3 HR Challenges to Great Workplace Wellbeing

HR deserves a seat at the top table.

That fact was resoundingly clear at Perbox's breakfast event on 19th April 2018 on 'Who Said HR Doesn't Deserve a Seat at the Top Table?'. Most interesting were the speaker's insights into why that is true and the challenges many HR & People professionals face when it comes to well-being.

This article highlights 3 insights so that you - whether working in HR / People or a different function - can become part of the UK workplace well-being movement. 



Shaun Badley, Perkbox's Director of People picked out that: “in HR we often firefight the urgent and forget the important”. 

In our experience, 'well-being' typically accounts for 1-5% of an HR / People Directors responsibilities. It is often the first thing postponed when something else comes into the diary.

The irony is that, as Badley explained: “if we actually make time to focus on the important, half the 'urgent' our problems wouldn’t exist in the first place”. 

Well-being is proven to address costly challenges, including: absenteeism, productivity and team connectedness. While many acknowledge these challenges are important, many more neglect the fact that these issues are costing money today; right now!

Well-being is both important and urgent.

Action: Get out of the urgent and into the important


“Time and budget are easy to measure - knowing how people feel is hard", explained Ian Jardine, Performance Coach. Perhaps that is why so many people feel frustrated that they work too many hours for what we earn.

HR / People departments must therefore speak the language of the boardroom. Facts and figures which make business sense are needed. 

The good news is that the evidence is already there. As we outlined in The Case for Corporate Well-being, the return on investment in workplace well-being is compelling. Relate that information to own company's unique situation and it will be impossible for leadership not to invest.

Action: Make the business case for well-being

team high 5 hands in for work wellbeing positive vibes.jpg


As Natasha Wallace, HR Coach, put it: "Working in HR can feel like banging your head against a brick wall".

Implicitly, people working in HR / People care about people. Such passion is not always matched by an ability to influence change. When you consider "75% of our behaviour is based on patterns" it is no surprise that institutional habits are difficult to shift.

So what can you do?

One way to influence change is to work with other departments. "The best HR teams are not just HR; they work with other teams, from comms, project management to IT", explained Paula Leach, Chief People Officer at the Home Office.

It could be messy and it most certainly won't be easy but a passionate HR / People team can be the catalyst for company-wide change. 

Action: Work with the people you want to help


Urgent items draw HR & People attention away from the most important challenge: well-being.

Speaking the language of the boardroom and presenting the business case for well-being can help address this imbalance.

When passionate HR & People teams are equipped with the right facts and figures, great change can happen. Rather than being trapped firefighting a blaze of urgent actions, they can step out and become the author of their company's story. 

 If you would like to talk in more detail about our takeaways from the Perkbox event, or how we've helped company's address their most pressing well-being challenges, then get in touch: chris@innerfit.co.uk