How WorkWell could be the answer to some of your HR challenges | Moorepay
May 31, 2024

How WorkWell could be the answer to some of your HR challenges

The government has introduced the WorkWell pilot, a £64 million initiative designed to offer tailored work and health support across 15 areas in England.

Announced by the DWP and DHSC, WorkWell is aimed at helping individuals with health conditions stay in or return to work by connecting them with local services such as physiotherapy, counselling, and employment advice, providing a support system to enhance both health and work life.  

The pilots will launch in regions including Greater Manchester, Cornwall, and areas of London, impacting around 59,000 people starting in October this year. The initiative is part of a broader welfare reform package aimed at modernising the benefits system and reducing ‘economic inactivity’ due to long-term sickness.  

What does this mean for you?

HR pros understand the complexities of managing workplace health and wellbeing, and the WorkWell pilot represents a significant shift in how these issues are addressed. By integrating health support with employment services, the initiative seeks to reduce the number of employees leaving work due to health issues. This holistic approach will no doubt require working closely with ‘Work and Health Coaches’ to develop personalised plans for employees, facilitate flexible workplace adjustments, and provide ongoing support.  

You’ll need to familiarise yourself with the new system to effectively refer employees to WorkWell services and understand the available support. This involves knowing the local services available that can help employees overcome health-related work barriers and facilitating conversations about workplace adjustments.  

Potential benefits and challenges

While the WorkWell pilot has the potential for positive change, it also presents challenges and uncertainties. One concern is whether there will be enough resources to support all participants, given the high demand for health services in the UK and the complexities of integrating these with employment support.  

The success of the initiative will heavily rely on cooperation between various stakeholders, including GPs, employers, and local health services, with the likelihood of facing difficulties in ensuring seamless coordination and communication among parties. Additionally, the effectiveness of the new fit note process, which focuses on what individuals can do rather than what they can’t, remains to be seen.  

How can you prepare?

Taking proactive steps to prepare for the WorkWell pilot will be essential, including:  

  • Ensure your team undergo training to thoroughly understand the initiative and stay updated on the latest developments and guidance – this knowledge will be crucial in supporting employees effectively.  
  • Establish strong connections with local ‘Work and Health Coaches’, healthcare providers, and community services to facilitate smooth referrals and support for employees. 
  • Review and update company policies to reflect the new integrated approach to health and employment support. Ensure that policies are flexible enough to accommodate the necessary workplace adjustments for employees with health conditions.  
  • Develop clear communication strategies to inform your employees about the WorkWell plan, how it works, and the support available to them. Encourage your team to engage with the service and seek help when needed. 
  • Implement mechanisms to monitor the effectiveness of the support provided to employees by the initiative. Gather feedback and identify areas for improvement and ensure the initiative meets the needs of your workforce.  

Looking ahead

While the WorkWell plan offers promising solutions, it’s important to recognise that its full potential will only be realised through successful pilot programs. The outcome of these pilots will be crucial in determining whether WorkWell can be implemented on a national scale, and the collaboration between GPs, employers and local health services will play a significant role in the initiative’s success.  

Remaining informed and proactive will enable you to navigate these changes effectively. Stay tuned for updates on the progress of the pilots and be prepared to adapt your strategies based on the findings.  

For more information on recent government guidance and how it effects your HR practices, visit our Knowledge Centre. You can find the governments press release here.  

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About the author

Rob Woodward

Originally a performer with a background in screen and playwriting, Rob has transferred his creative writing skills into the content marketing domain. Rob is responsible for the creation of our HR & payroll content, as well as the delivery of our customer communications.

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