The realisation of employees being an organisation’s most important asset has become even more profound after the pandemic. As a global trend, the recurring waves of Covid have made more companies conscious of their employees’ overall health and wellbeing.
According to a Small Business Owner Survey from Lincoln Financial Group last month, four out of five small business owners in the US view employee benefits as a top priority due to the pandemic. Moreover, employers are now acknowledging that employee wellness goes beyond just their physical health and incorporates mental wellbeing, satisfaction level at the job, and even their morale.
Similarly, another survey published early this month by Willis Towers Watson found that around 87 percent of the surveyed employers said that enhancing medical health benefits will be one of their top priorities over the next two years.
With social isolation, burnout, and videoconferencing fatigue setting in, there has been a growing sense of excessive stress and anxiety, coupled with physical inactivity and unhealthy lifestyle habits. This has enormous implications for the organisation as well. During the “Great Resignation 2021”, many companies ended up losing their best employees. Many of those were reeling under this burnout and felt less connected to their organisation, according to a survey conducted last year by education tech firm Cengage.
While a majority of people resign from their jobs due to a lack of choice to work remotely, a large percentage want to switch jobs because they are not satisfied with the kind of benefits their organisation offers as part of their income package. Moreover, a large number of employees want the flexibility to choose the kind of health and wellness benefits that they can opt for. With employee wellness directly impacting productivity levels, the importance of having a well-rounded corporate wellness strategy becomes more pronounced in this era.
Defining Corporate Wellness Strategy
The wellness strategy defines an organisation’s approach towards creating a healthy and productive workplace. With offices still figuring out the transition between remote and hybrid workplace setups, wellness needs are also evolving. For as long as the pandemic remains, and even beyond that, wellness strategies of corporations must include support for negative impacts of Covid-19, such as grief, trauma, excessive alcohol or tobacco use, sleep difficulties, stress, and worries about the virus. Offering support which is directly relevant to life crises people are currently experiencing will make it more likely for them to stay engaged in the wellness program and feel connected to the company. Wellness strategy amid Covid can include the following:
- Providing a robust corporate insurance
- Leveraging technology to provide teleconsultations
- Offering rewards and wellness points based on daily physical activity, sleep routine, and water intake, which can easily be tracked through smart-wear devices and mobile applications
- Holding yoga and meditation sessions for employees
- Seminars on healthy living
- Sponsoring employee participation in marathons
- Incentives for partaking in such activities can help them stay engaged with the wellness program
Deploying an Exhaustive Corporate Wellness Strategy
Employers can start by enhancing the coverage with sound corporate insurance plans which are more flexible, more inclusive, and more employee-centric. Policybazaar’s latest survey results reveal that at least 1 in every 4 corporate has increased the sum assured for employees post-pandemic.
A plan that allows the employees to customise it as per their needs — covering their parents, increasing the sum insured if required, getting pre-existing illness cover, covering live-in partners, and even pets — can help them feel valued in the workplace. To address this, corporates can consider offering flexible benefits that can be reimbursed later. Here, a fixed percentage of the pay is set aside to provide benefits to employees. These benefits could be different additional riders in corporate insurance, subscription to wellness apps, or fitness memberships. Depending on their preference, employees can choose them and avail benefits. This is even more important in today’s times when employees working remotely may not be able to use such facilities that have been available in the workplace. These days, more corporate insurance policies are making these valuable memberships a part of the corporate health plan.
“Employers can start by enhancing the coverage with sound corporate insurance plans which are more flexible, more inclusive, and more employee-centric. Policybazaar’s latest survey results reveal that at least 1 in every 4 corporate has increased the sum assured for employees post-pandemic.”
And finally, a focus on mental health is crucial. According to UNICEF’s “The State of the World’s Children 2021” report, only 41 percent of young Indians think that it is good to seek support for mental health issues, as opposed to an average of 83 percent across 21 countries. The good news is that conversations around mental health have now made their way into the corporate spaces, especially after the Covid-19 outbreak.
As per The Deloitte Global Millennial and GenZ survey 2021, 31 percent of Millennials and 35 percent of Gen Zs have taken time off work due to mental health issues brought about by the pandemic. Ensuring that employees have access to confidential consolations with mental health experts could go a long way. Corporates can have a system in place where employees can freely seek such consultations not only digitally from the safety of their homes, but also by visiting a mental health expert if needed.
Why Corporate Wellness Strategy Has Become More Crucial Now?
There is no doubt that the uncertainty surrounding the Covid pandemic is not over yet. Just when things seemed to be getting back to normal, we again have a sudden spike in the number of cases with many states bringing back restrictions, and others considering them seriously. More than ever, the employees, who were looking forward to getting back to their pre-Covid lives, need all the support from their employers to safeguard their well-being.
Year of Incorporation: 2008
Name of the founders: Yashish Dahiya and Alok Bansal
Business line: Insurance brokers
Employee strength: In 2018, the employee strength was 3,500 and currently Policybazaar has over 7.5K employees with a 40 percent female workforce
Key HR factors: Diverse, safe, and inclusive workplace. Follow a standardised interview process for all candidates.