Wellbeing | CIPD call on employers to use a holistic approach to employee wellbeing

CIPD call on employers to use a holistic approach to employee wellbeing

The link between performance and wellbeing has been long established and makes common sense; people who feel well at work perform better than people who feel unwell.

As the average adult living in the UK spend nearly 85,000 hours at work during their lifetime, and with the evidence of how work can affect your health negatively, we can clearly see a case for employers taking the responsibility to create a working environment and culture that support employee wellbeing.

However, as reported by the CIPD in their most recent wellbeing survey, two years on, the coronavirus pandemic continues to heavily influence employee health and wellbeing and they conclude that … whilst many organisations still are committed to supporting their staff, “evidence suggests that activity in this area is starting to slip”.

A holistic approach to employee wellbeing

In their report, the CIPD also recommend that employers assess employee wellbeing risks and needs using a holistic approach. At Healthy Place to Work® we have always been supporters of the holistic approach to health and wellbeing, which means taking in all aspects of an individual’s life, and how they interact with their workplace environment. Our holistic model consists of four broad pillars of wellbeing, each of which comprises several elements: Purpose, Mental Resilience, Connection and Physical Health.

Our model implicitly recognises that mental and physical health are interrelated. It maps to the biopsychosocial model of health which was first formulated by the American psychiatrist George Engel in 1977 and which is widely used by healthcare professionals. This states that our biological health can be affected by psychological and social factors and vice-versa.

When many people see health as simply the absence of illness, we realised early that we want to inspire organisations to focus on a salutogenic approach. In short, this means that we work with the factors that make both the individual and the organisation healthy. This further supports the holistic view on wellbeing, which state that individuals should play a role in their own wellness

Assessing employee wellbeing at work

By using an evidence-based approach, which would involve collecting feedback from the people themselves, rather than only exploring HR statistics around sick absences or retention. You that you can address some of the underlying issues that can affect people’s sense of wellbeing, such as culture and management.

By being strategic first, you can ensure that you investment in employee health and wellbeing becomes more than just a programme of fun events and improve workforce/workplace health to drive organisational performance.

The Healthy Place to Work® Survey allows employers to assess employee needs and risks from a holistic perspective, focusing in on wellness factors. Factors that help build a healthy person and a healthy team. We do this by evaluating the perception of your employees about their individual health and the culture of health within the organisation.


This section of the survey acknowledge that people function in a social context and take into consideration both personal and professional relationships. The level of connection to others in the workplace or in the broader community has a significant impact on our overall mental health. Level of connection is explored through areas such as sense of belonging, diversity & inclusion, emotional expression, manager and peer support, relationships, and social wellbeing.

Mental Resilience

By examining the internal psychological environment of our people, we will better understand their mental resilience. The level of mental resilience will impact on your organisations’ ability to successfully adapt to change, respond to challenges and deal with highly adverse conditions. Level of mental resilience is explored through areas such as financial wellbeing, learning mindset, self-efficacy, work control and demands.


A sense of purpose plays an important part in the health of an organisation, but also an individual. By incorporating a sense of purpose into a person’s life we can help them to become mentally strong to a greater extent and to forge personal relationships both within and outside of the workplace. Sense of purpose is explored through areas such as congruence, flow & gratitude, organisation values and wellness culture.

Physical Health

Physical health is assessed through visible and tangible aspects, such as whether people have a nutritious diet and exercise adequately. By exploring different demographic groups within your workforce, you will also understand who may be at a greater risk to develop ill health. Level of physical health is explored though areas such as diet, energy & sleep, fitness, and work environment.

The Healthy Place to Work® model allows you to focus your efforts on wellness which enables your people to develop towards a healthier life, and the factors that support you in developing a healthy organisation. By taking this approach you can prevent many of the negative consequences of ill health and achieve sustainable performance through the development of a healthy corporate culture.

To read more about Healthy Place to Work® model, download our white paper “The Science of Wellbeing”.

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