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A five-step approach to worker well-being

Worker well-being in 5 easy steps is a process that can help identify the root causes of workplace well-being issues and engage your workers in designing solutions and taking action.

We can all agree that the well-being of employees is a crucial part of a successful business, but actually achieving worker well-being is more complicated. What if we could boil it down to five easy steps? 

SAIF, in collaboration with the Center for Work, Health, and Well-being at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, has created a simple five-step approach that merges safety, health, and well-being through organizational, environmental, and individual perspectives resulting in an integrated set of solutions. 

Liz Hill, Total Worker Health adviser at SAIF, says the process is designed to be useful to all types and sizes of businesses.  

“The Center developed strong evidence-based guidelines for organizations to implement worker well-being policies and practices. There’s great stuff in them. They were also a little overwhelming. Together we adapted them to something that is more easily applied in all workplaces,” Hill says. 

The five-step approach 

Hill says it’s crucial to begin the process with an exploration of your own business and to engage workers by asking questions from the very beginning. 

“Your employees are going to be the biggest help in identifying opportunities and priorities,” Hill says. 

From there, you can hit the ground running. 

  1. Identify | Build a strong team with clear direction and leadership support to positively impact workplace well-being. 
  2. Engage | Engage your workforce and provide opportunities to share experiences, perspectives, and ideas for improvement of their working conditions. 
  3. Design | What are you going to do, how will you do it, and what will success look like?  
  4. Action | Do the things you've planned. What has worked well in the past? What are possible barriers that have not been addressed? Start small, stay focused, and make sure to track your progress. 
  5. Review | Review your work and the lessons you’ve learned so you can continue to improve. 

“A few things to remember: providing a safe work environment is foundational to worker well-being, communication is critical, and you likely can’t do everything all at once,” Hill says. “If there are actions that are important to your employees and you can do them now, do them. The items that might take more resources and planning can be built into longer term plans.” 

You can learn all about the five steps, watch trainings and videos, and download materials at saif.com/5easysteps. The resources are also available in Spanish.