Wellbeing and Performance - Agenda for Action

Wellbeing and Performance - Agenda for Action

Well being and Performance - Agenda for Action

The implementation of The Wellbeing and Performance Strategy requires an Agenda for Action.

The purpose of this agenda is to embed into the organisation a culture, attitudes and daily behaviours that result in high levels of wellbeing amongst all staff (managers and employees) and will produce the high level performance dividend that can be measured as lower sickness absence, staff turnover, presenteeism and HR/Manager time on conflicts, disputes, tribunals and other features of presenteeism.

The agenda items also improve involvement, innovation, energy, motivation, engagement, commitment, trust, all of which lead to greater profit/flexible budget, market share, innovation and improved reputation and resilience.

The Agenda items are:

  • 1. Engage top management in the Wellbeing and Performance Agenda
  • 2. Undertake an analysis of the current levels of wellbeing and performance
  • 3. Establish a steering group
  • 4. Develop a strategic framework for action
  • 5. Build a culture for wellbeing and performance
  • 6. Develop the ethics and behaviours that produce wellbeing and performance
  • 7. Take the actions that produce wellbeing and effective performance
  • 8. Strengthen personal resilience
  • 9. Implement change management utilising the Managers Code of Conduct

1. Engage top management in the Wellbeing and Performance Agenda

Senior management influences the behaviours of those below them, and senior management set the tone for the organisation.

The culture of the organisation is heavily determined by the personalities and characteristics of senior managers, and their own determination in promulgating a wellbeing and performance culture. This will normally necessitate the champions of wellbeing and performance to raise awareness of the arguments, and issues relating to wellbeing.

2. Undertake an analysis of the current levels of wellbeing and performance

A survey of staff provides the benchmark against which the effect of various wellbeing initiatives can be measured. A year on year assessment of progress can be made, and those initiatives which show least impact can be dropped in favour of those with greatest impact.

Various surveys exist with different purposes. At the least, all organisations that employ 5 or more people are obliged to demonstrate they comply with the Health and Safety Management Standards. More comprehensive surveys examine the health and wellbeing of staff, the quality of working lives of staff, the intention to leave or stay amongst staff, and the assessment of the organisation in relation to commitment, trust and engagement.

The results of a survey provide the information to focus attention of specific actions that are needed to build and sustain a culture of Wellbeing and Performance.

3. Establish a steering group

Many organisations are made up of different divisions and departments, with different purposes. They will have different managers and perform differently. In order to promote a wellbeing and performance culture, it may be necessary to establish a steering group to oversee and take responsibility for this project. A steering group needs to have decision makers on it, as there will be decisions about resource allocation that will be necessary.

4. Develop a strategic framework for action

A strategic framework provides the focus for action, and a map against which progress can be routinely measured. A suggested framework embraces

  • a) promoting wellbeing and performance and the prevention of risks of psychological distress and other forms of ill health and accidents;
  • b) preventing deterioration amongst those who suffer distress;
  • c) restoring those with psychological distress back to their normal level of performance and beyond;
  • d) supporting those with chronic conditions and
  • e) sustaining wellbeing and performance.

In addition, a strategy will need to consider the services and training required to implement a wellbeing and performance programme. Suggested topics are Behaviour, Wellbeing programmes and services, Structure, Culture, Resilience and tolerance.

5. Build a culture for wellbeing and performance

The culture of the organisation embraces the features that influence how people behave.

In building a culture of wellbeing and performance the features need to be those that promote commitment, trust, engagement and a strong psychological contract – the idiosyncratic unwritten contract that individuals have between themselves and their organisation based on personal notions of fairness. Most psychological contracts are based on the behaviour that managers and employees exhibit towards each other that denote trust, value, and reliance, where each party engages fully with each other and builds trust between them.

For this to happen, the context in which behaviour takes place needs to promote values that accord with the values of the employee.

The steps to be taken in building a culture of wellbeing and performance are:

Clarity of purpose - The clarification of the purpose of the organisation and its sub divisions in ways that are simply expressed, and that staff and the public can understand and relate to.

The structures - The design of structures that enable staff to be engaged in decisions about themselves and their work.

The ‘rules’ - The rules are the policies and procedures that are expressed (often in writing) that describe how the organisation is meant to work. Among the topics that are known to influence trust and commitment are:

  • Recruitment - The recruitment of managers and staff based on the convergence of clear and unambiguous expectations of the skills, knowledge and experience needed for the job and those of the applicant.
  • Training and development - The training and development (the acquisition of skills, knowledge and experience) of all staff based on meeting the needs of the organisation and those of the trainee; the training is based on sound learning principles, and applied in practice.
  • Challenge - The provision of challenges and stimulation in the work employees and managers are expected to perform.
  • Teams - The building of teams with people who are sufficiently trusting of each other that they can critique each other’s work without fear of humiliation or retribution, and in the knowledge that lessons can be learnt and applied.
  • Communication - The provision of excellent communication – the process of engaging people in communication, interpreting messages, conveying them intelligibly, seeking responses, and reacting to them positively.
  • Involvement - The involvement of staff, organisations and customers/clients in the processes and decisions that affect them.
  • Performance appraisal - The provision of regular and routine performance appraisal of staff as part of the bloodstream of management, together with providing appropriate supporting resources to raise performance where needed.
  • Career development - The provision of career development opportunities through nurturing and developing staff to use wider skills, knowledge and experience in practice.
  • Security - The protection of tasks, projects and assignments from termination in advance of their completion.
  • Encouragement - The encouragement of staff in their work, and in taking calculated risks intended to contribute to the performance of the organisation.
  • Worklife balance - The motivation to respond positively to domestic crisis.
  • Openness - The maintenance of transparency in all aspects of management.

These ‘rules’ need to be formulated in consultation with managers and staff, and implemented into the bloodstream of management through a range of devices that reinforce the ‘messages’ of trust, commitment and engagement.

6. Develop the ethics and behaviours that produce wellbeing and performance

The behaviours that managers need to demonstrate are those that build and sustain trust, commitment and staff engagement. These behaviours are the building blocks for a Wellbeing and Performance culture. The headlines are in the diagram.


  • Politeness
  • Courtesy
  • Personal communication
  • The Use of Body language
  • Addressing needs
  • Empathy

Intellectual flexibility

  • Emotional intelligence
  • Negotiation
  • Sharing


  • Honesty
  • Clarity
  • Fairness
  • Humility

Resolving conflicts

Encouraging contribution

These behaviours can be developed in every manager and staff member using Corporate Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CCBT) approaches, in a coaching or group workshop setting. This involves replacing ambivalent attitudes about people at work with positive thoughts that promote the benefits of positive interaction, and the benefits that accrue from gaining commitment, trust and engagement between staff and managers.

7. Take the actions that produce wellbeing and effective performance

The actions required from managers who wish to implement the Wellbeing and Performance Agenda are divided into the classical purposes of management. They are:

Decision making

  • Justification for decisions based on appropriateness, evidence, experience, timeliness and feasibility.


  • Providing direction based on analysis and with committed ambition.


  • Integration of the mosaic of available resources to achieve a declared aim.


  • Reaching an agreed goal within agreed boundaries of time and resources.
  • Keeping resources at his/her disposal within agreed boundaries.

These classical purposes of management normally form the basic training for managers. There are technical and psychological aspects in their application to practice. The psychological aspect embraces the ability to follow the ‘Just a Minute Model’ of performance, that seeks to ensure that actions are taken without hesitation, deviation or repetition, and that the decisions are appropriate, efficacious, effective and efficient.

This requires intense concentration by managers, and is the principal benefit arising from a Wellbeing and Performance strategy, and a Positive Work Culture.

8. Strengthen personal resilience

Resilience is the capacity to tolerate excessive demands and stresses without experiencing personal stress.

Resilience is about the maintenance of person control in adverse situations, combined with the capacity to control the responses of others to oneself in these situations.

Resilience is based on individual attitudes towards an adverse event. Attitudes are developed from conditioning throughout life, combined with personal experiences that have either built or reduced self esteem (depending on one’s capacity to cope with the situation), combined with a decision to be motivated to overcome and tolerate an adverse event or not.

Most people have built a degree of resilience, simply through the process of experiencing challenges and rising to them successfully. However, there are some established adverse events that pose a risk to individuals. Many of these arise in the workplace. A substantial number of people are not prepared for these challenges and find them difficult to tolerate, causing a lowering in performance, reduction in motivation, and the possibility of significant distress.

Training in building the capacity for resilience is an important aspect of the Wellbeing and Performance Agenda.

See our programmes for Strengthening Resilience

See our Guides for Resilience

See our ELearning for Resilience

9. Implement change management – the Manager’s Code

This is a method of change that uses a Manager’s Code that all managers are expected to follow. The Code is based on the principles of a Positive Work Culture and the link between wellbeing and performance.

The Manager’s Code focuses on:

  • Managing my Organisation
  • Managing my Workforce
  • Managing Myself.

All organisations have the capacity to develop a Positive Work Culture with managers promoting wellbeing and performance. Introducing this approach is made easier with a Code that has been drawn up based on sound principles and supportive of manager behaviours that promote commitment and trust.

Implementing the Code needs to follow the enabling as opposed to policing principle. Managers should be encouraged to follow the Code rather than feeling threatened if they don’t follow the Code. Manager’s need to be convinced a Code is helpful in forming their attitudes towards their staff which encourages high level performance from the workforce by ensuring high levels of wellbeing.

If you have found this Action Plan useful, you will also find our series of Development Programmes for Wellbeing and Performance of interest.

Need more information?

Call us now on 01242 241882 for further information and to discuss implementing the MAS Wellbeing and Performance Agenda in your organisation or request more details here.

Programmes related to Well being and Performance

Wellbeing and Performance Programme

Positive Work Culture Programme

OrganisationHealth Development Programme


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