In June 2015, The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) published guidance on management practices to improve the health of employees, with a particular emphasis on the role of line managers and the organisational context.  The guidance applies to all workplaces.

The guidance was informed by a number of robust evidence reviews of relevant research, expert reports and an economic analysis.

The NICE guidelines, along with tools and resources to help you put the guidance into practice can be found using the link below

NICE Guidelines

For an overview, explore this interactive flowchart regarding policy and management practices which impact on employee health and wellbeing:

Interactive Flowchart

The following is of particular relevance in relation to the role and leadership style of Line Managers.  Remember that anyone who manages staff is a line manager, including Sergeants, Inspectors and Chief Officers, and police staff equivalents:

Role and leadership style of line managers

These recommendations are for employers, senior leadership and managers, human resource teams, and all those with a remit for workplace health.

1.Recognise and support the key role that line managers have as the primary representative of the organisation and seek their input. Use line managers as a 2-way communication channel between the employee and organisation, and to encourage staff to be motivated and committed to the organisation. Regularly seek line managers’ views on staff morale and staffing and human resource issues.

2. Acknowledge that line managers have an important role in protecting and improving the health and wellbeing  of employees through involvement in job design, person specifications and performance reviews. Give line managers adequate time, training and resources to ensure they balance the aims of the organisation with concern for the health and wellbeing of employees.

3. Adopt a positive leadership style that includes:

  • encouraging creativity, new ideas and exploring new ways of doing things and opportunities to learn
  • offering help and encouragement to each employee to build a supportive relationship; acting as a mentor or coach; being open and approachable to ensure that employees feel free to share ideas; recognising the contribution of each employee
  • having a clear vision that can be explained and made relevant to employees at all levels; ensuring employees share the same motivation to fulfil their goals
  • becoming role models who are trusted and respected by employees
  • providing a sense of meaning and challenge, and building a spirit of teamwork and commitment.

4. Use the following approaches:

  • consult regularly on daily procedures and problems
  • promote employee engagement and communication
  • recognise and praise good performance
  • work with employees to produce and agree employees’ personal development plans
  • be proactive in identifying and addressing issues and concerns early, and take preventative action at the earliest opportunity, identifying sources of internal and external support.

5. Avoid negative behaviour such as:

  • detachment from colleagues and ignoring employees’ suggestions
  • failure to monitor and manage employees as a group
  • showing no interest in employees’ ideas and projects
  • feeling threatened by competent employees
  • being guarded in communications, such as withholding information from colleagues and not keeping them fully informed.


Also consider this guidance in relation to your role as a senior leader:

Senior leadership

These recommendations are for senior managers, employers and those with a leadership responsibility in workplace health.

1.Provide consistent leadership from the top, ensuring the organisation actively supports a positive approach to employee health and wellbeing and that policies and procedures are in place and are implemented. This should be part of the everyday running of the organisation, as well as being integrated in management performance reviews, organisational goals and objectives.

2. Consider helping employees to access screening and other health services to which they are entitled. This could include providing information about services such as cervical screening and eye tests and allowing time off to attend appointments.

3. Provide support to ensure workplace policies and interventions for health and wellbeing are implemented for line managers, so that they in turn can support the employees they manage.

4. Ensure line managers are aware that supporting employee health and wellbeing is a central part of their role, for example by including it in line managers’ job descriptions and emphasising it during recruitment.

5. Display the positive leadership behaviours that are asked of line managers, such as spending time with people at all levels in the organisation and talking with employees.

6. Act as a role model for leadership and proactively challenge behaviour and actions that may adversely affect employee health and wellbeing.