Health and Wellbeing

A Health Check for Your Healthy Activities – the Health and Wellbeing Award

This is a copy of an article I wrote for the wonderful people at who work with their clients and some associate trainers – including me – to bring in activities and solutions to improve the health and wellbeing of the workforce.

They asked me to write it because I am a specialist assessor and adviser for this recently-upgraded Standard.

You have probably already heard about the Investors in People Standard.  Have you also heard of its close relative the Health and Wellbeing Award ?  It is structured the same and is driven by the same spirit, aiming to improve an organisation’s performance through realising the full potential of the people who produce the results.

For context, we need a brief look at Investors in People first, before examining the Health and Wellbeing Award.  It is a structured method for organisations of all types to measure the extent to which four key ingredients of success apply.  These are:

  • Clear goals
  • Learning is part of the job
  • Good leadership
  • Involved people

If you think these apply to your organisation at all levels – individual, department/team and organisation – you are most likely already an Investors in People in most respects.  You should bear in mind, though, that most of the evidence is gathered by talking to your people.  It is therefore perception-based.  There is often a gap between the reality which managers see and that which the rest of their team perceives.  Analysing this gap is one of the main benefits of the process.

Many smaller organisations use the framework as a means to follow the disciplines to improve their performance.  They do this to gain insight, with no intention of seeking accreditation, and this approach helps them achieve their aims.

The same applies to the Health and Wellbeing Award.  The framework itself simply takes three of the nine Indicators from Investors in People – those dedicated to Leadership, Empowerment and Values – and adds to them a similarly-structured set of criteria around physical, psychological and social wellbeing.

Increasingly rigorous criteria

The detailed criteria describe four different levels of practice which range from “in place and understood” through “engaging and activating” and “creating positive outcomes” up to “embedded and always improving”.

Here are two examples of how the framework can be used to examine aspects of current practice :

If we take the theme of Psychological Wellbeing, the criterion at the “in place and understood” level reads :

The organisation promotes psychological wellbeing through preventative and responsive policies and practices

Once the positive evidence for this has been debated and captured, the process moves on to look at the more advanced levels until, at the “embedded and always improving” level, you have the following, much more testing, wording :

Leaders create a strong culture which supports psychological wellbeing, equipping people with tools and techniques for everyday life

At this level, you have to prove not only that leaders conduct themselves in a way that demonstrates meaningful support, you also have to gives examples of tools being provided which people confirm they use not only in work but in their personal lives as well.

As this level is supposed to indicate top-class practice, it is expected that the organisation has been doing these things, with positive outcomes, for three years at least.

The importance of leadership in health and wellbeing

If we acknowledge the importance of leadership, let us take the theme of Developing Leadership Capability, one of the three themes within the indicator called Leading and Inspiring People.  We drill down to the first criterion at “In place and understood” level and we find the requirement that :

Line managers know what is expected of them to lead, manage and develop their people effectively

Once a clear definition has been found that is consistently expressed and implemented within e.g. management development and performance management systems, we can look higher and deeper until, at the “Embedded and always improving” level, we are required to show that :

Future leadership capabilities are defined in line with the organisation’s values, and leaders meet these challenges”.

This makes us think about looking strategically into the future at what our leaders will need to be good at to support sustained success.  It may mean getting out the crystal ball and anticipating change and the pressures this will create.

Improvement through benchmarking

One outcome of such an exercise of gathering data is a structured list of all the great things going on, and it is important to celebrate these.  More importantly, organisations who really know what continuous improvement is about will be interested in the list of opportunities for further development that such a rigorous process has highlighted.

The good news is that there are many different ways the framework can be used, to suit different organisations.  You can appoint internal champions and use them to gather evidence and report back, you can design your own survey, or – if you want the process to be as free of bias as possible – you can ask an independent expert to design and deliver a programme for you.  If external recognition is your desired outcome, you can plan a project to help you meet the requirements and apply for accreditation.

As long as you can show positive evidence to meet all of the criteria at the “in place and understood” level, you can gain the Health and Wellbeing Award, showing to your people and to the outside world the kind of employer you are.  Either way, you receive feedback for future improvement.

It is a valuable way to check that all the wonderful things you are doing for your people are :

  • appreciated
  • helping your organisation perform better
  • in line with recognised good practice

You can find further detail at

Link to the original article



What I offer

Management skills – my range of services

management skills

Consultation visit – no charge

I will come to your place of business to get to know you, find out what’s going well and not so well and listen carefully to your ideas.  I set no time limit on this and I make no charge.  I then go away and prepare a crystal-clear proposal based on your requirements.  It will outline what I will do for you, how I think we can address any management skills issues appropriately and how much it will cost.  The proposal acts as a starter for ten in our further discussions.

Leaving A Business Legacy

I provide a lot of support to owner managers who wish to gradually exit from day-to-day involvement in their business and would like to see it continue as a healthy going concern.  An increasingly popular route is via employee ownership, whereby they sell the business to the employees on e.g. a ten-year loan (“deferred consideration”), which is very tax-efficient from both standpoints.  Where I come in is in educating the employees and future leaders in the commercial acumen and business skills they need to take the reins.  There are significant cultural changes that need to happen to make sure the transition works.  I facilitate these, and act as a Trustee to make sure the Directors in the new structure are accountable and that governance is sound.

More information is at

So, if succession planning or exit planning has been on your radar for a while and you would like a no-obligation chat to get things moving, I would love to hear from you.

Developing Your Organisation

Planning a change ?  See the need for a shake-up but want to make sure it works ?  Wondering what to do about your working culture ?  I have coached over 300 clients in thinking through what they need to do.  I’ve seen a few of them tumble into huge traps, and a great many others show how good they are.  I can share these experiences and this insight with you in review and action planning meetings either one-to-one, with senior management teams or with dedicated project teams.

Through carefully-planned workshops and events, I facilitate discussions to agree what the values of the tean are, and the practical behaviours to support these values.  I get key individuals to express their commitment to these.  Beacause the values come from the words used by the team itself, they carry a great deal more weight than the normal values statements seen on the walls of many corporate offices.

I have successfully completed major projects to overhaul appraisal systems and introduce 360 degree feedback systems.  I have adapted these methods to create simple, straightforward versions for smaller organisations.

With my experience of representative groups such as Works Councils, many clients have benefited from using me as independent facilitator when such groups meet either for the first time, when there’s a major change or when they are taking on a major cultural project.

Troubleshooting / Counselling

What a lot of my clients seem to appreciate particularly is my expertise when human relationships run into difficulties.  Key people not talking to each other, conflict in the workplace, jealousies or “silo thinking”, these are all problems I have taken on gently but fearlessly, and with positive outcomes.

Testing The Culture

If your business proclaims its quality, service, excellence or being the best, you really should have a way of proving that you are at least moving in the right direction.  To your clients and your employees, when thinking about how happy they are with you, reality is nothing; perception is everything.  Before planning any change, get an independent specialist to gain real insight into what they are really thinking.

There are many ways to test perceptions, chief among which are one-to-ones, focus groups and questionnaires.  We will agree in advance which combination of these is right for you and I will set up everything that is needed.  The output is a report which we use as the basis for your culture change programme – with management skills training likely to be high on the agenda.

I am licensed to use a great bit of survey software that produces attractive, high-impact reports that really help management to decide on how they will respond.  This puts the spotlight on the managers’ role in the process of follow-up improvements.

Team-building events and outdoor activities

outdoor activities

When you’re trying to communicate an important message to your team, there’s no substitute for a get-together where people can speak up, get to know each other better and share views.  Also, the importance of sharing a meal together is not to be underestimated.  Arranging and facilitating one of these events involves more than you might think, so get an expert in.

Let me show you what can be achieved in just one day !  I am partnering with a really top class outdoor activities provider, so if you’re after a team awayday with added value that makes a big difference, I would love to talk to you.

I am a big believer in the power of laughter and physical activity, so I have a wide range of games and exercises which always generate a big buzz.  I am expert at extracting the So What For Our Business from these when the time comes for the group to reflect on the point of these activities.  The result is that no one leaves thinking that the event was Just A Jolly.

Management skills training

people skills training

Being a leader; managing people.  Not an aspect of the job that some people relish, but it is a skill that can be developed.  The bespoke in-house learning events which I design, deliver and evaluate for you are aimed at creating a relaxed, non-threatening environment which acknowledges the experience and existing management skills of the participants.  They are based on real issues that need to be fixed in the workplace, and focused on improving effectiveness.

If you are to motivate your people, you need to understand them, and if you are to understand others, you need to understand yourself.  That is why I use a wide range of simple self-awareness questionnaires that act as eye-openers for managers to gain insight on :

  • Leadership styles
  • Working styles
  • Career motivations
  • Sources of authority
  • Belbin team roles
  • Learning styles
  • Emotional intelligence

… and more

Developing Your People

I never expect anyone to come to me to be trained.  Instead, I will listen carefully to what you need and design a series of bespoke learning workshops for you.  You can have this delivered in house, and can be confident that it will be enjoyable, as my main belief with training is that it must be based on active fun.  See my Training page for a list of topics.  I also do one-to-one coaching.

I maintain a library of learning resources which acts as a toolbox we can dip into whenever appropriate.

Health and Wellbeing

You can find a full explanation at  This is a framework/standard I am accredited to use to carry out an assessment of all the activities an organisation offers to promote health and wellbeing in its workforce.  The output is a detailed report comparing these activities to best practice.  It is very valuable in gaining insight so my clients can keep improving.

Investors in People – Gaining the Standard

This proven management framework is now recognised as a business ‘superbrand’.  15,300 organisations in the UK are accredited Investors in People with many more working with the Standard.  Whether you choose to go for the Award or not, I will act as your no-nonsense guide as you follow the management disciplines the Standard sets out, focusing relentlessly on valuable insights and measurable gains for your business.  I have a 100% record – as a result of my advice and guidance, every client has gone on to successful accreditation.

Investors in People – Maintaining the Standard

If you already have the award, you may be wondering what next ?  The answer is plenty.  Winning the award is an early stage of your journey, and I will help you decide what to do to keep up the momentum as your business continues to improve, and make sure your good practice doesn’t slip between award assessments.

Investors in People – Raising the Standard

Investors in People

There is so much more to Investors in People than the core Standard.  The ‘Your Choice’ parts of the extended framework can be really illuminating if you want to be tested at a more advanced, more stretching level.  This is a chance to gain further insight and grasp hold of the practical meaning of areas like developing values, working together, different approaches to training and setting meaningful objectives.  If you are interested in Silver, Gold or Platinum accreditation, I have had a lot of success with helping clients to achieve this.

Mid-project review – no charge

Rather than press on with a set programme which was first agreed months ago, I will check with you that what I am doing for you still meets your needs.  I recognise the need to keep talking, adapt to circumstances and to make sure the work (for example, on management skills) is going in the right direction for your business and having the desired effect.  I will discuss with you successes and difficulties you are experiencing and make any necessary changes to the programme.  I make no charge for this visit.