Excellence in administration

  • ISSA Guidelines:
  • Workplace Health Promotion

Excellence in administration

  • ISSA Guidelines:
  • Workplace Health Promotion

Workplace Health Promotion -
A.3. Structuring Workplace Health Promotion

Identifying and engaging stakeholders

Promoting workplace health and well-being is a multi-layered activity. Identifying stakeholders is a vital first step in developing a proactive approach to employee health and well-being. The external stakeholders of a social security institution may include national and local government, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), civil society, employers and trade unions, professional organizations and private sector organizations with a health remit.

Creating workplaces which truly promote health will not result from the actions of one stakeholder alone but, rather, from the combined efforts of many. However, one group of key stakeholders is those within the health-promoting workplace itself (internal stakeholders). Consequently, representatives of these groups must be involved in discussions and planning at all levels. Their engagement legitimizes and endorses the involvement of internal stakeholders within other enterprises/organizations in workplace health promotion.

Thus, the first requirement of sustainable and successful workplace health promotion is to identify internal and external stakeholders at all levels and to develop effective partnerships, alliances and collaboration with them.

It is important to use an appropriate process to identify and engage those who have a stake in a health-promoting workplace. One way to do this is to conduct a stakeholder analysis. Many models of stakeholder analysis are available and many overlap. Regardless of which is used, the critical point is that, when the analysis is complete, it should offer a clear understanding of each stakeholder. Key questions to be asked include:

  • What do potential stakeholders know, feel, want, believe and value in relation to workplace health issues?
  • What are the threats, risks, costs and benefits for each potential stakeholder posed by workplace health issues?
  • What are potential stakeholders’ main concerns about workplace health issues?
  • How do the stakeholders’ concerns about the issues differ?
  • What are the areas of common ground among the various potential stakeholders?
  • What roles do you want stakeholders to play or how do you want stakeholders to be involved in any initiative to promote workplace health?

Stakeholder engagement is a key step in developing a sustainable and consistent approach to protecting and promoting employee health and well-being across groups of employers and geographical areas. But stakeholders must be engaged in appropriate positive ways, which include:

  • Creating effective collaboration and partnerships from the outset;
  • Defining a common agenda;
  • Showing how disagreement and conflict, should they arise, will be resolved;
  • Having in place, clear and agreed guiding principles;
  • Having convincing arguments to support the call for engagement.

Gaining the involvement of stakeholders is a task that social security institutions are well placed to undertake. Building relationships is central to creating stakeholder engagement. Such relationships are based on:

  • Working towards a common goal or objective (in this case, improving employee health);
  • Collaboration, not competition, to achieve this improvement;
  • Openness, transparency, and mutual trust and respect, which must underpin the relationship;
  • Recognizing the diversity of stakeholders and their needs (e.g. the needs of the Ministry of Labour in terms of workforce well-being will be different from those of employers or trade unions, although the desired outcome will be the same for all).

Social security institutions have a clear health remit, and may thus be considered the key stakeholder in workplace health promotion.

The synergistic effect of stakeholder engagement

Synergistic benefits for workplace health promotion can be achieved when all stakeholders work together effectively – whether within the social security institution, at a national or regional level or within individual enterprises/organizations. Regardless of the level or context, efforts to promote workplace health and well-being are more likely to be effective when they follow the following principles:

  • Clarity of role: stakeholders know what is expected of them;
  • Respect and trust: all aspects of the relationship between stakeholders are based on mutual respect and trust;
  • Responsibility and accountability: stakeholders know what they are responsible for and are accountable for their actions;
  • Reporting mechanisms are clear and used;
  • The process is based on realistic expectations: goals and objectives are based on SMART principles (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, time-bound);
  • Recognition of effort: stakeholders and their efforts are valued.