Asia Employee Wellbeing Week: Q&A with Kate Vernon, Executive Director, Community Business

pexels-photo-515169.jpeg

Are you interested in stepping up your company's employee wellbeing strategy but not sure how to get started? Do you offer specific products and services to improve employee wellbeing but not sure you are reaching the right audience? Then Asia Employee Wellbeing Week (AEWW) could be an initiative that you should be part of! Executive Director at Community Business Kate Vernon answers 5 questions on how you can get involved in Asia Employee Wellbeing Week (8 – 12 October) and what’s on offer.

What is Employee Wellbeing?

Research highlights a direct link between employee wellbeing, productivity and performance. Employers who invest in their employee’s wellbeing reap a range of profit-boosting benefits - from higher engagement levels on the one side, to reduced costs associated with absenteeism and attrition on the other. Responsible businesses put employee wellbeing at the heart of their people strategy - because beyond the business case, ultimately our organisations are about people, and we have a duty of care to ensure our employees are happy, healthy and engaged.

The concept of employee wellbeing has evolved in recent years. Beyond a pure focus on work-life balance, our approach is much more holistic and incorporates four elements that we believe are crucial to achieving all-round wellbeing: work-life harmony, physical wellbeing, emotional wellbeing, and financial wellbeing.

  • Work-Life Harmony: encouraging employees to manage or arrange the different parts of their life in a way that is in tune with their individual goals. A deliberately Asian perspective on achieving balance, the concept of work-life harmony recognises that different elements may fluctuate or take precedence at different times and that the two aspects of work and life may be interwoven.
  • Physical Wellbeing: encouraging employees to make positive lifestyle choices that promote physical health. Activities such as regular exercise, healthy nutrition and quality sleep are critical to long-term health, energy levels and performance.
  • Emotional Wellbeing: encouraging employees to be mindful of their emotional and mental state. Only by nurturing positive mental health and building resilience are employees able to deal with the daily stresses of life and function at their best.
  • Financial Wellbeing: encouraging employees to learn about and take charge of their personal finances, a common source of anxiety and stress. A proactive and forward-looking approach to financial management can create peace of mind and security, boosting overall wellbeing and performance.

What is Asia Employee Wellbeing Week?

Asia Employee Wellbeing Week (AEWW) is a region-wide initiative of Community Business, designed to provide companies with a platform to raise awareness, educate and motivate action around employee wellbeing.  The week runs from 8 to12 October 2018 inclusive, with a promotional campaign running from July through to November 2018. We are inviting all companies who care about the wellbeing of their employees, to get involved.

To support this, Community Business is providing:

​​​​​​​

  • Access to a Virtual Platform packed with resources to support their strategy, including:
    • Employee Wellbeing Virtual Marketplace: showcasing NGOs, trainers and consultants in Asia who have expertise on different aspects of employee wellbeing. By visiting the Virtual Marketplace, you can learn about the services and activities offered in your region and contact local service providers directly
    • Regional Calendar: presenting a rich programme of events taking place during AEWW in different markets across Asia. If you’re not able to organise your own activities, we encourage you to find out what is going on locally and register your employees
    • Resource Centre: featuring comprehensive resources for you to leverage, including links to research reports, statistics, videos and more. Tap into these to inform and support your employee wellbeing strategy – both in the short and long term
    • Promo Kit: comprising marketing materials that you can use to promote AEWW and your company’s commitment internally, including posters, social media messages, email signatures and more

Why Invest in Employee Wellbeing?

Investing in employee wellbeing, particularly across Asia, is increasingly important. A recent research piece, The Healthiest Workplace by AIA Vitality found that an average of 59.8 days of productivity per employer are lost to absenteeism and presenteeism every year in Asia Pacific. This sends a clear message that identifying and addressing risks to employee health is critical to business performance.

Throughout the region working culture dictates long hours and few days of paid leave. Employees find themselves overworked and stressed, with little time for family, exercise or emotional rejuvenation. This is having an impact on the bottom line of many companies – increased unproductivity and unhappiness among employees decreases effective output and fuels high turnover of staff. Investing time and money in the right programmes to reduce stress, increase all aspects of health and help employees work efficiently is mutually beneficial to employers and employees and is a practice we hope more organisations throughout Asia will adopt.

We took a look at holistic approaches to employee wellbeing earlier this year, revisit our IMPACTxAsia article to find out more.

Who is Doing it Well?

There is much to be learnt from companies in the healthcare industry who have long recognised the important link between employee wellbeing and human performance. This is perhaps not surprising as health and wellbeing is core to their brand and product offering. Companies like GSK, Johnson & Johnson and Unilever for example, have rolled out holistic offerings that encourage employees to attend to various aspects of their wellbeing - including physical and emotional health.

Other industries - from financial and professional services to the energy and technology sectors, have begun to recognise the unique pressures faced by employees in their workplaces and introduced programmes specifically designed to promote and support the wellbeing of their employees.  They are recognising not only the benefits to performance, but also their duty of care to employees. For some examples, particularly relating to promotion of emotional wellbeing, I encourage you to read the case studies featured in our recently launched Mental Health in the Workplace in Asia research.

While the examples I have cited refer primarily to multinational companies, that is not to say that employee wellbeing programmes are not important or achievable for smaller, local organisations in Asia.  All companies, regardless of size and industry should take this issue seriously – and there are many ways to approach. It is our hope that all companies will take inspiration from AEWW and leverage the week and the platform as a way to raise the profile of this important topic and drive a strategy moving forward. At Community Business we offer bespoke training and consulting services, including around work-life harmony. Please get in touch if you are interested in engaging any of our services.  

How Can You Get Involved?

There are a number of ways different organisations can get involved:

  • Become a Participating Employer: If you are committed to promoting employee wellbeing in your organisation in Asia, we encourage you to register to be a Participating Employer for US$150.  Not only will you get unlimited access to the Asia Employee Wellbeing Virtual Platform and all its resources – for all your employees, in all markets across Asia – you’ll also get branding for your commitment to employee wellbeing.  We’ll feature your logo on the Community Business website alongside other leading employers.
  • Become a Service Provider: If you are looking to raise the profile of your organisation and showcase your expertise to a targeted audience of companies across the Asia region, we invite you to book a booth in the interactive Virtual Marketplace. Here online visitors – your potential clients - will be able to browse the materials you have on display and interact with your organisation directly. There are 2 types of booth available – Gold (US$500) and Standard (US$250)
  • Become a Corporate Sponsor: If you are looking to demonstrate your leadership and position your brand as an employer of choice, we invite you to sponsor an aspect of Asia Employee Wellbeing Week 2018.
  • Become a Supporting Organisation: If you are an NGO whose work relates to promoting employee wellbeing in Asia, we invite you to partner with Community Business to raise awareness.

To find out more about any of the above options please visit our website, register directly on the platform, or get in touch with more questions.