Shaping an impactful and measurable workplace wellbeing strategy – Lesson 2

Teamwork in the workplace

In last week’s episode of the WiseTalk Newsletter, we covered lesson 1 of ‘Shaping an impactful and measurable workplace wellbeing strategy’. In that newsletter we covered how to answer the following questions to help shape a clear and coherent strategy that others can get behind.

–          Where are we now?

–          Where do we want to go?

–          Who do we want to be?

–          What do we need to achieve?

If you missed it, you can check it out here.

For everyone else, let’s get stuck in to lesson 2 of workplace wellbeing strategy development!

Last week we ended with ‘4. What do we need to achieve?’, so the logical place to start today is…

5. How will we achieve it?

Defining the tactics, actions, and deliverables

Tactics are where most organization’s wellbeing strategies tend to focus. These are the ‘things’ we offer or do that help us to meet our wellbeing goals. They are often initiatives, interventions, or features of our benefits package such as health insurance or an EAP. They might also be webinars, workshops, or team activities. However, the most mature wellbeing strategies are increasingly turning their attention inwards as they are designed to make changes within the organization itself. The tactics outlined in your strategy are likely to be a combination of both.

Once the tactics necessary to achieve the objectives and KPIs are defined, it is necessary to identify the actions we need to take in order to deliver our plan. At this stage we are getting into the details and may find it helpful to use GANTT charts and RASCI modelling etc. The actions and deliverables may also be reflected in your KPIs e.g. a KPI is to deliver a particular piece of work by a specified date.

In short, we are defining who needs to do what, by when, and how that fits in to the bigger action plan as we work towards the goals.


A major, but often missed element of a good strategy is the communications plan. To build a culture or create any type of lasting behaviour change we must ensure we are regularly communicating with the various stakeholders and influencers in such a way that ensures our messages are landing, and the appropriate actions are then being taken.

Starting with the launch and then supporting campaigns, initiatives, successes, progress etc, we need to keep people informed, engaged, and interested. As such, it is likely you will need to engage the support of your internal comms, branding, and marketing teams in both the planning and delivery of the comms plan. You may also wish to consider the use of stakeholder mapping and analysis tools.

6. What resources do we need?

People and systems

We must carefully consider what resources we will need to successfully implement our strategy. If we set ambitious objectives, and plan a comprehensive action plan, it is vital that we have adequate resources to ensure that these can be achieved. If we don’t, we may need to revise our strategy, or use this element of the strategy planning to seek the additional resources we need.

  • People – What expertise, skills, and time do we need from the people managing, delivering, and monitoring the strategy? (Newsletter on this coming up in 2 weeks)
  • Systems – What systems do we need for managing, delivering, and monitoring the strategy, as well as enabling the measurement and reporting process?
  • Software – What programmes or tools do we need our teams to have access to and training on so that they can perform their role effectively?
  • Hardware – Do we need to purchase or source any additional hardware such as laptops, printers, stationery for the team?



Surprisingly few organizations apply an appropriate level of planning to their wellbeing budget. Often, they are given a random amount to work with because it sounds right to whomever determines these things, or they get the same or similar amount to last year etc. However, if calculated correctly, your budget will be defined by three factors, and if you are going to be successful in securing the right financial resources, you will need to demonstrate what you need, why you need it, and what returns it will yield.

1) Set- Up costs

Your set up costs will largely be determined by;

A) The cost to create the strategy itself including any external consultancy. You may also add in here onboarding costs for new team members, any strategy planning away days etc.

B) You will need to answer the question Do we REALLY know where we are today, and if not, what do we need to invest to understand that thoroughly? This may be a study, a series of interviews, an employee survey, the purchase of some benchmarking data or a combination of these things. Lesson 1 covered this in more detail.

Top Tip

The set up cost is a keystone investment that sets the project up for success, and will prevent much wasted expenditure down the line as well as providing a baseline for monitoring and measurement. Skipping this is likely to yield disappointing results.

2) Implementation costs

Very simply, you need to look at the tactical action plan and determine what it will cost to deliver each element. At this stage you can also create a spending matrix, ensuring those with responsibility and accountability for certain elements of the delivery can sign off on the planned and agreed spend. Such an initiative will prevent delays and frustrations.

3) Anticipated ROI

This is how much value you believe your wellbeing investment should contribute to your organization’s bottom-line. This will either show up as a cost-saving such as lower healthcare premiums and lower employee turnover, or increasing revenue such as through increased sales and new innovations etc. This can be very challenging to calculate, which is why we created the Workplace Wellbeing ROI Calculator which you can download and use from our website:


Under-resourcing your wellbeing strategy will compromise the wellbeing of the team and put the project at risk. It also sends the message to your employees that you don’t understand this and/or aren’t taking it seriously. My advice is to do less well and demonstrate meaningful results, rather than try to spread your resources too thin and hardly make a dent anywhere.

7. How will we know if we have succeeded?

Despite the significant investment that organization’s now make in this area, surprisingly few have a robust measurement system in place. This makes it exceptionally difficult to identify and celebrate wins and work out where things are falling behind or failing to gain traction. As such, measurement is one of the most important elements of any strategy.

Due to the complex nature of workplace wellbeing, it can be hard to measure its impact accurately. As such, it is recommended that you select a broad range of measures that have been proven to improve with increased wellbeing. You should plan to track a series of performance metrics alongside changes in reported and evidenced wellbeing to help identify correlations and prove impact. This range of measures can also be used to keep all stakeholders engaged and demonstrate value and returns on investment.

There are so many measures to choose from, I recommend starting with some questions and then identifying which measures will help you to answer them.

– How healthy/well are our employees?

– How engaged and satisfied are our employees with our wellbeing strategy?

– Are we delivering what we promised we would as part of our strategy?

– How engaged and satisfied are our employees in general?

– How attractive are we to new talent?

– How are we performing financially?

– Other indicators that we are doing well

In short, we should be looking to measure wellbeing and health indicators alongside any other metrics that matter to our organization’s and see how these factors impact one another.

Need some help?

The WellWise Diagnostics and Strategy Development System has been designed to help organizations with this, please reach out if you would like to know more.

8. What will we do if we are not achieving what we need to?

It takes 1-2 years or even longer to see meaningful change on a broad scale, so expect to have some ups and downs. What is important is that we are following our measurement plan to work out where were are, how we are doing, and what needs to be improved.

Once improvement areas have been identified, it is necessary to explore the reasons for the shortfall. Avoid the temptation of applying assumptions, and instead try to find the truth. If only 12% of the Finance team are engaging compared to 28% on average, and overall, their wellbeing is lower than other departments in the organization, we need to understand why that is and how we can overcome it. As wellbeing professionals it is our job to focus on the areas that need our time and support the most.


Regardless of whether your strategy is ahead, on track, or falling short, it is essential that you keep the relevant stakeholders updated, especially the Board of Directors (BoD) or any other senior leaders who are sponsoring, supporting, or delivering parts of the wellbeing strategy. If things are on track and going well, this is where you gain momentum. If things are falling short, you may need to seek their permission to alter the strategy. They will be eager to see that challenges have been identified and appropriate adjustments have been put in place or are being recommended for them to decide on. The BoD/SLT should be receiving a wellbeing strategy update at least once every quarter.

You will also need to be having more regular progress touchdowns with those involved across the strategy. Again, it is important to report what is going well and where there is room for improvement, as well as open a dialogue about the causes for underperformance and ideas for overcoming it.

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