Three key steps for a successful wellbeing strategy in your legal firm

In this article, Leigh McKay unveils three steps towards developing an effective wellbeing strategy in the legal sector, aimed at nurturing supportive working environments where people thrive.

Young man and young woman in business suits walking up a flight of stairs outside an office block.

Firms often have the best intentions when it comes to mental health support for their staff. Mental health is one component of our overall wellbeing. This article reveals three steps to consider for your wellbeing strategy. These steps are not exhaustive, however offer a good starting point for firms to increase the likelihood of success and create environments where individuals can thrive.

It’s important first to differentiate between culture, policy and procedure and strategy.


A wellbeing culture that supports openness about mental health is our ultimate goal, the peak we are all striving towards. This means creating an environment where your law firm actively prioritises and promotes positive mental health, provides a variety resources that anyone experiencing good, poor or ill mental health can access, and where everybody feels able to reach out for support and recognises your firm as part of their recovery process, stigma free.

Policy and procedure

Policies are formal guidelines or principles that dictate decision-making and help ensure consistency and compliance with your firms’ objectives, legal requirements, and ethical standards. Procedures are the actionable initiatives shared with your people, empowering them to take ownership of their own wellbeing and for the firm these resources fulfil your responsibility to staff.


Strategy refers to a plan of action designed to achieve specific goals or objectives in the long term. It involves making choices about where to allocate resources, what will be most effective, and how to position your firm for sustainable success. It offers a framework that equips you to benchmark how you have made a difference.

“Give someone responsibility and they will do their best. Make them accountable and they will do even better.”

Simon Sinek

Three strategy steps

1. Ensure accountability

Implementing wellbeing initiatives needn’t come with a hefty budget but does require the proper allocation of resources. Whether you designate this responsibility to an internal staff member or outsource it, someone must assume the overall leadership role to ensure accountability. Choose this leader thoughtfully as they will set the tone and significantly impact the firm’s culture.

It is common to add this role onto someone’s existing workload, but don’t underestimate the time and effort required by the chosen lead. Once the lead is appointed ensure they have the necessary resources and support for success implementation. One effective approach is to include associates and colleagues as “Wellbeing Champions” or “Ambassadors”. These collectively will constitute your wellbeing team.

When recruiting your team select people with interest and expertise across the board. Ensure inclusivity by involving people from all levels within your firm. Some colleagues may feel more comfortable engaging with peers rather than senior staff members.

2. Needs and measurability

Take a comprehensive approach when conducting your needs analysis. Mental health is just one facet of overall wellbeing, and achieving optimal mental health requires addressing all aspects of wellbeing. Our longstanding six-pillar model effectively encompasses these dimensions: Mental health, physical wellness, work-life balance, sense of purpose, communication, and financial health.

Getting results means starting with a clear understanding of what is needed from people, coupled with measurable outcomes. These outcomes will support your return on investment and will be reflected in factors such as staff morale and engagement levels. Investing in the wellbeing of your team yields tangible benefits, as thriving and productive teams are essential for your firms’ success.

Simple metrics to watch:

  • Participation rates
  • Employee voice
  • Wellbeing initiative feedback
  • Intention to change behaviour
  • Specific health impacts
  • Employee engagement
  • Specific sickness and absence cause and duration

3. Communication campaign

Often, despite the implementation of commendable initiatives, firms encounter low participation rates, particularly among their most stressed employees, despite significant investment. Engaging employees early on helps support them preventatively rather than reactively.

Just as there is diversity of needs in mental health support, effective communication also requires a “one size does not fit all” approach. Establishing a clear theme and utilising all available communication channels is essential. Also consider having leadership endorse and spread the message. This not only reinforces your firm’s commitment but gives your people the permission to really get involved.

Research suggests that individuals need exposure to information at least six times before it becomes ingrained. 

Clearly outline your wellbeing campaign:

  • Structure and goals.
  • Program purpose.
  • Potential benefits to the employee.
  • How people can actively participate.

If you are just starting out in this space or you already have a strategy, regularly revisiting this is important. If you’re not getting the results you had hoped for, consider the steps highlighted. Wishing you well on your firms’ path to good health and wellness.

More about Leigh

Leigh has been in the Wellbeing Industry for over a decade working with organisations globally. Leigh studied a Social Science degree specialising in Psychology and is a Mental Health First Aid Instructor and Wellbeing consultant. A large proportion of Leigh’s experience has been gained through supporting family members who have experienced mental illness. She works in various industries, ranging from the legal sector, education, manufacturing, and finance. Her key purpose is to make a positive difference and help create a supportive work culture that enhances performance, productivity, and engagement, while also supporting corporate and social responsibility.

Find out more about Leigh on LinkedIn and on her website.

Leigh McKay

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