Holistic Well Being – Moving the needle

As much as employee perks play a pivotal role in sustaining the talent in an organisation, similarly, it is equally important to make sure of the holistic well-being of employees. And it is only possible if organisations devise relevant strategies for the same


Adapting To The Changed Dynamics

The last two years have been years of upheaval at all levels. Humans, businesses and economies. As with any such changes; there have been immense opportunities for reflections. Newer ways of work and workplaces; hybrid work models and the ever-changing business situations amplified the need for organizations to become more agile and more humane. As one looked deeper, the ambiguity and ever-changing work dynamics left many of us, employees as well as organisations wanting to re-prioritise. Reprioritising is what truly matters. And one such re-prioritizing happened in the area of Well-Being. The “Great Resignation” was a more vocal expression of the prior latent and simmering need of wholeness, of ultimate well-being. 

And it wasn’t just the emotion being expressed. It was complemented by the multiple research-based insights in this space pointing towards why organisations had a business case to prioritise the well-being of employees, in addition to the business performance measures. Borrowing from research by Josh Bersin, it was stated that companies which leverage different strategies for employee well-being are 2.2 X more likely to exceed financial targets, 2.7 X more likely to delight customers and 1.9 X more likely to innovate effectively. 

Clearly, for organisations and employees, it made more sense to look at well-being at a much deeper and holistic level. However, for employees and organisations, to start working more effectively in this space; it was important to decode what actually makes human beings feel well? Is well-being absence of physical ailments? Is it the absence of mental stress? Is financial security also a barometer of personal well-being? Is it that when one feels a part of the system feels much better on the well-being scale? Is it when one feels safe, physically and psychologically, that she/he feels well? 

Multiple conversations on this subject led to most of the organisations, actually finding their own definitions. Most of the organizations realized that essentially Well-being is relatively a more comprehensive word, the word actually is around Wellness of the Being…of the very existence of the employees. It is about enabling a space that nourishes this being and therefore well-being is as much about physical and mental well-being, as it is about emotional, social and financial well-being. It is about psychological safety as much as physical safety. It is about feeling valued and inclusive. Basically, well-being meant organisations to look at employees and their being from a very humane lens and that Well-being as a term is universal, but at the same time, it is immensely personal and to do with individual Being. 

And this line of thought, actually resonated so well with me, personally, as a human being. I felt Well when I was in a flow…when I had the physical energy; the mental agility; happiness at heart and was very comfortable with my financial security and the love and care I would get from people and society. I was feeling “Well” and that showed in my conduct, in my delivery, in my performance. 

Crafting Well-Being Strategies

As organisations had deeper insights, it also led them to craft Well-Being Strategies with both the employees and the organizations shouldering the responsibility, jointly. Considering the space was big; organizations started taking baby steps. Most of the organisations started offering suite of benefits in the physical wellness and mental well-being space. There were offerings around physical fitness, preventive care offerings; increased medical insurance; tie-up with medical care facilities and hospitals, etc. Organisations stepped up the offerings in the space of mental well-being including meditation sessions; art therapy sessions; sessions with coaches and counsellors; flexibility in work conditions; etc. Conversations around emotional well-being and providing an environment, where employees could feel safe to express themselves without being judged started gaining consciousness. Employee Resource Groups came into existence for peer support and care. There was a visible thumbs up by the employees; considering most of these offerings had huge participation rates. 

However, it remains to be seen, how organisations keep these efforts sustainable and gradually move the needle to other aspects of helping employees with their holistic well-being. Building an organisation, which helps provide financial well-being and a feeling of equitable rewards and benefits and also helps employees with advisories on maximizing their returns on their rewards for present and future lifestyles could be really useful. Flexibility to choose from the bouquet of benefits could provide a feeling of financial well-being to the employees. 

The other equally important shift may be required in the space of social and community well-being, as increasingly more and more employees have started searching for their larger purpose of existence and have starting putting more onus on personal and social relationships. Providing employees with opportunities to contribute to community upliftment programs; or to a social cause or to an environmental sustainability endeavour could be possible options for greater fulfilment of employees. Integrating employees’ in CSR journeys could be a great starting point. 

At the end, however, as with any other endeavour, the true intent and commitment by the leadership team of the organisation, is what actually makes a difference. Helping build a culture where all these different aspects of well-being become no longer buzz words, but actually, a fabric of the organization eventually leads to employees feeling “Well” in the organisation.

It is a start to a long, meaningful journey and it’s a collaborative one, with organisations leading the way and employees partnering with the leadership team to make it happen. For organisations, it’s important to listen to their employees and co-create a comprehensive Well-being Strategy and offering that’s focused and customized to its own employees. It’s as much about individualised offering as it is about a collective one! 

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house


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