In today’s workplace scenario, most employees find it difficult to attend to their personal requirements, ambitions and take care of their health and security due to their hectic work schedules. Staying healthy in the workplace and devoting time to their health and wellbeing appears to be a difficult undertaking for many employees. This is when a corporate wellness program is required.
When we think of dream companies to work for, we often think of companies that offer employee benefits and have a healthy workplace culture. We all want to be valued and recognized at our workplaces.
However, not all companies are transparent and supportive to guarantee that. This makes employees complacent and there is no growth for them or the company. If you want to change this in your organization, then read on as we discuss corporate wellness and its advantages. Corporate wellness programs are the initiatives that companies take to promote a balanced and healthy lifestyle.
These initiatives cater to different areas of well-being including healthy workplace culture, mental and physical health.
Employees spend a significant amount of time at work. Therefore, trying to align wellness goals with work-life balance is essential to drive corporate goals. A corporate wellness program is vital to the development of any company.
What are Corporate Wellness Programs?
A corporate wellness program is a company's attempt to establish a healthy workplace by combining various health activities into the daily work routine in order to enhance the well-being of its workforce. Fostering a supervisory health culture effectively takes a comprehensive approach to employee health.
We all know that employees are a company's most prized possession, and protecting their mental and physical health allows them to perform at their best. Employee health and well-being generally have a direct impact on a company's productivity and revenues. And it's necessary for every company to understand this and invest in employee wellness initiatives. It would be one of the smartest choices of any company to invest in the most valuable asset - employees. A healthy workforce always equals a healthy business.
Wellness programs initiatives need to be made by an organization to enhance employee health and to assist individuals with specific health-related issues. Employee training, staff seminars, or even partnering with a benefits administration platform offering a variety of wellness programs are all alternatives available to the organization. Health activities, on the other hand, can range from anything related to health even if it means motivating employees to stay healthy.
Building an effective corporate wellness program takes a lot of effort, but it gives the company a significant advantage needed to recruit and retain top employees.
Why should organizations implement corporate wellness programs?
Corporate health and wellness programs are regarded as an effective approach for promoting health and the holistic development of employees.
The need for corporate wellness programs in the current workplace setup in India.
India has one of the world's largest working populations. According to India's National Sample Survey Office, 40 per cent of the country's 1.2 billion people are employed in some capacity, including 56 per cent and 23 per cent of the male and female population. With such a huge percentage of the working population, an effective workplace wellness program like corporate health insurance could provide access to basic and preventive healthcare to a larger proportion of the country's population while also combating the rising burden of employee health problems.
All workplaces in India must understand that a well-designed workspace creates a less stressful and more productive environment. Employers must consider their employees' physical working environment and create a workplace environment, where employees can feel at ease.
The benefits of implementing corporate wellness programs for employees.
A decrease in absenteeism
Employee health improves as a result of a wellness program, and this has an impact on whether or not employees are absent from work. Employees are less likely to miss work when they are healthy and stress-free. Employees who are invested in their work are more likely to be productive in general. They are also driven to work and execute well when productivity and morale are good.
Employees who participate in a well-designed wellness program are more likely to develop and maintain healthy activities such as frequent physical activity and eating well. It may also assist them in reducing harmful health activities like smoking and substance misuse.
Boost employee morale
Wellness programs are important for a healthy and positive workspace culture. Companies should promote and facilitate a productive work environment in which employees are motivated, dedicated, and are ready to work as a team.
Furthermore, one of the most compelling reasons to take part in a wellness program is that they develop a sense of control over their lives and health. Employee morale is high when employees are able to be innovative, resolve issues, feel safe and supported, develop self-esteem, and accomplish goals and aspirations.
Job satisfaction is a big part of a company’s success. It makes employees feel that the company is involved in not just their daily tasks but also their holistic growth.
Increase employee retention
Culture and benefits play a significant role in loyalty and retention. When organizations invest time and money in personal wellness, employees are more likely to stay.
Employees spend around 9 hours a day roughly at work. Empowering them by giving them ownership and appreciating their work keeps them motivated.
Brand and values
Corporate wellness programs are an extension of what the organization believes in. It stands as a symbol of the company’s values. Companies can look at it as a employer branding stunt to attract the best candidates as well.
The benefits for organizations
An Increase in Productivity
Participating in wellness initiatives can help employees be more productive while also saving money for their employers. Bad health is one of the primary causes of low productivity. Participating in wellness programs that emphasize excellent health habits like regular exercise boosts productivity and performance. Workers will be more focused and motivated to fulfil their responsibilities.
A company with a wellness culture attracts a motivated and engaged staff who sees wellness as beneficial to their jobs. Group activities involving health and fitness, such as walking meetings, weight reduction challenges, and so on, will help employees feel more connected to your company and their coworkers. Because a wellness program involves all of a company's employees, new relationships are formed.
A corporate wellness program also engages and benefits employees outside of work hours. This gives people the impression that they are making a positive difference in other areas of their lives. Assisting them in making the decision to stay with the company for the long haul.
Employees benefit from working at a company that encourages exercise and a healthy diet. It reduces their chances of becoming hurt or sick, lowering healthcare costs. According to a study, workplace wellness programs lower healthcare expenses. Employees will not have to go to the doctor, pay their bills, or buy medicines if they are healthy. They can also save a lot of money, in the long run, this way.
Most of the corporate wellness programs emphasize health, exercise, and nutrition, access to nature and lots of natural light, flexible working schemes, and an emphasis on a good work/life balance for everyone.
Here are the top 10 Corporate Wellness Programs. We have mentioned a couple of key programs for each company.
To keep their employees motivated and engaged, Vedantu prioritizes employee well-being and provides psychological counseling helplines to people experiencing anxiety and stress-related problems, as well as online meditation and fitness workshops and a series of engagement activities during work from home. This resolves a lot of productivity issues.
Swiggy has launched 'Built Around You,' a wellness program tailored for its employees. The project revolves around the four pillars of physical, emotional/mental, financial, and legal wellness, with the goal of improving the overall health of the Swiggy clan and their loved ones. Employees and their families will benefit from unlimited tele/video interview appointments with complementary professionals, as well as personalised advanced and on-site wellness programs.
CredR has hired Harvard University therapists to provide employee counselling sessions on issues like anxiety, stress, loneliness, and low motivation. Since the initial lockdown, the company has actively held yoga, physical and mental wellness, and team bonding activities to fight the loneliness that many employees may feel during these difficult times. In addition, the platform has set up an internal helpline for its employees.
Springworks organizes fitness challenges and awards a gift card to the employee with the highest step count. Yoga, meditation, flexible working hours, surprise day-offs, happy hours, fun games, and other wellness activities are offered to remote employees by the company. All full-time employees at Springworks are covered by a health care insurance plan that covers them, their spouses, and up to two children.
Freshworks provides a holistic wellness program that addresses employees' medical, physical, and mental health. The company promises to prioritise employees first. The utmost emphasis has been placed on happiness, well-being, and productive work of the employee. High-performing employees get ESOPs, and they have allowances for food and buying sporting equipment.
The staff well-being initiative at Accenture is extremely amazing. Accenture, a management consulting firm, is known for putting "wellness at the core of its culture." Instead, they've identified four pillars of workplace health and wellbeing: heart and lungs, wrist, core, and spine, nutrition, hydration, and digestion, and sleep and mental health. Health assessments, subsidized gym memberships, confidential counseling, and health coaches are available to employees. They're encouraged to join employee-led sports and activity organizations, and there's a concerted effort to dispel stereotypes.
According to Yashmi Pujara, the Human Resources Head at Cactus Communications, their company policies are flexible and minimum. The organization considers itself a remote-first workplace. The organization has a flexible location and work timing policy that allow employees to choose their workplace and work timings. They pride themselves on offering flexible working locations and non-linear workdays.
At Pazcare employees have an unlimited leave policy and group health insurance. The insurance policy is extended to the family of the employees too. The core of this organisation is to provide a supportive environment for employees to thrive and this runs in the culture of the organisation.
Pazcare also hosts wellness sessions open for their employees and everyone who wants to join in regularly.
One of the most beneficial policies at Syfe is their unlimited leave policy. The company emphasizes having regular breaks for the employees to be productive at work. Therefore, they offer their employees the liberty to take leave whenever they wish to.
In addition to this, the company also provides learning allowances amounting to Rs 15,000 annually. With this allowance, the employees can reimburse the fees of courses and certification they take up to upskill themselves.
WazirX has a permanent work-from-home policy. The organization offers a home office setup kit that includes laptops, UPS for modem and reimbursements for the internet and other items to ensure that the workplace environment is feasible.
The organization also prioritizes the employees’ mental well-being by encouraging the employees to have in-person conversations with HRs and team managers and communicate their concerns.
The state of employee wellbeing in India, corporate wellbeing programs globally, and in India.
Let us now take a look at the state of employee wellbeing in India.
According to an article published by Redseer in June 2021, only 15% of India's total workforce falls under corporate health and wellness programs. Another study shows that around 36% of Indian employees suffer from mental health issues. These statistics show us how most organizations in our nation lack in offering their employees minimal benefits.
This lack in the proper implementation of corporate programs is not only detrimental to the employees but also to the organizations, as it affects the employees’ productivity and growth, which in turn contributes to the organization’s loss.
Let’s take Nestlé as an example now to understand what an effective corporate wellbeing program looks like. Nestle S.A. works with governments, public health authorities, physical and patient advocacy organizations to educate people about healthy living and lifestyle. Similarly, in Russia, Nestlé S.A. works with the Dietetics Institute on Nutritional Research and apart from this, they work closely with WHO on workplace wellness.
Likewise in India, TCS also has an effective corporate wellbeing program in place. TCS organizes health screening for their employees. In addition to these, they also have stress management counseling and sleep management sessions for their employees.
Here's a report on the state of employee benefits at Indian companies answered by 120+ HRs and founders of small, mid and enterprise-level companies. According to this report, 85% of employers felt that providing employees benefits is crucial for employee engagement and satisfaction. Close to 50% of employers organized wellness programs for their teams. a majority of the respondents stated that employee benefits and wellness programs help with employee satisfaction.
The hallmarks of effective corporate wellness programs
Let us now focus on 4 main aspects of overall well-being that every organization should take into account.
In terms of physical wellbeing, the organization can encourage employees to go for regular physical and mental health checkups and prioritize their health and wellbeing.
A few of the ways the organization can contribute to physical wellbeing are by offering gym reimbursements, allowance to buy sports-related equipment, offering subscriptions to health apps, etc. In addition to this, organizations could create recreational spaces within the workspace. This could range from meditation halls to in-house gyms the employees can access before or after work hours.
The organization should give equal importance to the employees’ physical well-being while working from home. To ensure this, they could offer concessions to set up an ergonomic workstation at home, which also includes offering the employees the necessary pieces of equipment to work from home - appropriate furniture, WIFI routers and others based on the role and need.
When it comes to emotional wellbeing, some of the important things that need to be addressed are stress, burnout, anxiety, and other issues related to mental wellness.
Firstly, it is important for employers to understand that the workplace culture has a significant impact on the employees’ emotional wellbeing. Therefore, it is the duty of the organization to promote a healthy workplace culture that supports each other, allows growth and voicing opinions without judgement.
A healthy workspace should allow its employees to express their problems without any restrictions or judgment. In order to make this possible, employers should be empathetic to their employees and their concerns.
The organization can also partner with wellness platforms like HealthifyMe and YOURdost. The platforms work towards promoting mental wellness by offering counselling sessions or emotional support.
This is one aspect of our overall well-being that is often ignored by most organizations. Especially with the advent of the pandemic, socializing became an almost forgotten concept for many people across the globe. Organizations need to realize that social distancing is no reason for them to eliminate the aspect of socializing with their employees.
There are tons of activities that can be initiated online to help employees interact with each other better and have a little break after a day’s stressful work. This also improves the rapport amongst employees, allowing them to work in a more friendly environment.
Many organizations often fail to recognize the importance of their employees’ financial stability for the growth and benefit of the organization. Financial stress is one of the major factors that affect people’s well-being. It is, therefore, the responsibility of the organization to understand the financial needs of the employees and take the necessary steps from their end.
One way to offer support is by implementing a provident fund scheme that ensures that a part of the employees’ monthly salary is contributed towards their savings.
Another important scheme the organization must implement is a group health insurance policy. Having a group health insurance for employees. By contributing to the health insurance policy, the organization will be allowed to claim the premium amount and offer tax benefits. Implementing group health insurance also makes the employees feel secure in the workplace, which in turn increases the employee retention rate.
The organization can also conduct frequent workshops on personal finance, tax filing & reductions and employer stock ownerships to improve their financial literacy.
How to design and implement a profitable corporate wellness program?
Different companies offer different wellness programs based on their values and budget. You can eyeball different company culture examples and then understand what programs they offer to align with them.
The first thing to do is to understand where you currently stand and what your employees want. You can derive it with the help of surveys and multiple interactive sessions.
The second item on your list is to get to know the types of corporate wellness programs so that you can wisely choose the best fit for your company.
As mentioned before, corporate wellness programs can address different areas of wellbeing including physical, emotional, financial, social, career, intellectual and more. You can prioritize the areas you want to focus on by basing it on the results from the survey or conversations with the stakeholders.
Here are a few ways in which an organization can succeed in implementing effective corporate wellness programs.
Understand the Employees Needs
Implementing a successful corporate wellness program begins with understanding the needs of the employees. No strategy can be successful if it does not meet the requirements of all employees. Therefore, the organization should make sure to discuss and understand with their employees, their needs and problems faced within the workspace. And the solution should be flexible so that every employee is able to take advantage of it.
Build a Wellness Program
The first step is to come up with a plan for the wellness program. The organization should ensure that the benefits offered by the program meet the needs of all employees. It should also be designed in a way that is accessible to all regardless of their role in the organization. To understand if the program is beneficial to the employees, the organization should regularly track the impact of the program on the employees. By regularly analyzing its effectiveness, the organization can work towards making it more efficient.
For the organization to be able to understand its employees’ needs, the organization should first establish a healthy space for communication. The employees should feel no fear to communicate their fears and issues to the organization. The organization also must create a confidential space that does not affect their relationship dynamics with their fellow employees.
The organization should also make sure to educate its employees about the importance of wellness programs and make them aware of the various benefits available to them through the program. This way, the employees also understand the various initiatives taken by the organization for their wellbeing.
Introducing Wellness Committees
This is an essential part of any organization. Any organization that fails to establish a team of wellness committees, fails in its first step towards building an effective corporate wellbeing program. The human resources team can take the responsibility of implementing these programs or the organization can even have a dedicated team for this. Members of this committee are responsible for communicating with their employees to understand their concerns and come up with effective strategies to overcome the problems.
Apart from implementing wellness programs, the organization should work towards understanding the effectiveness of the programs to make them more useful for the employees. This includes tracking the number of people benefitting from it, the usefulness of the program to the employees and coming up with more effective solutions, the different ways to promote it, catering to the needs of the employees while working from home and making the right decisions for the employees by taking into consideration the need of the hour.
While it is quite difficult to understand the needs of each employee and create a unique program for each of their needs, with proper planning and strategy, this can be implemented effectively. Implementing a “one size fits all” corporate wellness program is not beneficial to all members of the organization.
To promote physical activity, you can offer gym reimbursements or give allowances to buy sporting equipment.
To improve relationships and communication, interactive discussions to talk about work or non-work topics go a long way. Have weekly or bi-weekly bonding sessions in-office hours
Work schedule flexibility
With work from home, many offices have lifted focus from ‘how’ or ‘when’ someone is getting the work done. Providing flexibility improves performance as employees give their best when they are not forced.
Work environment with challenges and opportunities
Like companies, like employees - both crave growth. Support and provide opportunities for employees to take initiative.
Allowance for skill development (courses or degrees)
Provide a one-time allowance or a yearly allowance that employees can use to learn and upskill.
If you are looking for some guidance to implement an effective corporate wellness program for your organization, you can reach out to Pazcare, where we design, administer and manage the right employee benefits program for your employees.