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Heather Beach - How to Hire a Wellbeing Manager
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How to Hire a Wellbeing Manager

  • Publish Date: Posted 11 months ago

Shirley Parsons speaks to Founder and Managing Director of The Healthy Work Company Heather Beach, to get her thoughts on wellbeing in the industry and the best ways to hire a wellbeing manager.

'Wellbeing is an emerging field of risk and opportunity for businesses which has resulted in new jobs being created in the field.’

What is organisational wellbeing?

Organisational wellbeing is about creating the right conditions for thriving in a business or team and it encompasses many aspects, including:

  • Organisation and leadership - systemic issues such as workload, resources, support, change management.

  • Management – the competencies of line managers to create psychological safety in their team and to deal with wellbeing issues in their team when they occur.

  • Health promotion and education for individuals – built and delivered with your demographic in mind.

  • Interventions to support people when they are unwell, such as Employee Assistance Programmes and Occupational health for getting them back to / keeping them in work.

  • For more information on the types of interventions to put in place – take our 5 minute quiz to give yourself a current score and look at where you could put additional focus.

What interventions can be put in place to ensure organisational wellbeing?

 Interventions should look at proactive and reactive elements. Proactive elements include preventing people from getting sick in the first place (e.g. training for your leaders, stress/psychosocial risk assessment) and reactive is supporting them when they are ill (e.g., mental health first aid, occupational health, EAP). Manager training is both proactive and reactive.

As there are so many aspects to wellbeing at work, an organisation or candidate should think very carefully about exactly what they need / can provide before they hire someone. Depending on the size of your organisation, you may have a whole team involved in delivering your wellbeing strategy.

Things you need to consider:

·       How senior do you need that person to be? (If they are responsible for strategy, they need access to and be able to influence the senior team)

·       How much support do you have internally for the aspects of the role? Do you, for example have an L and D team already? Do you have data experts?

·       Can some aspects be performed by a contractor or consultant? This might include strategy development or training or reviewing third party support such as EAPs

 “At the Healthy Work Company, we believe it is better to employ someone with the exact skillset you need and will require in the future. We see far too many organisations employing a relatively junior person as a Head of Wellbeing who quickly becomes very frustrated as they need to get airtime with the board in order to change systemic issues in those all important, primary, proactive interventions”

 Top 5 tips for organisational wellbeing at senior and junior level:


Senior level.

·       Development of strategy to encompass proactive and reactive interventions.

·       Senior engagement skills, stakeholder management, ability to understand and influence using data.

·       Ability to collaborate with teams working on Health and Safety/People and Culture/Equality Diversity and Inclusion/Environment Sustainability and Governance.

·       Understanding of psychosocial risk assessment and ability to call upon internal resources such as HR engagement surveys, employee forums and other resources to create.

·       Ability to influence board behaviour to model good wellbeing.


Junior level.

·       Ability to produce data in different formats which can support the influencing of a senior team and support the development of the strategy.

·       Ability to coordinate and project manage.

·       Collection of appropriate data – may involve setting up/gathering, e.g., usage of EAP, sickness absence.

·       Training coordination which may include delivery.

·       Creation of supporting materials for managers, such as types of reasonable adjustments, referral points.

When it comes to the line manager behaviour and competencies, it’s important to collaborate with HR and the senior team to create an agreed line manager behavioural framework to promote / hire to. It’s also important to create a strategy for the delivery of ongoing training, management, and measurement of this.

Training programme and health promotion for individual wellbeing.

“This is not just about pure wellbeing training. Good managers are fundamental to good wellbeing; your wellbeing manager should have oversight of the total manager training focus. Your manager is responsible for 69% of your wellbeing at work (the same as your partner!).”

For individual health and wellbeing and looking after yourself, your wellbeing manager needs to gain an understanding of health risks for the demographic and the type of education needed to be able to manage them.

At a junior level, the coordination and perhaps delivery of webinars, educational seminars, health kiosks and other health promotion activities, suitable for the demographic should be part of the role. For larger organisations, they may opt for tailored courses from someone like ourselves (train the trainer for example) or, they may build their own. But it should be ongoing – not just one off.

We also advise that whichever level you employ at, the individual should have knowledge of EAP/Occ Health services. Reactive interventions aimed at keeping people in work or getting them back to work more quickly such as EAPs and Occ health services are often mismanaged by organisations who may be paying twice for the same services, not receiving value for money and little account management. In some large organisations, managing these will be a role on its own and retendering will be a specialist job.

However, there also needs to be senior, strategic involvement in what you want to offer staff. Consider if you include their families and reviews of which interventions are being effectively utilised. Other types of interventions could include councillors, GPs onsite and physiotherapists.

Mental Health First Aid: Governance of the MHFA programme needs careful consideration and whether to embark on this programme and how to launch, communicate it and manage it should be a senior decision. Lots of our customers are now engaged in a relaunch, where they did not envisage the governance they would have to put in place and where managers were also trained as Mental Health First Aiders – managers have different legal duties.

The Healthy Work Company.

The job of people management in an organisation has got more challenging in this period of huge social change. Good conversations about wellbeing are essential to the most valuable asset of any organisation - its people.

The Healthy Work Company, which was founded by Heather, offer tailored wellbeing training and strategy solutions developed in line with an individuals and company’s culture and are focused on infusing wellbeing to beat stress, drive engagement, and build resilient leaders, managers, and teams.

To contribute to this and her work within wellbeing, Heather is about to release her first book ‘I’m a boss, not a shrink,’ which aims to help managers have important and real conversations with their employees about; spotting the signs when someone is struggling, listening effectively, the type of support they could offer, duty of care and much more.

To find out more about Heather’s book (Practical Guide to Manager Wellbeing Conversations) or to find out how to order it when it’s realised, CLICK HERE.