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Create a Holistic Employee Wellbeing Program

Move beyond perks to an approach that targets employee needs and systemic barriers.

  • Wellbeing initiatives often do not align with employee needs, as they are regarded as perks offered to individuals (e.g. healthcare allowance) rather than components of a holistic program that addresses employee needs across multiple wellbeing dimensions.
  • If systemic barriers are not adequately addressed before a wellbeing program is implemented, its impact will be negligible.
  • The development of a wellbeing program is often relegated to a side-of-desk task that lacks adequate resources and involvement of key stakeholders.

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Our Advice

Critical Insight

  • Organizations must embed a focus on employee wellbeing into their day-to-day operations, culture, and leadership to thrive in today’s environment. This requires a shift from viewing a wellbeing program as a couple of stand-alone initiatives to understanding it takes an integrated and holistic approach to meet employee needs and address systemic barriers.

Impact and Result

  • Gather data and employee feedback to identify gaps in existing initiatives and uncover employee wellbeing needs.
  • Select the organization’s wellbeing priorities and build a program composed of initiatives that meet employee needs and address systemic barriers.
  • Create a customized and targeted communications plan to ensure employees are fully aware of the wellbeing initiatives being offered.

Create a Holistic Employee Wellbeing Program Research & Tools

2. Review and select wellbeing initiatives

Plan to address systemic barriers, review current and identify additional wellbeing initiatives, create a shortlist based on feasibility and stakeholder input, and draft a business case to present to senior leaders.

3. Prepare to launch

Draft a wellbeing initiative roadmap, create a communications strategy, identify training opportunities for managers, and plan an evaluation and iteration process for the wellbeing program.

Workshop: Create a Holistic Employee Wellbeing Program

Workshops offer an easy way to accelerate your project. If you are unable to do the project yourself, and a Guided Implementation isn't enough, we offer low-cost delivery of our project workshops. We take you through every phase of your project and ensure that you have a roadmap in place to complete your project successfully.

Module 1: Assess Current State

The Purpose

  • Review current wellbeing initiatives.
  • Analyze existing data to identify insights and collect additional data on employee needs.
  • Prepare wellbeing focus groups questions.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Current wellbeing initiatives reviewed
  • Existing data to identify insights analyzed and additional data on employee needs collected
  • Wellbeing focus groups questions prepared




Evaluate current wellbeing initiatives.


Identify insights from current state of wellbeing.

  • Wellbeing insights

Determine wellbeing themes.


Customize focus group questions.

  • Plan for focus groups

Module 2: Conduct Focus Groups

The Purpose

  • Conduct four one-hour focus groups (9am, 11am, 1pm, 3pm) with the employee group(s) identified in the pre-workshop activities.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Wellbeing focus groups conducted




Conduct focus groups with a cross-section of no more than ten employees and managers.

  • Focus group feedback themes

Module 3: Identify Wellbeing Priorities and Program Goals

The Purpose

  • Identify systemic barriers and wellbeing priorities.
  • Select wellbeing program goals and metrics.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Systemic barriers and wellbeing priorities identified
  • Wellbeing program goals and metrics selected




Identify systemic barriers to wellbeing.

  • Systemic barriers identified

Determine wellbeing priorities.

  • 5-7 wellbeing priorities

Define program goals and select metrics.

  • List of goals and metrics

Module 4: Select Wellbeing Initiatives

The Purpose

  • Plan to address systemic barriers.
  • Identify wellbeing initiatives.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Address systemic barriers planned
  • Wellbeing initiatives identify




Plan to address systemic barriers.


Identify whether to keep, modify, or remove wellbeing initiatives.

  • List of existing initiatives to keep, modify, or remove

Select additional wellbeing initiatives.

  • Shortlist of additional initiatives

Module 5: Next Steps and Wrap-Up

The Purpose

  • Create a shortlist based on feasibility.
  • Draft a wellbeing initiative roadmap.
  • Create a communications strategy.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Shortlist based on feasibility created
  • Wellbeing initiative roadmap drafted
  • Communications strategy created




Determine feasibility of shortlisted initiatives.


Draft a program roadmap.

  • Program roadmap

Create a communications plan.

  • Communications plan

About McLean & Company

McLean & Company is an HR research and advisory firm providing practical solutions to human resources challenges via executable research, tools, diagnostics, and advisory services that have a clear and measurable impact on your business.

What Is a Blueprint?

A blueprint is designed to be a roadmap, containing a methodology and the tools and templates you need to solve your HR problems.

Each blueprint can be accompanied by a Guided Implementation that provides you access to our world-class analysts to help you get through the project.

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Guided Implementation 1: Assess the current state and set program goals
  • Call 1: Discuss creating a wellbeing project team and review wellbeing data sources.
  • Call 2: Review inventory of current wellbeing initiatives and existing data to identify insights. Plan to collect additional data on employee needs.
  • Call 3: Identify systemic barriers and wellbeing priorities, select program goals and metrics, and review program constraints.

Guided Implementation 2: Review and select wellbeing initiatives
  • Call 1: Discuss a plan to address systemic barriers, review current wellbeing initiatives to determine alignment, and identify additional wellbeing initiatives to create a shortlist.
  • Call 2: Review the finalized shortlist of wellbeing initiatives and business case to present to senior leaders.

Guided Implementation 3: Prepare to launch
  • Call 1: Outline a wellbeing initiative roadmap and communication strategy.
  • Call 2: Identify wellbeing training opportunities and discuss a plan to evaluate and iterate the wellbeing program.


  • Jessica Assaf – Corporate Communications Expert and Wellness Advocate
  • Dr. Viswanath Baba – Professor, Human Resources and Management, DeGroote School of Business, McMaster University
  • Dr. Andrew A. Bennett – Assistant Professor, Department of Management, Old Dominion University
  • Professor Sir Cary Cooper – Professor of Organizational Psychology & Health, Manchester Business School, University of Manchester
  • Christine Devine – Wellness Specialist, Michael Garron Hospital
  • Lisa Dodwell-Greaves – Manager, Organizational Wellbeing, WestJet
  • Dr. Gloria González-Morales – Associate Professor of Psychology, Claremont Graduate University
  • Grace Lee – Manager, Wellbeing, Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan
  • Bronwyn Ott – Wellbeing, Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Leader, Unilever
  • Zofia Sharman – Well-Being Ambassador, Harneys
  • Nicole Stibbe – Coach, Wellbeing and DEI Consultant, Affirm You