Curating the right mix of employee wellness benefits
One of the most pivotal shifts in employee well-being is the march towards holistic wellness. With companies at various stages on the spectrum of hybrid work, many have realized that a one-size-fits-all approach proves counterproductive in the age of personalization and evolving individual preferences.
Over 78% of companies reported that increasing employee engagement was the primary goal of their wellness program. Yet it remained a significant challenge for 52% of the companies surveyed.
- People Matters and MediBuddy Wellness 360 Study
As a result, companies need to curate the right mix of benefits to ensure wellness programs are impactful in driving engagement and addressing well-being issues holistically. To deliberate further, People Matters and MediBuddy curated a webcast session on understanding the right mix of wellness benefits companies need today. Joined by Lavanya Shrinagesh, Vice President, Global CSR and Diversity & Inclusion Leader, Genpact India, Ajay Chowdhury, President; CHRO, SRF Limited and Rohit Chohan, Head of Business, Corporate Labs & Consultations, MediBuddy, the panel explored the different facets of wellness that are important to reshape wellness programs today.
The opportunity for holistic wellness
The pandemic compelled organizations to prioritize wellness. From exploring new knowledge resources to initiating open and transparent conversations and developing leaders and managers to recognize wellness signs, companies took many steps to meet the suitable wellness needs. Lavanya Shrinagesh, Vice President, Global CSR and Diversity & Inclusion Leader, Genpact India, shares, “The fact that people are recognizing that something is not ok, tells the employee that you care”.
Ajay Chowdhury, President and CHRO, SRF Limited, believes that the future of wellness lies in making conscious efforts to understand what leads to ‘ease of existence’ for different people. “Organizations should be more tolerant and flexible and let people be”, shares Ajay. Specific measures are required to drive wellness adoption or utilization, mentions Rohit Chohan, Head of Business, Corporate Labs & Consultations, MediBuddy. For example, simple changes such as offering leave on health check-up days and ensuring Privacy between employees and the hospital regarding health reports. “People feel that if their health report is not ok, it could create adverse career outcomes”, shares Ajay. By making small yet significant changes, adoption rates shot up from 20-30% to above 80%. Building trust is, thus, a critical wellness element.
Building successful wellness programs
The pandemic created an openness to healthcare in peoples’ minds. What will ensure its sustained success is:
- Digital Adoption: Digital adoption begins with awareness. People need to know what digital healthcare means, who offers it etc. and then be able to choose what is right for them. SRF Limited has ensured access to a digital platform in a manufacturing setup through online sessions, kiosks, etc. Lavanya reiterates that the most critical factor for adoption is trust. “Are the resources right and trustworthy?” will determine how to engage employees in wellness at scale.
- Personalization: It is essential to make employees realize how wellness personalization benefits them, believes Rohit. Organizations need to serve employees a bouquet of wellness offerings, as did SRF Limited, by dividing the wellness agenda into eight pillars and aggregating these onto a digital platform. “Basis demographic and location analytics, we reached out to specific employee clusters”, says Ajay.
- Tech-enabled accessibility: Technology goes a long way in digitizing the wellness experience. At Medibuddy, the platform analyses data from various employee interactions and throws hyper-personalized healthcare recommendations. “Data helps us know the specific health and wellness requirements for particular employees, enabling us to send directed message triggers. We can now give people what they are looking for and thereby serves the real need”, says Rohit. A tech-driven platform provides users with a wow experience and offers HR an utterly integrated health ecosystem for driving adoption efficiently.
- Uphold Privacy and trust: Privacy concerns around health are real, so the comfort of anonymity is critical. Lavanya states that people may prefer a particular trustworthy family doctor or therapist. “Most people consider wellness very personal and do not want to discuss it. Organizations must understand this is a natural human behaviour. This will help develop trust”, she says. Similarly, Ajay believes in collecting data on aggregates to ensure Privacy.
- Making it inclusive: Lavanya shares that irrespective of the nature of the workforce, they treat employees as our own, with communication going to all people. From creating safe spaces for conversations to topic-specific webinars, the message is that ‘you are not alone in the experience. Easy access, such as an in-house doctor, helps. But wellness is not just about access anymore; it is about inclusive culture and opening up the conversation to make people realize that people can speak of health and well-being and that the organization is there to support and work through for employees’ success.
At the core, wellness success stems from knowing what matters to people, recognizing the same and acting on it. “Tell people that we are there, we are listening and we care”, adds Ajay.
Wellness is not just an HR policy anymore. Everyone from CEOs to line managers must drive wellness. Ajay mentions, “Get the manager on your side through a conscious effort of making him or her aware of the benefits of a happier and healthier team. Managers should appreciate the value”. Getting on board influencers, i.e. people who drive behaviours, can help communicate this well. Another way to involve managers is to make wellness adoption a part of the manager KRAs, according to Rohit. HR must drive this ownership through policy and process changes and continuously measure its effectiveness and application. Start by defining, “What do we want to achieve through each wellness offering?”
For long-term synergy, Rohit recommends measuring the wellness quotient of employees pre-program and post-program and looking at final health outcomes. Then track the measures that will directly impact the outcomes and build a conducive environment. “What matters is what you are as an organization”, says Ajay. Lavanya agrees, “The small steps that organizations take to navigate development, growth, wellness, DEI, etc. together makes one feel valued as people and as contributors. Having the heart and soul of the organization apparent and accessible is the new way for wellness.”