Employee wellbeing programs have long been billed as something of a magic bullet—a low-cost means to a happier, healthier, more present, more productive workforce: a win-win-win-win!
Stress and burnout are at epidemic levels. Employee engagement, a key indicator of individual and organizational wellbeing, remains low. Why are we not getting a higher return on our wellness investment? The trick is to think bigger about the idea of wellness and not evaluate corporate wellness programs solely by their return on investment (ROI).
Microsoft, which is at the forefront of innovating workforce collaboration through their products like Teams conducted a study, ‘The work trend index’. Microsoft analyzed trillions of signals from meetings, emails, and chats to identify patterns and trends while safeguarding personal and organizational data. This data, alongside surveys and interviews with workers across the globe, offered insights about how productivity is impacted due to the pandemic and how wellbeing and burnout at work are the major drivers behind deteriorating an employees’ productivity index.
To delve deeper into the changing paradigm of looking at workforce productivity, creating a resilient workplace, and to create an actionable plan on employee wellbeing, People Matters and Microsoft brings to you “The Wellbeing Week”, an attempt to make employees thrive at work; be it a remote workplace, or a hybrid model, or the company headquarters.
Within this campaign, we did a series of interviews, podcasts, panel discussion, and asked leaders to share their priorities for their workforce wellbeing.
Here is a glimpse into what the leading Indian Inc. has to share:
Krishna Raghavan, Chief People Officer, Flipkart
At Flipkart, we have a culture of well-being throughout the organization, a culture where our employees are as important as our customers. We place the utmost importance on the physical and emotional wellbeing of employees and we will continue our focus on prioritizing their holistic wellbeing in 2021. We are committed to provide an inclusive workplace, craft employee-centric policies, and equip and empower employees to be the best at what they aspire to be.
Ravi Kyran, CHRO Bajaj Auto
Employee centricity is a core tenet of Bajaj Auto. Therefore, we are extremely sensitive to the overall wellness of our employees. We believe wellness in all its facets needs to be facilitated. We have focused on creating appropriate HR policies, architecting a best-in-class working environment, providing holistic health and wellness programs including Yoga, homeopathy, organizing special programs for stress management, etc.
Srikanth Karra, CHRO, Mphasis
We believe that employee engagement is at the core of building a motivated workforce, hence we took a hyper-personalized approach to ensure that all our employees’ concerns were addressed, while a social connect was maintained despite physical distancing. We extended our real-time collaboration capabilities to enable our employees to work effectively remotely, to onboard new candidates through an entirely virtual process, and manage employee well-being and productivity at all times. With the motto to empower our employees through these challenging times, we introduced consistent and transparent means of communication to help them navigated through the crisis. We addressed employee concerns and reviewed feedback in order to understand how best we could cater to their individual needs, whether it be the need for counseling or to adapt to the new normal, training to acquire new skills, rewards, and recognition for exemplary performance in the circumstances, or additional benefits or allowances for those with special needs or requirements. We aimed at creating and retaking our strong relationships with employees, through tools such as the employee outreach portal, Pulse surveys, sound cloud channels, wellness apps, videos, and webinars. These highly customized employee experiences helped us as an organization to engage with employees to retain talent and elevate career advancement.
Noopur Jain, Director, HR & Admin, Tupperware India
The world around us has been changing constantly and especially in the post COVID era, we are witnessing vast changes at a rapid pace affecting all of us together. During these times, “Employee Wellbeing” has taken center stage and should be of paramount consideration.
Wellbeing to me is a clear function of a person’s Mental Health – which is a combination of:
- Physical and Mental wellbeing (state of mind)
- Social Wellbeing and
- Psychological Wellbeing
We, at Tupperware, pledge to promote mental wellbeing amongst our associates. This is a combination of initiatives we take to keep our associates healthy which include physical activity, ergonomics while working remotely combined with a well-balanced diet through our healthy recipes and diet tips.
Around the aspect of social well-being, we continue to keep associates connected with each other through informal means like our regular fun@work initiatives, online contests, sports championships, and also promote the importance of family and closed ones via our work-life balance initiatives.
Physiological well-being is also imbibed through our continuous reinforcement through programs catering to positive thinking, experience sharing of leaders, and various talk sessions through experts.
Microsoft studied the usage patterns in Teams for more insight. Data showed that globally, even six months past the first work-from-home orders, people are in significantly more meetings, taking more ad hoc calls, and managing more incoming chats than they did before the pandemic. As people adjusted to remote working, after-hours chats, or chats between 5 pm and midnight, have also increased. Organizations need to encourage people to create boundaries. In fact, most leaders shared with people matters that their priority is creating a better work-life balance and promote social wellbeing.
Swaminathan Subramanian, Group CHRO, Sterlite Power
At Sterlite Power, we embraced Wellness as a non-negotiable priority and focused relentlessly on creating a climate of Psychological, Physical, Financial, and Social wellbeing. This approach has paid off for us in this tough time and has been mission-critical in enabling us to emerge resilient and stronger from this crisis.
Yashmi Pujara, CHRO, Cactus Communications
I pledge to prioritize well-being for Cactizens and their families to enable them to rejuvenate their body, relax their mind, and rekindle their soul – all three of which are so crucial in the current context.
Pankaj Shankar, Senior Vice President HR, Intellect Design Arena
We rolled out an initiate called Care where the major tenets– Scope, Adapt, Respond, and Engage. Within engage, we took initiatives like pulse surveys to capture the employees’ needs and emotions. To connect people, we divided people into smaller groups and selected 40 leaders for different teams who would manage and support employees in their team with respect to health assistance, financial wellbeing, work-life balance, etc.
Vaibhav Bhandari, Head People & Culture Partner, Aristocrat
It’s up to each of us as individuals, and even more so as leaders, to cultivate a mindset and culture of health and wellness. We have to inculcate a wellbeing mindset first!
According to a study by Microsoft, it was found that 6 in 10 people (61 percent) globally felt they were more productive when the digital assistant helped them ramp up to and down from work. On average, productivity increased between 12 and 15 percent. However, when we are talking about controlling screen time and virtual meeting fatigue, organizations need to carefully think about adopting the right technology.
Prashant Parashar, CHRO, CleverTAP
Technology today is a table stake. You cannot achieve your work/business outcomes until you leverage technology. However, you need to be tech-savvy and experiment with technology to start seeing the ROI. The more technology you use, the more benefits you get.
Organizations need to proactively build communication channels that focus on transparent, authentic & credible communication, invest in collaborative technology tools, and inculcate learning agility with a growth mindset in the organization, to ensure that we future-proof the organization against any potential black swan event in the future.
Further, upon a number of conversations with our leaders, we found the emergence of a new role of managers which is to take a wider role in helping them manage their wellbeing. helping their people prioritize, stay connected, and protect their time. From the research by Microsoft, it was found that employee burnout accounts for as much as 50 percent of a company’s attrition. And it is important that managers take an active role in helping and supporting their employees their wellbeing.
To enable that Teams have a new feature Manager insights which help managers gain line of sight into teamwork norms such as after-hours collaboration, focus time, meeting effectiveness, and cross-company connections alongside an average for similar teams. These insights help managers identify where change can have the greatest impact. Further with Organizational insights in Teams give leaders visibility into how work is evolving and impacting the people who propel their business into the future. By answering questions like, “Are employees at risk for burnout? Are people maintaining strong internal connections? Are relationships with customers being maintained?” insights act like an EKG for business resilience so leaders can easily take the pulse of their organization. Leaders can track indicators of employee wellbeing and effectiveness and respond to irregular rhythms using research-backed recommendations for improvement. By seeing the impact of change over time, leaders can build cultures where wellbeing is the catalyst, not the cost, of productivity and resilience.
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