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Developing a Workplace Wellbeing Strategy

As part of our involvement in the People Forum Event Series by Bristol Media and to blend in with our Work Life Balance content series, we got the chance to catch up with Debbie Kleiner – Head of Workplace Wellbeing and Director of PES Health to chat with her about the topic of her upcoming People Forum Session – “Develop a Workplace Wellbeing Strategy for your Organisation.” 

debbie kleiner workplace wellbeing

Debbie started life as an environmentalist, completing a degree at UWE, then working at the Centre for Sustainable Energy for 4 years. She switched to a career in Health Insurance after the birth of her now 19 year old and set up Best Health after a stint with Aviva. She grew her business over a period of 14 years and eventually merged with PES in 2014, heading up PES Health and launching PES Wellbeing.

Event organiser Richard Roberts said…

“There’s a mounting body of evidence that suggests wellbeing is an essential component of employee engagement. We are finally reaching a time when we can talk openly about workplace stress and mental health issues and it takes us a step closer to a more happy, engaged and productive workforce. It’s time for organisations to get their wellbeing strategy right – which this event will help them do.”

We asked Debbie for some insights and pointers about wellbeing in the workplace in a business context specifically, and for some key points that those attending the event can take with them.

ADLIB: For a little background info, could you share a little bit about happiness at work as the core of your approach?

Debbie Kleiner: When I first studied workplace wellbeing, I pondered on many definitions and related concepts such as engagement. I now take the view that happiness is at the core of the employee experience and use the words happiness and wellbeing interchangeably as they are broadly the same in my view. People think of wellbeing at work in terms of fruit on Fridays – but happiness at work encompasses much more than that.

It is also about how the company impacts on their staff and whether that is a similar experience, no matter who you interact with in the organisation. Happiness at work is as much about the organisational impact on their employee as what the employee brings to work from their personal life.

ADLIB: In your view, why is wellbeing in the workplace so important?

Debbie Kleiner: Wellbeing in the workplace is about a good employee experience that results in a happy, motivated, engaged and productive employees.

A positive working experience encompasses mental, financial and physical health interventions but it also includes the company thinking long and hard about any negative impacts on their employee due to culture, leadership, support, HR procedure and performance management.

ADLIB: Can you share some practical activities that have successfully supported organisations to lead to workplace wellbeing?

Debbie Kleiner: A prime example comes from PES’s own workplace wellbeing plan. In order to encourage “connections” amongst employees, we set up a house system which we use as a vehicle to empower, include and engage staff.

As part of the house system, we set business challenges (as we know “control” is a wellbeing indicator), promote bottom up wellbeing activities and raise money for charity. This has led to staff coming up with their own ideas to get others involved in physical activities such as 1 minute planks twice a day in the office. We know what we have done has worked as we measure it!

ADLIB: Can you share your top 3 tips to improve wellbeing in one’s own daily working environments?

Debbie Kleiner:

1.Don’t let emails control you – if it is a CC everyone culture, what can you do to change it?
2.Ensure any meeting you go to has an agenda, know why you are there!
3.Use any chance you can to get fresh air – consider walking meetings, perhaps?

ADLIB: What are the key things you are hoping attendees will take away from your session?

Debbie Kleiner: I hope people will take away some new thinking about what the term workplace wellbeing means. I will share with you PES’s employee experience framework that you can use as a checklist for your wellbeing plan. You will also take away some ideas of what other companies have done in this area to give you food for thought for what might work for you!

The next People Forum Event “Develop the right workplace wellbeing strategy or your organisation’ featuring Debbie Kleiner takes place at Prophecy Unlimited, Bristol on Thursday 7th March between 6-8pm. For some more information and to book your ticket head to Eventbrite.

See you there!