While health and wellness priorities defined the business outlook over the last two years, companies are now taking the time to relook at their wellness roadmap.
Since the pandemic started, there have been several temporary and permanent workplace shifts. As the hybrid world of work continues to shape the business outlook, companies will need new approaches to tackle the unique workplace needs and employee expectations.
In an exclusive webcast discussion in association with Pazcare, leading business and HR leaders including Suma PN, Director HR, Otis India, Sumit Sabharwal, Vice President – HR, Fujitsu Global Delivery Centers, Sanchit Malik, CEO & Co-founder, Pazcare, shared their thoughts on the way forward.
The rise in awareness
Today, Wellness needs to be looked at holistically. And that starts by looking at the organisation's culture – on whether they are caring for individual employees and being empathetic across people, process and technology.
Sumit pointed out that there's far greater awareness among employees on Wellness, including physical and mental wellbeing. "People are asking questions on health and wellness that they previously felt shy about."
"There's also increased manager accountability on wellness," Sumit noted. He said that there is also an uptake of managers attending programs related to Wellness. Conversations start with 'how are you feeling?"
"The biggest shift companies are dealing with is self-paced maturity towards wellness," Sumit discussed.
The discussion on Wellness is no longer solely confined to large companies, Sanchit noted. In spite of the fact that group health insurance and life insurance were not previously among wellness products offered by small companies, more are now presenting these products as a wellness option. Small and medium companies that were once not offering anything are now offering comprehensive plans. "Employees joining startups are asking for comprehensive covers," he said.
Challenge and opportunity areas
Speaking about the current context, Sumit noted that employees are still navigating the 'transition' – from a primarily remote work set up to working from the office a couple of days a week.
"The commute is an issue. Employees are fatigued from travelling for long hours," he noted. There's also increased peer pressure from skyrocketing salaries, especially in the IT sector, causing mental stress for employees.
Companies are taking several steps to ensure an uptick in wellness adoption. At Otis, encouraging families to participate in wellness drives was crucial in broader adoption. "We made sure our wellness webinars were at a time when family members could also join in during late evenings," Suma noted.
In addition to pointing out several initiatives within Otis that aid in driving the change, Suma also discussed the impact of cultural shifts. "Promoting mindful living, ensuring elderly care, partnering with the right insurance providers, giving employees access to diet and nutrition experts, etc.,"
From a benefits perspective, salary hikes alone will not be enough.
Most health covers offer in-hospitalisation support only. But as preventive healthcare takes on greater importance, more companies are also offering employees a certain sum every year to cover "Consultation, diagnostics, OPDs, Dental care, etc. And this can be done at scale by leveraging the right technology," Sanchit said.
The way forward
The question in front of HR and business leaders is, "How are you ensuring the effectiveness of the wellness programs? And how are you capturing the employee value," Suma said.
When it comes to career and wellbeing, companies need to understand 'What do employees want to learn? And what does the organisation want?'
The expert panel highlighted the need to proactively leverage technology to address healthcare and wellness needs. That means having an approach to tackle the different stages of the employee lifecycle and training all the stakeholders, including the managers, an essential step in ensuring the success of your wellness efforts.