This site is intended for health professionals only

NICE releases employee wellbeing guidance

24 September 2014

Share this article

The National Institute of Care and Health Excellence is developing a new guideline for employers and managers on how they can improve the health and wellbeing of employees. 

Each year an estimated 27 million working days are lost to work related illness – this is thought to cost society around £13 billion each year.

This new draft guideline focuses specifically on workplace policy and management practices within an organisation that can improve the health and wellbeing of employees.

This guideline makes recommendations on improving the health and wellbeing of employees, with a particular focus on organisational culture and context, and the role of line managers.

Draft recommendations include:

Ensure fairness and justice throughout the organisation: Employers including managers should understand that all levels of management have an obligation to ensure that proper procedures and legal obligations are complied with. They should also ensure all policies and procedures are fair and equitable, and any unfairness is addressed as a matter of priority.

Line managers should know how to signpost employees to support if the employee feels that they are being treated unfairly. 

Empower line managers to enhance employee’s health and wellbeing at work: Employers including senior managers should:

 – Acknowledge that line managers have an important role in protecting and improving the health and wellbeing of their employees.

 – Give line managers adequate time, training and resources to ensure they balance organisational performance with a concern for the health and wellbeing of their employees.

Develop a positive line management style: Line managers should adopt a ‘transformational leadership’ style of management.

This includes encouraging creativity, new ideas and exploring new ways of doing things and opportunities to learn.

They should also offer support and encouragement to each employee to build a supportive relationship; acting as a mentor or coach; being open and approachable to ensure that employees feel free to share ideas; recognising the contribution of each employee.

Professor Mike Kelly, director of the Centre for Public Health at NICE said: “Every workplace is different and the relationship between management and employee wellbeing is a complex one, dependent on numerous factors including occupation, sector and so on. However, there are some basic principles that should be applied by all employers, directors and line managers – these include ensuring the right policies and managements practices are in place.

“Recommendations include encouraging new ideas and exploring new ways of doing things and opportunities to learn, recognising the contribution of each employee and if possible a flexible approach to work scheduling, giving employees more control and flexibility over their own time.”

The guideline is for employers, managers (including line managers) and employees. It will also be of interest to those working in occupational health, human resources, health and safety, trade unions and professional bodies.

The draft guidance will be available for consultation on the NICE website.