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
- access and guidance from qualified practitioners in understanding and handling set-backs, regressions and on-going adherence, to a point where experience allows individuals to self-coach.
David’s work in supporting permanent behaviour is an important attribute in FitterForLife’s wellbeing services. We ensure all our wellbeing practitioners’ practice intuitively incorporate it. By its nature, this knowledge and its application is one of continuous refinement and improvement within our services.
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 and behaviours can be an unknown experience. Guidance and mentoring in preparing leaders in being explicit and open about behaviours their organisation seeks for future success is sensitive work.
By definition, they can not impose a culture. Moving on from an implicit culture, necessarily significantly influenced by employees’ individual behaviours, requires deepening understanding, engagement and commitment from both leaders and employees.
This takes time, openness and patience requiring senior executives to act as role models of the now required behaviours. Organisational systems and procedures clearly should support and reinforce, not be a barrier to, the behaviours be 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 and results.
Wellbeing strategy development for a national non-governmental organisation
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 benefit 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.
The survey provided bespoke individual feedback to employees and advice on where to find support (such as the EAP programme). Organisational reporting of the survey results allowed the identification of ‘hotspots’ where specific wellbeing issues, such as poor mental health, were more prevalent. This allowed the organisation to take targeted action, such as improved communication around change, and upskilling line managers to be able to guide their reports to source of support.
The audit of policy and practice looked at uptake and ROI of the wellbeing programmes, and considered their impact on the organisation’s employer brand. It made various recommendations such as the rationalisation of Employee Assistance Programme and Occupational Health provision to deliver cost savings and efficiency improvements by only having one supplier in each area instead of several legacy suppliers. Other recommendations included the consistent expression and application of policies such as paid time off for various reasons (e.g. new parents, adoption and other life events) and ensuring that line managers understood the spirit of their application and alignment with organisational values.