Workplace well-being has become a focal point for organisations aiming to create inclusive and diverse environments that cater to the needs of a multigenerational workforce. In a recent panel discussion at the People Matters’ Total Rewards and Well-being Conference in Gurugram, Gaurav Mahajan, Head of Compensation & Benefits at L'Oréal India, and Paromita Roy, Head of Leadership Development at Tata Steel, shared insights into the evolving landscape of well-being programs. They delved into the importance of personalised initiatives, the role of technology, addressing burnout, and the challenges of mass customisation.
Building a culture of well-being
Gaurav Mahajan emphasised the importance of walking the talk when it comes to instilling a culture of well-being within organisations. He highlighted the need for a leadership role, recounting a session on psychological safety for the managing committee members. “By acknowledging vulnerabilities and sharing personal stories, leaders can foster an environment where employees feel comfortable discussing their challenges,” said Gaurav.
Paromita Roy added that in India, there is still a stigma attached to acknowledging mental health struggles. Leaders play a crucial role as ambassadors, showing that ‘it's okay not to be okay’. Transparency, according to them, is key to creating an environment where employees feel supported and heard.
Overcoming blind spots: Customisation and empathy
Discussing blind spots in wellness programs, Gaurav identified two critical factors: a lack of knowledge about the entire workforce and a lack of intent. He stressed the importance of avoiding a one-size-fits-all approach.
Highlighting the significance of transparency in addressing anxiety, particularly regarding compensation and career concerns, Paromita shared a story of a CEO supporting an employee through gender reassignment surgery, underscoring the importance of empathy in fostering a supportive workplace.
Tailoring programs to diverse age groups: A holistic approach
Responding to a question from the audience on the challenge of designing well-being programs for a diverse age group within an organisation, considering the associated costs. Gaurav explained the process of data analysis and customisation, citing an example where his company allowed employees to choose from a range of well-being benefits based on their individual needs and preferences.
Role of technology
They emphasised the critical role of technology in designing, implementing, and scaling well-being programs. Gaurav shared how technology helped identify diverse employee needs, execute scalable solutions, and provide an enhanced employee experience. Paromita echoed this sentiment, highlighting that technology is indispensable for capturing and understanding the needs of a large and diverse workforce.
The panel also spoke about the prevalent issue of burnout, with Paromita acknowledging the impact on employees, especially in the context of the hybrid work model. She stressed the need for sensitising leaders and managers to treat employees as humans, not just as resources. “While organisations can provide policies and toolkits, changing the mindset of managers remains a challenging yet crucial aspect of tackling burnout,” said Paromita.
Overall, they underscored the evolving nature of well-being programs, with customisation, empathy, transparency, and technology playing pivotal roles in creating inclusive and supportive workplace cultures. The journey towards holistic employee well-being continues, driven by the commitment of organisations and their leaders.