Increase the success of your health and wellbeing support

Derek Robertson.jpg

Derek Robertson , CEO

(Chartered FCIPD, MCMI, MInstLM, NLP Practitioner and Coach) 

Author of The Great Cape Escapade (A Fable about effective meetings)

6 min read



BT ran a long running series of TV ads all ending with four words, “It’s good to talk”.  April (2021) CIPD’s Flexible working: Lessons from the pandemic has as the number one of seven strategies “Develop the skills and culture needed for open conversations about wellbeing.”

And in the Health and Wellbeing at Work Survey 2021 report three-quarters (75%) of respondents believe that senior leaders have employee wellbeing on their agenda.  So here’s what to consider in the training space.  It’s a checklist of what to look out for and help you assess what you currently do.

Why support health and wellbeing?

From talking with others, it’s less and less seen as a cost and more an essential investment.  Respected sources like Deloitte have evidence of the bottom line business case to add to the moral as well as potential legal case.


Training options

First off, people who need additional support need to get it from the pros.  It’s not the line manager, trainer or HR’s role to play at CBT or other interventions.

My emphasis here is the proactive stuff in your teams.  Actions that build people’s resilience, wellbeing and so their performance.

ROI comes from increasing the resilience average across your business.  Let’s follow the logic.  You support people to be more resilient.  They’re more focused at work - some a lot some a little.  They make fewer errors, come up with some better ideas, less cranky with their co-workers and so on.  Therein lies improved results.

Let’s say that your organisation’s success, as measured by profit, went up by 0.001% (one tenth of one percent).  If you’re BT that’s £2,353,000.

The coach

Your ideal support would likely be a one to one expert coach for each person.  No surprise that elite athletes have them.

Ups Downs

Specific to the person

Focused expertise

Tailored advice and resources

Genuine discussion

Commitment to actions
Cost prohibitive


To get the most from this . . .

Prioritise to the few who have mission critical business impact.

Traditional training

Still the default for many.

Ups Downs

Designed to your needs

Delivered by subject matter experts

Work to published objectives

Bring to the surface people who need more support

Interactive design is critical

Risk content delivery not learning creation

Needs organised and administered

Time off the job


To get the most from this . . .

Make sure the design uses adult learning principles and is facilitated not instructed by whom you hire.


This is too often the decision for its cheapness.

Ups Downs

Do anytime

Low cost per head

Easy to organise

Accurate content

Likely generic

Page clicking equals boredom

Poor quality equals boredom

Solo learning misses opportunities


To get the most from this . . .

Invest in a solution that balances sizzle and substance.  Have follow up discussion and action sessions with groups of learners.

Mental health apps

Technology has enabled really engaging content here.  I have access to a free Health Assured app as part of my CIPD membership.  CMI too offer Kooth solution to their members.

Ups Downs

24/7 availability

Mix of resources from chat and journals to video from experts

Quality design

Can be push

Essentially a solo activity

Learners need to find what’s relevant


To get the most from this . . .

Bring people together as well to discuss how they have reflected and applied what they have learned, used, benefited from.


Then there is attributes from game technologies to create engaging resilience building experiences for players

Ups Downs

24/7 availability

Easy to create discussions

Expertise already baked into the game

From sharing comes awareness raising

Brings existing resilience to the surface

Doubles as a team development activity

Can use flexibly

Novel idea


To get the most from this . . .

The instructions are secondary to keeping the discussions going.

Your takeaway

Assuming you want training value not box ticking your three actions are:

  1. Understand the case for supporting your people may not be the same as your decision makers
  2. Choose a solution that’s the best quality you can afford to meet the outcomes you want
  3. Remember resilience is a feeling and improving mental wellbeing seldom comes from things people do on their own.

Final thought

Don’t second guess what you line managers think and feel about getting involved.  In the Simply Health survey mentioned already 67% of manages are bought in to the importance of wellbeing.

Your next action

Check out the following sources and downloads:

  1. Flexible working: lessons from the pandemic HR Guide
  2. Flexible working: lessons from the pandemic Line manager guide
  3. The digital Resilience Game to help teams talk with one another