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Giving staff strong foundations and opportunities

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Improving health in the workplace

PHE is the first public sector organisation to subscribe to the Business in the Community (BITC) Workwell Benchmark Programme. A number of FTSE 100 companies also subscribe to help them create healthier and more productive workplaces.

‘People are our greatest asset’ is a common sound bite for most businesses, but what does it really mean? It’s this and other key questions that the Workwell Benchmark Programme helps to unpack.

Reporting publicly on people-management benchmarks can help demonstrate to investors that organisations are committed to deliver when it comes to staff wellbeing, rather than just talking about it.

Public reporting is a means by which stakeholders and potential employees can gain insights into how organisations manage their staff. The basic premise is that what gets measured gets managed, and what gets publicly reported gets managed even better. This transparency is a good way of organisations pushing themselves to go further and faster on staff wellbeing, and demonstrates a commitment to those on the outside of the business.

This notion also underpins the Government’s Public Health Responsibility Deal, where the emphasis is on public commitments – or ‘pledges’ – on how businesses can better support the health and wellbeing of their staff. A number of the Health at Work pledges are around the public reporting of these issues and reinforce the messages in the Workwell Benchmark Programme.

Public reporting is also a good way of increasing levels of engagement within an organisation, and demonstrating to staff that this is an issue that really matters. Not only does this feel like the right thing to do, but the link between staff engagement and productivity also means that it makes good business sense. An engaged workforce is a productive workforce.

The BITC public reporting framework is based on principles that PHE fully supports:

  • Better work: creating a happy and engaging work environment
  • Better relationships: promoting communications and social connections
  • Better specialist support: providing interventions to manage health and wellbeing
  • Better physical and psychological health: creating an environment that promotes healthy behaviours

BITC’s Workwell Model provides an excellent framework for public reporting on staff wellbeing and engagement. PHE will now be able to benchmark itself against other similar organisations, and drive further improvements in its approach to staff health and wellbeing. We will be able to track our progress, reinforcing good practice and driving continuous improvement.

Measuring the impact of our health and wellbeing support to staff helps us understand what is working and what needs changing. We carried out a staff wellbeing survey earlier this year to give us a baseline of the issues and set ourselves objectives.  These focus on supporting staff, through our Staff Wellbeing strategy and action plan, especially around mental wellbeing and physical activity. Like any good employer PHE wants to ensure that we are investing well and effectively so that our staff have strong foundations and opportunities to grow and to achieve their full potential.

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  1. Comment by Bren posted on

    Hello Tony,

    Thanks for the blog and the information on the Business in the Community (BITC) Workwell Benchmark Programme.

    It is great news that PHE is the first public health sector to sign up this programme and I hope many more do so.

    I was wondering if it is annual reporting as this is 12 months when sometimes half monthly, or sooner, give useful information to the employee, back to staff and the wider audience too.

    Best wishes,


    • Replies to Bren>

      Comment by Tony Vickers-Byrne posted on

      Dear Bren,

      Thanks for your comment. The BITC reporting framework is an annual reporting tool. Measurement against the model over a period of one year would provide more meaningful data. However, we are following up with BITC whether more regular reporting would be feasible.