New NICE Quality Standard for healthy workplaces

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has today published its new quality standard, ‘Healthy workplaces: improving employee mental and physical health and wellbeing.’ The CIPD served on the NICE steering group that developed this standard that aims to help organisations to improve people’s health and well-being.

NICE quality standards are recognised nationally and describe high-priority areas for quality improvement in a defined care or service area. This quality standard covers the health and wellbeing of all employees, including their mental health. Each standard consists of a prioritised set of specific and measurable statements that are supported by recommendations to support improvement. The ‘Healthy workplaces' quality standard has four ‘quality statements’:

  • Making health and wellbeing an organisational priority
  • Role of line managers
  • Identifying and managing stress
  • Employee involvement in decision-making.

Each quality statement sets out a rationale, quality measures and what the statement means for different audiences. For example, the rationale for ‘the role of line managers’ explains that ‘a line manager can have a significant influence on employee attitudes and behaviours’, and that ‘making health and wellbeing a central part of the line manager's role is a way of helping to ensure employees feel valued, content and able to discuss any concerns before they reach a crisis point.’ The quality measures refer, for example, to evidence that supporting employee health and wellbeing is included in any documents outlining the skills and knowledge that line managers need such as job descriptions and performance reviews.

This quality standard will provide organisations that want to improve employee health and well-being with a framework that enables them to measure improvement over time. CIPD research shows that most employers want to enhance well-being but often their activities are isolated from the day-to-day business and so do not fulfill their full potential. Applying a structured approach like the NICE ‘healthy workplaces’ quality standard will help organisations to integrate health and well-being in a more sustainable way.

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