The critical role of wellness in the employee lifecycle cannot be disputed. However, in the face of a booming wellness economy, leaders must be strategic in implementing solutions for a diversified workforce. To ensure employee well-being and improve productivity, wellness solutions must be accessible to all of your workforce, be it permanent or contractual, and simultaneously they should be fine-tuned to meet your unique employee needs and budget requirements.
To empower leaders in curating such impactful wellness programs, People Matters, in partnership Policybazaar, hosted an exclusive session jam-packed with expert insights from Vidya Sagar Gannamani, Chairman and Managing Director, Adecco India; Renu Bohra, Chief People Officer, DB Schenker; Sumit Arora, Head - National Operations & Workplace Strategy, CBRE India; and Raghuveer Malik, Head- Corporate Insurance, Policybazaar.com. They discuss at length about designing accessible and inclusive wellness plans, strategically leveraging digital infrastructures to collect relevant data and re-imagining the role of leadership in championing the wellness agenda.
Bottlenecks to address when expanding wellness solutions to a diversified workforce
Starting the discussion, Vidya highlights the urgent need to acknowledge the growing workforce of contract labourers and for businesses today to implement solutions that cover their well-being. Hyper-personalisation of well-being policies will be strategic in providing coverage to contract workers in line with the duration of their employment. Additionally, as work-from-home practices expand, there will be a risk of a high incidence of diseases coming out of a sedentary lifestyle, such as obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular illnesses, to name a few.
However, leaders also need to account for cases of ‘Presentees’ who are employees who log into work but, for reasons owing to their mental health, are unable to perform their best. Leading change management backed by a culture change will be imperative, but one has to reimagine how we practice well-being at the workplace. There are many innovative dashboards in the marketplace that can be critical in keeping track of your employee’s health from an organisational lens.
Renu also emphasises the need for behavioural change. Using the example of EAPs (Employee Assistance Programs), she highlights how DB Schenker tries to break the stigma around asking for help by engaging in regular feedback with their employees.
One cannot discount the fact that while organisations are investing in many initiatives to lead well-being, ease of accessibility and flexibility in usage needs to be there for employee adoption.
Wellness in the hybrid world of work
As pointed out by Sumit, hybrid working models tend to add a layer of complexity to the wellness agenda. Therefore, while we speak at length about the importance of mental health, two additional focus areas need to be accounted for. Firstly, the creation of the right work environment for your workforce. And secondly, ensuring a culture of psychological safety, especially when managing hybrid teams, where the workers in the office tend to have the advantage of being in-person.
Thus, workplaces must be designed to generate physically healthy behaviours, from fresh air quality to recharge and community-building opportunities. An unexplored dimension would be how we can empower our employees to initiate a healthy home environment.
Technology also has to play a role in facilitating the right culture of collaboration that ensures everyone feels included because this also impacts an employee’s well-being. Leadership training is also vital because the right managers will play a critical role in building a corporate culture of psychological safety that ensures their people are looked after and cared for equally.
The benefits of embracing digital infrastructures to champion well-being policies
An essential piece of advice shared by Raghuveer is for organisations to coordinate with the creators of wellness products to build a digital interface for employee wellbeing. There are plenty of areas for innovation, from integrating group health insurance plans to wellness platforms or integrating wellness solutions to already implemented HR portals. Strategic coordination between enterprises and wellness partners enables seamless dissemination of flexible wellness policies that are easy to consume. Leaders also get insights on the right mix of solutions for a diverse workforce.
When it comes to measuring the effectiveness of wellness policies, such digital platforms will also be beneficial because they will track the usage of solutions such as insurance, cities where there are more claims, diseases with a high incidence risk and the roadblocks that come up in availing these benefits. Along with culture, change management, and leadership, technology will play a critical role in employees' increased adoption of wellness programs.
However, the key differentiator will be adapting digital solutions to employees rather than the other way around. Because a diversified, spread-out workforce will always seek convenient access to wellness solutions.
In today’s unpredictable economy, budget concerns may remain when building a business case for wellness programs; however, in the long run, initiating personalisation and flexible wellness solutions will optimise resources and costs for the company. At the end of the day, an enterprise that invests in its people will see returns in the form of building the right employee culture, increased productivity and performance. To catch the full conversation on expediting the adoption of wellness strategies inclusively with greater impact, click here.