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The new and complete guide to a successful corporate wellness strategy

You may have heard of “workplace wellness”, but what does it mean? How do you go about creating a healthy and happy working environment? 

These questions are the focus of this conversation. We will explore the basics of employee health, wellness, and the role of HR in ensuring a positive work environment.
Content by:
Kiren Velu Pillai
September 12, 2022
What is corporate wellness?
Corporate wellness, or holistic wellness, is a philosophy that encompasses all aspects of our lives and seeks to bring the best out of people. It aims to look at an individual as a whole, not limited to their physical health, but their overall well-being, mental, emotional and spiritual. 

Employee wellness is no longer a luxury. It’s now a requirement in many companies. For example, IBM's corporate wellness program rewards employees for improving their health. It provides nutrition, fitness, and vitality programs that can earn employees up to $150 for completing each program.

The most significant part is that it has an online component which allows employees to check in, set goals, participate in records, and track their progress. IBM has seen exceptional participation rates, with 80% of its staff signing up for at least one wellness program in a year. 

While nearly half completed the programs, IBM saved almost $190 million over two years by improving employee health while decreasing healthcare reimbursements.
regional job happiness index
Source: JobStreet Employees top happiness survey in Asia
The importance of providing corporate wellness?
According to the survey conducted by Jobstreet, Singapore and Malaysia rank last compared to five of her neighbours. This is due to the culture that not many employers place enough resources on their employees' needs, including employee wellness.

Singapore and Malaysia have longer working hours than Australia, according to a study by Jobstreet found that employees in these countries work more than their contracted hours and experience higher levels of stress. 

Stress can increase the risk factor for chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and depression, ultimately leading to higher medical claims for non-communicable diseases (NCD) and losses in productivity.

Companies in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines lost a combined total of USD 44.6 billion due to neglecting corporate well-being over one fiscal year.

However, there is a silver lining to this data: In its Benefits Survey Trends report, Willis Towers Watson (WTW) found that employers are expanding their focus to address the current condition of their employees. Physical well-being at 59%, emotional wellness at 46%, financial well-being at 32% and social well-being at 33%.
Psychological Safety Happy Team
How do HR initiate a corporate wellness program in their organisation?
There is a simple formula that many human resources departments can follow to create a wellness program: Easy, Better, Faster, and Affordable. 

Easy: stands for making the process for you and your employees to partake in this initiative; it can be as simple as doing health screening or BMI checking. This will drive up awareness.

Better: How do you improve from one program and start expanding more programs, creating a feedback mechanism loop or having a management system in place or hiring an external consultant

Faster: What can you do to improve the participation/engagement rate? Refer to the point of adding gamification to the wellness initiative, and there will be a sense of achievement.

Affordable: How do you make your outpatient/inpatient premiums and charges cheaper? Once you have met the objective of your programs, you will notice a significant decline in applying for medical leave to keep your organisation happy and productive all year long.

The most crucial aspect of creating a corporate wellness program is to conduct engagement surveys and ensure they are more consistent and frequent. Once you have completed an assessment, identify what areas need improvement.

For example, on the topic of reducing medical costs, you require data points to measure the medical utilisation rate. HealthMetrics provides insights on employee medical treatment reports and the associated bills for that treatment within an intuitive platform. 

Supposed, if multiple employees are diagnosed with the common flu, the next preventive measure would be to have a corporate-wide vaccination against the virus to prevent it from getting infected and strengthen the immune system.


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When you have a clear objective and an instrument of measurement for success, do not change the critical metrics once everything has been set in stone. Once you have started implementing your plan, measure the success of your project by monitoring key metrics annually.

You can view your employee health insurance claims data on an annual basis. This will help you to identify patterns and trends in employee medical treatment reports. You can easily find out if the implemented preventive measures are working.

1) The quality of care that your employees receive
2) The cost of providing care to your employees
3) The length of time that it takes for your employees to receive treatment
4) The number of claims that your employees submit
5) The amount of money that you spend on providing medical care

When implementing this program, it is essential to remember that it should ideally be run from a community-based perspective. This will show interdependence between participants, as they are doing things together. It is essential to know that not everyone has the same interests. 

However, you could have committees within your company made up of people with different interests who have an opportunity to meet each other and build social relationships. When employees feel alone and isolated, they can join together under one roof in one place to create a support group, which can help them take on different challenges and reach their goals.

HealthMetrics Wellness 360 Event

HealthMetrics Employee Wellness Event
What do actual experts think about holistic wellness?
At our past conference, Employee Wellness 360: Making Wellness achievable in the organisation, we had an exciting discussion with many panellists—including representatives from the financial, wellness, insurance, and healthcare fields—who spoke about the takes on holistic wellness.
Vishakan, The Relationship Manager Of Standard Chartered, said
From an economic perspective, holistic wellness programs will enable you to get a more engaged workforce. Your employees are more likely to participate and will serve customers better. Your customer satisfaction is based on how satisfied workers are, so I think that's why this industry has a lot of potential going forward. For a long time in Asian cultures where work is often done out of obligation rather than enjoyment—there have not been as many team-building efforts emphasised.
Coming from the CEO of Engagelife
The eight pillars of holistic health and wellness—mental well-being, spirituality, financial stability, emotional well-being, intellectual growth and development, social relationships, and environmental health—are the foundation upon which all other pillars rest. To make it easier for employees to achieve wellness and better performance at work, companies can help by providing a healthy environment for employees to live and work.

The Eight Pillars Of Wellness For A Successful Healthy Workforce

Coming from Dr Wan Farzihan Wan Adib of KPJ Ambulatory Care Centre
Healthcare workers have seen many employees develop cardiovascular diseases that can lead to cancer later in life. We are concerned about the high incidence of these diseases and believe that smoking is the primary cause. 

The Ministry of Health has taken a stand against smoking and will try to limit smoking among the younger generation. If you see your employees smoking or using e-cigarettes, encourage them to get counselling from your clinic or another private/public health facility. Another issue is the sedentary lifestyle that generally affects blue-collar office workers. 

To help them remain healthy, companies can provide employees access to gyms, walking paths and other resources, which builds loyalty to the businesses. Employees who use these facilities are less likely to be absent due to injury, less likely to be injured in the first place, and their injuries are less severe. 

It is, therefore, crucial to incorporate an active lifestyle and regular exercise into the daily routine. Well, many of our clients who have done the intervention program have seen a decrease in cardiovascular diseases, lowered blood pressure, and signs of high productivity and higher retention in the organisation.
The Importance of Corporate Health Screening
To learn the total healthcare and attrition cost employers will becover, read our free E-book.
How do we encourage employees' participation in a corporate wellness program?
To bridge the gap between employees' health and wellness, for example, the participation rate is relatively low when employees have access to getting themselves treated.  

However, if you were to add in leadership—for example, line managers and anyone from the c-suite role—the attendance rate would be increased. Another factor would be screening; however, to know your organisation's main challenges, you need to have measurable data—such as surveys—from the team. Once this data is gathered, you are essentially listening and fulfilling their needs by acting on their requests.

If nothing is based on the organisation's desire (i.e., your employees), they will likely not participate. New and current employees need to be well-informed about onboarding policies and procedures, which you can accomplish by marketing your corporate wellness program by having a video, posters, or even a live presentation during the onboarding session.

You must also ensure that all of your communication is clear-cut; this will set the tone for clear communication with employees throughout their tenure at your company. In addition to incentives, gamification of healthcare and wellness programs can help increase employee participation. 

For example, employees could be awarded a day off and given a spa voucher if they meet their health goals (such as Eat Right! And Watch Your Waistline! ). Employees would feel more engaged with the company if they were part of a community and also had an opportunity to recruit new members to the wellness program.
In conclusion, the workplace is a great place to promote healthy lifestyles and encourage employees to make healthier choices. It is essential to recognise that not all employees will be able to make changes at work, but there are many things you can do to help create a healthy environment.

It is imperative to find out what the key drivers are for the organisation and then use that to identify the critical drivers for the people. Once you know that, you can work out a well-crafted wellness program.
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