NICE guidance – improving the health and wellbeing of employees

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has begun the process of developing guidance (on behalf of the Department of Health) on improving the health of employees, with particular focus on the role of line managers (entitled ‘Workplace policy and management practices to improve the health of employees’).

This guidance will provide recommendations for good practice and is aimed at line managers, professionals, commissioners and managers with public health as part of their remit working within the NHS, local authorities and the wider public, private, voluntary and community sectors. It may also be of interest to those working in occupational health, trade unions, professional bodies, employees and other members of the public.

The guidance will look at organisational culture and context and its role in promoting the wellbeing of employees through proactive and supportive leadership style and management practices, e.g.:

  • Supporting and training line managers in managing sickness absence and return to work, and on motivating and supporting employees.
  • Knowledge and application of workplace law, policies and best practice to develop, support and improve healthy workplaces and workforce health.
  • The role of occupational health services in helping line managers support their employees.
  • Identifying potential risks and hazards and supporting people who have, or are at risk of developing, health conditions.

The draft scope was released for consultation from 18 June to 16 July 2013 and the final version of the scope will be available on the NICE website from September 2013.

There are economic, social and moral arguments that work is the most effective way to improve the wellbeing of individuals, their families and their communities (Waddell, A and Burton A K, 2006). However, workplaces can pose significant risks to the health of individuals if hazards that may lead to work-related illness are not properly managed or those with existing health conditions aren’t supported at work. Managers play a significant role in looking after the health of employees but, understandably, many need help doing this. This is why the free Health for Work Adviceline (0800 0 77 88 44) was set up with the primary aim of helping managers reduce sickness absence and improve the health and wellbeing of their workforce.

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