Don't become fixated on one, narrow health and wellbeing ROI


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Richard Heron on the importance of health and wellbeing activities to senior individuals

HR should not become overly fixated on showing health and wellbeing ROI in one specific way, Richard Heron, vice-president of health and chief medical officer at BP has said.

Speaking at Maudsley Learning’s Why Mental Health Matters conference, he said: “It’s gone too far on the ‘how do you have a conversation in the same language as people you’re talking to’ front. You use a whole range of value measures to demonstrate it, without getting hooked up on the one financial measure."

He also spoke about selling the importance of health and wellbeing activities to senior individuals by focusing on their targets. “You have to understand the business context because unless what you’re doing aids business performance it’s lost,” he said, adding: “You’ve got to show you understand the challenges of their business right now and how health and wellbeing can help with that.”

Heron also gave advice on ensuring the success of a global health and wellbeing strategy. "The best way is to employ local staff," he advised. "I employ 35 people, most of whom aren't British. My view is you can teach people a capability in mental health but the only way to understand the context of health is to be brought up there from birth. Otherwise you'll make huge mistakes."

Heron gave the example of countries where a person might go to a religious elder for advice on health, so a health and wellbeing officer may commit a cultural faux pas if not careful. "Even after reading a book about culture I might make mistakes because it's the things not in that chapter," he said.

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