For companies, employee wellness programmes can no longer be optional
Anybody who is still living under a rock can refute this, but it’s high time employee wellness becomes a fixed variable in any company’s operations, no matter the industry and the nature of services. Enough has been said about the radical shifts during the pandemic about imbibing empathy and ensuring safety to employees be at the core of practices.
But often, we tend to judge the needs of the subject without understanding their fundamental requirements, just the difference between ‘presentation’ and ‘portrait’ as Gauri Spivak stated.
Diversity and inclusion
Diversity and inclusivity are two words that are thrown around with a lot of callousness. This essentially just translates to looking beyond a talent’s gender and gender identity, age, cultural and social background, and imbibing diversity of thinking in the organisational structure.
There was a huge hullabaloo of the hijab controversy seeping into workplaces too and not just schools. If the world was to be only inhabited by common beliefs, it wouldn’t be all that diverse. It’s high time we start practising the following at workplaces to make them more inclusive:
- Be cognisant of hiring a diverse workforce. Review your company policies to safeguard their rights instead of secluding them.
- Create a dialogue among the employees about alternative sexualities, religious practices, cultural expression and how not to make their colleagues uncomfortable.
- Educate, empower, and encourage people into being allies by equipping themselves with correct information.
- Be stricter against discrimination, bullying and what could be passed as “casual harassment”.
- Look beyond their gender, age, and sexual preferences, and do not step over their personal boundary.
Basically, don’t be inhuman and respect the talent each individual brings to the table.
Gate to communication
Evaluate your employees carefully. How often do they come up and speak to Human Resources about their concerns? If not that often, please be assured that something is wrong. There are no perfect workplaces; you must incorporate better practices along the way. Change starts small and it’s imperative that we listen.
There needs to be a counselling cell, and a grievance cell well-equipped to handle the queries and complaints without judgment and biases. Understand that defending the company will do you no good. After all, ‘people don’t leave work, they leave bad bosses’, so don’t be one.
Further, mental health policy, awareness and practices are the need of the hour, if it isn’t obvious after more than two years of the pandemic. We’re all dealing with PTSD (Post-traumatic stress disorder) and 18-hour workdays help no one. So please, invest in your people’s well-being so they can bring their A-game to work.
Safeguarding your people’s general health, giving them time off to recuperate and making provisions for them to follow all COVID-19 safety protocols is not a revolution, it’s our basic duty. But what this term also implies is, investing in their skill development and learning, and giving them a platform to grow.
Often at the time of hiring, companies promise training initiatives to their employees as a bait, which gets lost with heavy workload. Companies should want to expand, improve, and measure their progress in life-long learning and development opportunities.
Some organisational goals:
- Have employees complete a minimum number of training units per year.
- Continuously evaluate and refine catalogues of training units.
- Use the Learning Management System to provide across-the-board oversight and documentation of participation in mandatory training sessions.
- Employ global talent programmes in the targeted development of staff and for succession planning and to link this with local talent development programmes.
- Make staff development and advancement transparent. In doing so, we give particular attention to diversity.
The boomerang effect
The prodigal son may have returned home but boomerang employees must be earned by consistency. The Great Resignation wave was testimony to many companies who have witnessed the progress. The way I see it, boomerang employees are a win-win!
Not only is it beneficial for the company as they save time and effort but also for employees coming home—this time as a senior. It takes less time for the teams to induct them but it’s also easier for the employees to socialise since they are well accustomed to the company’s practices whilst also knowing themselves and their position better.
Further, having ex-employees back works like a charm for the employer’s image and credibility. It sends out the message that we are always here for worthy potential. A lot of employees who got caught in the ill-timing of the Great Resignation might have regretted quitting the old employer, but we must offer boomeranging to employees in good faith whilst also making space to address their old issues. Of course, if their talent matches your requirement.
All in all, it is a great boost and relief for the company and for the employees since it gives them an edge to get higher pay.
In a nutshell, we have to be more cognizant of the times and make provisions in the company with employee wellness at the core.
Edited by Saheli Sen Gupta
(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)