Supporting Permanent Behaviour Change
Fundamentals of influencing our own health and wellbeing are understanding:
- how to go about it, and
- it requires enduring behaviours.
For many people who are not intuitively interested in wellbeing enhancing activities these can be strong barriers to improved healthiness and resilience. David Gates, our Chief Wellbeing Officer, investigated the characteristics of wellbeing supporting behaviours when leading coaching development at a leading London Health Club.
From his work he has continued to evolve a framework for supporting individuals of all backgrounds to learn, understand and adopt permanent wellbeing supporting behaviours.
Key elements of his client study and evolving behaviour framework are:
- understanding of wellbeing facilitating behaviours and the need for them
- clear models of effective behaviours and guidance in adopting them
- support from qualified practitioners in adopting “good habits and techniques” from the outset (This builds appropriate neurological pathways that are fundamental in building enjoyment, performance, achievement, on-going progress and confidence all of which reinforce changing behaviour)
- support from other, valued, people such as family, friends and respected peers
- guidance in understanding and handling set-backs, regressions and on-going progression, to a point where experience allows people to self-coach.
David’s work in supporting permanent behaviour is an important attribute in FitterForLife’s wellbeing services. All of our wellbeing practitioners’ practice intuitively incorporates it.
Organisation Redesign and Culture Change
Among the many organisational design and development programmes our practitioners have led and guided, culture definition and its on-going development is an important factor in enhancing the success of a client enterprise.
For many executives being explicit about culture, behaviours and wellbeing can be an unknown experience. Guidance and mentoring in preparing leaders to be open and explicit about behaviours their organisation encourages for future success and supportive of staff’s personal wellbeing is sensitive work.
Evolving an organisation’s culture and people’s personal behaviours takes time, patience and empathy, requiring senior executives to act as role models of required behaviours. Organisational systems and procedures clearly should support and reinforce, not be a barrier to, the behaviours being evolved.
Our work has seen us, over four decades, work with clients across many geographies and sectors to adopt, evolve and inculcate changing behaviours to support organisational performance, wellbeing and results.
Government Department, UK
This comprehensive and highly cost-effective three-year health and wellbeing programme was across the Department: 86,000 employees and 1,200 locations were invited to participate. The delivery approach was multi-faceted, designed to include stakeholder engagement. ‘Recruitment’ and training of over 1600 site managers (local sponsors) and wellbeing champions was delivered to achieve local engagement. A bespoke online wellbeing centre provides 24/7 access to an interactive, clinically validated health and wellbeing resource portal. Integral to establishing this was a health and wellbeing questionnaire which signposted tailored personal assessments for sleep, stress, activity and nutrition. Completion of each assessment produced an immediate individual report with simple actionable steps for change. All employees had the opportunity to complete the health and wellbeing questionnaire twice – 50,000 (58% of) employees did so. The programme is credited with being a major contributor to reducing sickness absence days from 11.1 in 2009 to 7.3 in 2012 at which point the client took full responsibility for the continuing wellbeing programme. Financially, direct savings between 2009 and 2012 were estimated at £26 million.
Wellbeing strategy development for a national Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO)
A team of Fitter For Life associates worked with a national NGO to develop its wellbeing strategy after the organisation was formed by the merger of two predecessor bodies. We worked in partnership with our sponsors, the client’s HR Director and Head of Wellbeing.
The project included an audit of wellbeing benefits and policies across all the legacy businesses and a wellbeing survey of employees. We provided coaching support and advice to the Head of Wellbeing who was new to the role and inexperienced in merger integrations.
The survey provided bespoke individual feedback to employees and advice on where to find suitable wellbeing support. Organisational reporting of the survey results allowed the identification of ‘hotspots’ where specific wellbeing issues, such as mental health concerns and poor internal relationships, were more prevalent. This allowed the organisation to take targeted action, including up-skilling line managers to be able to guide their colleagues to sources of wellbeing support.
The audit of policy and practice looked at uptake and return on investment (ROI of the merging NGOs’ existing wellbeing programmes, and their likely impact on the merged employer brand. Recommendations included rationalisation of existing Employee Assistance Programmes and Occupational Health provisions to deliver cost savings, efficiency improvements and improved ROI. Other recommendations included alignment of staffing and associated wellbeing policies and communications and training initiatives to support line managers and staff’s understanding of the merged organisation’s objectives, values, evolving culture and people management policies. We have continued to support the Head of Wellbeing in implementing the adopted changes.