A wellness action plan is a tool used by employees to identify what triggers their emotional well-being at work and the cause of their mental health problems. It comes in the form of a document or template filled out by employees with the option to share it with their managers. A wellness action plan also opens up a conversation with managers to understand what their employees need to pick the right approach and address these issues.
A wellness action plan aims to pinpoint the support an employee needs. Each plan is unique as not every employee has the same issues that affect them. This tool shouldn’t just be used when an employee thinks their mental health is negatively affected. Even though an employee is feeling fine, it is helpful to fill out their plan so they can map out what they need to keep feeling that way. This is a valuable preventative tool in case their mental health deteriorates in the future.
According to the University of Bristol’s guidance for a wellness action plan, there are three things managers should look out for when spotting any changes in behavior concerning employees’ emotional well-being:
- Engagement in meetings
- Interaction with colleagues
- Email communication
As a manager…
Managers play a key role in providing support for their employees’ mental health. We’ve outlined 3 aspects a manager should keep in mind when helping an employee fill out a wellness action plan:
1. Emphasize its confidential
Firstly, a wellness action plan should remain confidential between employees and managers. It’s hard enough to open up about an issue that affects your mental health. Therefore managers should reiterate to their employees that they are in a safe space and that whatever they fill out in their plan will remain confidential. Being clear about this from the start will help build a bond of confidence between both the employee and their manager.
2. Be approachable
The basis of work relationships is communication. Healthy communication helps employees feel comfortable speaking to their managers and team members, ultimately developing stronger team cohesion. Moreover, being a clear communicator with your team allows processes to run smoothly, eventually leading to better productivity and performance. Team cohesion is an excellent way for employees going through a rough patch to feel supported and comfortable. Moreover, having healthy relationships at work, or even friendships, can ease the workflow and communication when completing tasks together.
3. Set realistic goals
Sit down with your employee and agree on the steps they would like to take to tackle the issue affecting them. Or, if they are keeping well, try to identify the cause of their optimal well-being so they can keep it up. Map out the priorities and set small goals. Small successes will motivate the employee, both in the short term and when they look back at their progress in the long term.
Although having a manager’s support can be extremely helpful when dealing with emotional well-being, if no progress is made and the employee is still struggling, it is probably a good idea to turn to professional help. Such as the one ifeel provides to its partners with a personalized plan for employees and HR managers.
What should you include in your Wellness Action Plan?
A wellness action plan should include various guiding questions that employees can fill out. There should be enough space for employees who want to answer questions in detail. Remember, there are no right or wrong answers when filling out a wellness action plan. Each individual has their own aims to achieve optimal well-being. As managers, you should remember that work is a big part of your employees’ lives. Therefore carefully consider how their mental health is affected both inside and outside the workplace. The following questions suggest what you can include when creating a wellness action plan:
- What triggers your mental health and what actions would you like to take?
- What helps you stay healthy?
- What approach would you like to take to tackle these issues?
- How does your mental health affect your performance and productivity?
- Do you think you work in a positive work environment? If not, what changes would you make?
- What support do you need (from managers, HR, psychologists…)?
Benefits of a wellness action plan
Many companies have started to implement wellness action plans as part of their mission to help their employees and their emotional well-being, both in their personal and professional spheres. These are the benefits of having a wellness action plan for employees:
1. It’s personalized
A wellness action plan is not just a standard survey sent out to employees. It is a personalized plan where employees can openly talk about what is triggering their mental health at work. Each answer will be different, and companies need to be prepared to tackle each problem with a different approach as not all of them will be the same. By addressing each case individually with personalized solutions, there will be a higher chance of success when facing mental health problems at work.
2. Has a preventative approach
A wellness action plan should be filled out no matter what stage of an employee’s life cycle a worker is at. This means they can fill out whether they feel low or feel like their mental health is doing well. This will help managers and psychologists take a preventative route, meaning although an employee might be doing well, what is it they can do to stay that way? Moreover, if there are early signs of deteriorating mental health, managers can address the issue early so they can tackle it in the future.
3. Consistent reviews
Having one-to-one meetings constantly to review employees’ progress is key to supporting their emotional well-being. When filling out a wellness action plan, setting small and realistic goals is essential. Therefore, reviews between employees and managers are crucial to see if these goals are being met and if not, what can be done to address the issue.
In addition, reviews make an employee feel valued, as it helps them be heard in their organization and have the chance to make a change (not just for them, but for other employees too). This also helps create a trusting bond between them, leading to better communication.
4. Improves morale and retains talent
Working in a company that prioritizes employees’ emotional well-being is a key factor when debating whether to stay in a company or not. Having personalized psychological help at any point in your employee life-cycle is a way to show employees that their company cares for them and is willing to help them. This is a great way to boost employee morale, too, as they will have more confidence and a sense of belonging in their company.
A company that invests in its employees’ mental health will retain the best talent in the company, as they will have incentives to stay. Moreover, having psychological help is also attractive to potential employees looking for other benefits apart from a well-paid job.
5. Enhances performance and productivity
Implementing well-being actions helps tackle important workplace health issues such as anxiety, burnout, and stress. These are just some of the few problems workers face in the workplace. Having such mental health problems leads to absenteeism, which directly affects the company economically as workers tend to take more sick leaves. Therefore, if wellness action plans are correctly implemented in companies, and with the right professional help, managers will be able to reduce overall absenteeism costs.
Having a happy and motivated workforce is beneficial to everyone, which will lead to healthy employees who will feel more productive at work and strive to do better. With a productive mindset and doing their best, employees will contribute to the company’s overall performance too.
Emotional well-being program for companies
At ifeel, we work to increase the well-being at work of employees who are struggling with their mental health and those who want to prevent such issues in the future. That is why we are dedicated to helping companies create stimulating and healthy work environments for their employees.
Our team of psychologists has created an emotional well-being program for companies to achieve this. Through this collaboration, your company’s human resources managers will be able to receive personalized, data-driven advice on improving the psychological well-being of their teams. On the other hand, this program provides employees with a complete mental health care service organized at different levels according to their needs. Try our program now to see how it can help you.
Visit our Resources section, where you will find podcasts, HR guides, or Interviews with key HR managers. In addition, you will have access to a Psychosocial Risk Factors Template, which will help you comply with the Labor Inspection requirements.
We hope this post on what is a wellness action plan and its benefits has given you good ideas to help employees identify what triggers their mental health, both inside and outside the work environment. Contact us to learn more about how our emotional well-being program for companies works. Request a demo today, and we will get back to you as soon as possible.