Mumbai | Pune, Maharashtra, India: Loop Health, a VC-backed startup that provides affordable health insurance and primary care, hosted an industry discussion emphasizing the importance of creating a culture of employee well-being. With the objective of highlighting the issues surrounding employee physical and mental health, and how organisations can provide support through employee benefits programs, Loop Health brought together a panel of HR leaders to share their insights and experiences on creating a culture of employee well-being.
Over the last year organisations have seen the impact of the pandemic not only on employee physical health but it has also led to many mental health challenges. HR leaders are now prioritising employee well-being and with a focus on creating a culture that nurtures holistic well-being including physical, emotional, financial and social aspects.
To get more insights into how organisations are working towards building a culture of well-being, Loop Health organised a webinar ‘Creating a culture of Employee Well-being’, on the 27th of October, and brought together prominent HR leaders who advocate overall wellness of employees. Moderated by Devangi Kamra, VP of People at Loop Heath the webinar included as panelists Sri Sudha – Associate VP HR at Scripbox, Vani Bhalla Pahwa – Corporate Wellness Coach, Nishant Bhushan – HR, Pi Square Technologies and Shweta Singh – HR, Nablasol.
Introducing the topic, each of the panelists spoke about why employee well-being has become a focus area for organisations today and what it holds in the future. Sri Sudha – Associate VP HR at Scripbox, said, “After the pandemic the conversation around well-being is getting louder. Corporates are now realising that employee well-being must have a multidimensional approach and go beyond just the physical well-being of employees. Employees also now ask for things such as counselling programs. A workplace culture where we concentrate on the overall well-being of employees is not built overnight, it takes time and a lot of effort. It needs a mindset change, and employers & employees both have to be aware of what needs to be done.”
Commenting on what employees seek in terms of well-being and their role in building a culture of well-being, Nishant Bhushan – HR, Pi Square Technologies said, “Employees no longer look at well-being as a series of activities being organised around the year. Their experience in terms of how they are being valued in every interaction with other employees across the organisation, helps them achieve mental and physical wellness.” He added, “Employees have a lot of zeal and willingness to contribute in the area of wellness. It is key to include them in the decision making for any initiative and make them an integral part of the entire exercise. Building a culture of well-being is not about a handful of people dictating what the culture will be, it is built by every single individual in the organisation. That is how it can be sustained.”
The panelists also discussed that employee wellness is not just an HR function, it is a corporate function where management and employees have to all come together to work on it. Employee openness is restricted and even though companies provide programs, often employees are skeptical about discussing financial or emotional well-being. It is critical for the management to educate employees on the wellbeing initiatives.
In order to enlist and engage employees Vani Bhalla Pahwa – Corporate Wellness Coach advised – “To pull this off with a high degree of employee engagement, it is essential to convey what pain-point are you trying to solve and how it will be done. Having a structured approach with specific deliverables in place, is the best way to do this. It is important to speak to the employees in their language and convince them that they will not be judged.” It was also highlighted in the discussion that HR has access to a lot of employee information that can be collated and utilized to design the entire wellness program better.
To build a culture of well-being, it is key for managers to believe that well-being is critical and that it adds value. Training and development programs for managers help bring a mindset shift and build agility that enables them to work with a diverse workforce. Training on emotional intelligence and workplace communications is critical for managers to be able to support their employees. According to Shweta Singh – HR, Nablasol, “Managers should empathise with their employees and address their grievances immediately to avoid lack of motivation or lack of quality work. It is really important to listen to what they are saying. Managers should foster a culture of knowledge sharing rather than knowledge hoarding, which will ensure psychological safety to make sure people are comfortable where they are.”
Talking about the pitfalls of not making wellness a priority for organisations, Vani mentioned, “It is essential to empathize with your people and establish a connection or rapport at a ‘being’/personal level. If you are disconnected with their well-being, you would be disconnected with everything else happening around them.” Adding to this Sri Sudha spoke about how wellness is the foundation, “Everything else falls in place when you take care of employee well-being. If you concentrate on well-being, it boosts employee engagement, productivity, morale, brings down health care costs and also improves employer branding. All these factors would be pitfalls if organisations do not focus on employee well-being.”
A key takeaway from the session is that creating a culture of well-being is a dynamic process. Organisations should assess where they are placed on the wellness spectrum, where they want to get to and create a structure to get there. They need to constantly strategize, realign and systemize their approach in order to deliver on employee well-being. Working with an expert will help build systems that are sustainable.