flu vaccination, gym membership discounts, a 10 minute health check done on site, or even simply raising awareness on mental health and providing tips for employees and managers on how to start a discussion about it.”

Just do it

When asked to give their main tip for businesses who want to get on the wellbeing wagon, Jen didn’t hesitate. “Just start, you can start small, but don’t delay. We often feel we need to wait for the perfect programme or initiative, but starting small and making changes later is probably the best way forward.”

“It’s also really important to ensure that senior management are role models when it comes to the wellbeing initiatives or behaviours that you want to introduce,” Ewan pointed out. “It’s no good implementing a programme if this is then undermined by senior management.”

“Management needs to remember that wellbeing is not a cost for the company, it doesn't mean less work done or productivity,” Alexandra added. “What it does mean is more flexibility on how the work is done, and a culture where we can talk about everything.”

Guests listening to the discussion

In order to convince management of the importance of wellbeing, data always needs to be kept in mind. “Ensure that success metrics are discussed and set from the start, rather than trying to retro-fit different measures,” Arti warned. “This way, you can prove the success and build from there.”

“Show it as a business case,” Alexandra agreed. “Wellbeing is key to productivity, attractiveness and retention, and there’s data to prove it. Have your business case ready, start small and simple, and demonstrate the added value with low investment.”

We believe that YuLife is a great way to kickstart your wellbeing programme, as well as a well-valued addition to an existing one. Together with our company life insurance plan that ensures your team feels protected, our policies come with the yulife app, which rewards your employees for caring for their wellbeing.

Through the app, your people will earn yucoin, the wellbeing currency, for healthy activities such as walking or meditating. They can then exchange their yucoin for Avios air miles and gift cards from brands like Amazon, ASOS and so many more!

Want to be invited to our next events, as well as get more wellbeing insights and interesting articles? Sign up to our mailing list:

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Yugi the Giraffe

Yugi is our YuLife mascot. Like all giraffes they've got a big heart – in fact the biggest heart of all land animals.