KEY ELEMENTS OF A HEALTH AND WELLBEING POLICY
Workplace health promotion policies should be clearly written so that there is no misunderstanding regarding their content. Try to keep it simple.
No two business are the same, it is impossible to have standard policies for health issues like mental health, healthy eating,substance misuse etc. Your policies should be developed to suit the particular structure, organisation and ethos of your business.
Workplace health promotion policies should be integral to the overall health and safety policy of your business. They should be linked to other elements of health promotion in the workplace. Policies should be applicable to all personnel, regardless of age, sex, ethnic origin or grade. Each policy should include a clear statement on the roles and responsibilities of each group of employees and management within the organisation.
Developing a workplace health promotion policy is based upon the following key steps:
Step One – Set up a working party
This group needs representation from all levels within the organisation, with people from:
- Senior management
- Trade union
- Health and safety
- Occupational health
- Staff representatives
Step Two – Inform the workforce
Inform employees about the process that is occurring. It is useful at this stage to identify what is already happing in relation to health issues, e.g. your business may already have a mental health policy.
Step Three – Consult with the workforce
Employees must be consulted about their needs and have their say. This will also help address concerns and difficulties. Large businesses may wish to conduct a survey,where as small business may arrange meetings, focus groups.
Step Four – Write the policy
Devise a draft policy and circulate this to the workforce. All employees should receive a copy of the proposed policy. This gives employees the opportunity to comment and suggest changes. The policy should then be revised and employees should be given notice of changes and the date of introduction.
A policy should contain:
- Organisations commitment to the management of health and wellbeing
- Outline the roles and responsibilities of employees and management
- Provide sources of support • Outline procedures for recording and monitoring
- Encourage motivation and commitment amongst the work (appointment of a health champion to support health promotion activities)
- Partnership working • Outline organisations legal obligations
Step Five – Implement the policy
Once the period of consultation has ended the final document has been written, the policy should be launched and followed up with awareness sessions regarding the content of the policy. Promote the policy throughout the workplace.
Step Six – Review the policy
Regularly monitor the policy to gauge its effectiveness. This review should lead to the policy being updated.