Today, wellness policies have become a fundamental part of any employee-centric strategy, even more so in the aftermath of a global pandemic. There is a rising culture of care and compassion which needs to be translated at the workplace and sustained by the leadership. And this in itself calls for thoughtful discussions on what has been done, the results achieved and the gaps in wellness policies that remain to be filled.
With this thought, People Matters, in partnership with Policybazaar, brought together industry leaders, namely Kapil Mahajan, Head - Business Human Resource - TATA Advanced System; Mukesh Agarwal, Chief People Officer - Tata Steel Long Products Ltd; Srinivasan N., Deputy Vice President at TVS Credit Services Ltd.; and Raghuveer Malik, Head- Corporate Insurance, Policybazaar.com to shed light on the critical elements in designing the right wellness strategy.
Malik raises the significant point of curating relevant wellness policies for your people in a customer-centric fashion at the beginning of our discussion. This sets the stage for what follows.
Wellness trends at the workplace
Taking us through the distress of the last two years, Mahajan highlights the pain and anguish felt by employees working during these times. As a result, empathy and resilience became critical facets of leadership; characteristics which must be sustained as we lead a hybrid model and operate with a distributed workforce.
Furthermore, with good health directly impacting productivity, wellness programs are not only designed with top-down sensitivity with leaders championing these conversations but there are also more and more digital wellness solutions in the market.
The impact of these wellness trends is clearly felt in the panchsheel approach to wellness being pioneered by both Agarwal and Srinivasan at their organisations. Their offerings target five facets of wellness, which are physical, social, mental, financial and even spiritual.
The health of the employees determines the company's health, which is why there needs to be an expansion in access to medical infrastructure.
Simultaneously, the speed of response and inclusivity are vital traits when operating in a hybrid world. Innovations also need to be carried out to ensure that the right benefits are made accessible to people by investing in annual health checkups to personalise offerings.
Health benefits in a hybrid world of work
Having touched upon this earlier, a greater emphasis was placed on investing in digital solutions, which is imperative not only for higher participation and involvement of people but also for their convenience. Moreover, technology also offers more efficient personalisation by tracking the impact of programs and providing insights based on data analytics.
However, along with the world of wellness apps, equally important is the culture of team-building, mentoring and knowledge sharing, giving opportunities to interact face-to-face whenever possible. This is pertinent in creating the right working environment for your people and affects their well-being.
Along with productivity, well-being also plays a role in hiring processes. For example, candidates freely ask about relational coverage and how the company in question will take care of them beyond the pay package.
Investing in the right corporate health insurance plan
Zeroing in on one critical wellness policy today, corporate health insurance, Malik points out how hospitalisation bills account for 20% of employees’ expenses. When it comes to digitising solutions, health risk assessments have to be carried out so that relevant options are picked up in deciding the right insurance plan for your organisations; this is even more important for SMEs with limited budgets.
As leaders pioneer wellbeing initiatives, they have to be presented to employees in a way they understand and actively adopt these offerings.
This is where the element of customer-centricity comes into play; your people have to know why these policies are offered, how it benefits them in the long run and how they can avail of these benefits with ease.
Empathy is the bedrock of employee wellbeing
Leadership needs to understand why employees connect or do not connect at the workplace to truly create a sustainable ecosystem of help and support in the workplace. Inclusivity, transparency and trust are driving values in organisations’ commitment to their people, acknowledging that every life adds value to the organisation. Having this mindset is key to designing wellness policies today that reach all employees at all levels in the workplace, regardless of their employment contracts.
With organisations today all set to achieve their business goals for the year, employee wellbeing will become a critical element of moving forward. However, while leaders must champion and lead these conversations, their people have to be equally involved in the process so that the benefits reach them and empower them to lead more productive, healthier and happier lives.