Health inequalities are seen among population groups the world over, so why would your workplace be any different?
The chances are you have a diversity & inclusion policy which covers race, sexuality, gender, and disability. The implementation of these policies is measurable, whether or not they are visible. Demographic data can be analysed, and marginalised voices given a platform to voice their opinion and feedback their experiences. Action can proactively be taken on all fronts.
So, if inclusion is so important, how are we making it happen when it comes to our workplace wellbeing strategies? How are we engaging everyone, even those who have the greatest challenges to inclusion?
Well, this is our take on five simple things that can be done…
1. Diversity of delivery partners is a must.
While one organisation might look like they do everything, the chances are there are some people who will identify with that brand and motivated to engage and are others who simply have no interest. Kind of like a bell-shaped curve, the majority of participants are engaged and in the centre of the graph. This means that there is exclusion and drop off either side. A truly fantastic wellbeing offer will encourage and provide something for these people. The result may be graduation to the main provision, or the very least some positive changes to health and wellbeing.
2. Make approaches non-prescriptive.
At DTA we believe everyone is different. Scientifically speaking, that a diet that works for person X may not work for person Y because, they have different genetic predispositions, lifestyles, and bacterial make up. This is a fact and is diversity on a biological level. Therefore, specific advice lends itself to only work for specific populations. However, frameworks and concepts that invite people to think about how this works for them, invites intrigue and discovery of how wellbeing can be maximised on an individual level and encouraged by creating a community.
3. Celebrate marginalised voices.
We believe that wellbeing is a journey, one that is best travelled as part of a community. We also believe that wellbeing initiatives are only as good as the impact they create and that requires measuring the journey individuals, and the community as a whole, travel. DTA creates case studies and creates positive role models from those who are least likely to have engaged in wellness activities. By modelling positive behaviours such as this, those least engaged in health & wellbeing activities are more likely to become involved. Stories are identified with and activities that create change become more closely aligned to marginalised employees. This results in greater engagement.
4. Values create value.
You could have the best wellbeing offer on the table but if your community do not see the value in it, then it will not be used. So how do we create value? DTA believes wellbeing is cultivated from the inside-out, not the outside-in. This means we first have to look at ourselves and create some awareness. What values are at work? If your wellbeing offer is simply intended to appease HR policy, then what values are being communicated to staff? If at the centre of the offer are values of inclusion, honesty, fun, curiosity, then it is important that these shine through and the people who promote the strategy are communicating them with enthusiasm.
5. Community is everything.
For hundreds of years, Western medicine separated the mind and body as two separate entities to be treated. This dualism has only recently started to be seen as incorrect and more and more we seeing the mind-body connection being realised in many health conditions. At DTA we believe in going one-step further, and see every individual as part of a collective whole – their community. If one person is unwell, then this affects others. To look after each other is to keep the entire organism of community well and functioning to its best. By helping people realise this and feel part of a community, the individual responsibility of health is more manageable and far better supported. We are not alone, and do not have to tread our paths to improved health & wellbeing alone.