It is the responsibility of any organization to implement processes that prevent work-related injuries, incidents, and diseases. But according to the World Health Organization (WHO) our health is about more than just the absence of disease or infirmity.
“Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing.” – WHO
So, stop and think for a moment about how often – and in what ways – your organization positively supports the mental or social wellbeing of its employees. All three need to be taken care of if people are going to remain happy, engaged, and productive at work.
The COVID-19 pandemic has certainly helped shift our understanding of the impacts of mental wellbeing, but there’s always more to do, and it’s increasingly being recognized that the social aspects of employees are just as important.
To see what best practice might look like, we spoke to five of our Endorsed Employers to hear what initiatives they have implemented.
Support National and International awareness days
World Mental Health Day, World Health Day, International Day of Happiness, there’s an exhaustive list of special days on the calendar that help support physical, mental and social wellbeing. And while it isn’t necessary to celebrate all of them, they provide an opportunity for leaders and employees alike to talk about their work and what more needs to be done to make better wellbeing a reality for people worldwide.
This is something that Downer have long understood and why they have multiple annual employee-focussed campaigns embedded within their culture.
- For physical health they provide employees with a home health planner.
- For mental wellbeing they celebrate R U OK day.
- And for social inclusion they celebrate NAIDOC week, International Women’s Day and Wear it Purple day.
Parenting & family support
Paid parental leave has been identified for its strong potential to improve health outcomes for both children and parents and to reduce economic and gendered inequality. But there are initiatives beyond parental leave that can help the wellbeing of parents and families.
J.P. Morgan offers many initiatives to help the wellbeing of parents and families including coaching and assistance services for everything from managing health during pregnancy, breastfeeding and infant sleep, to talking to children about current affairs and eating disorders, and subsidized childcare services.
Reward Gateway and Vaultex both also recognize that there may be times when employees need to support sick or ill family members and at these times, it may be difficult to combine work and caring responsibilities. For this reason, they both have their own family/compassionate leave benefits. At Vaultex, their time off for dependents policy offers up to five days paid emergency leave a year. While all employees at Reward Gateway are eligible and able to take up to three months leave during a 12-month period to provide support to a family member or partner if they have a long-term illness.
Want to learn more about supporting parents?
Read about these 12 Endorsed Employers with policies supporting parents at work.
Financial health support
The logistics and ongoing management of day-to-day expenses, monthly and annual bills, and building responsible saving practices impacts the financial health of employees as well as their overall sense of wellbeing too. Financial worries not only keep employees up at night, but the emotional impact can spill over into the workplace, too.
This is why financial health support is an area of employee wellness that can’t be ignored. Spirit Energy understands this and offers their employees access to a personal finance solution which provides information and tips on setting goals, budgeting, saving and avoiding scams. It also provides “nudges” through text, email or WhatsApp when there’s an update, or a financial action their employees should know to take to keep on top of their financial wellbeing.
J.P. Morgan partners with industry experts to provide financial educational seminars pre and post parental leave to help their employees plan for their future family and make the most of accessible benefits.
While the connection between mental and physical health and the importance of a healthy lifestyle are well documented, it can be difficult for people to maintain proactive healthy lifestyles within their work routines. Which is where company initiatives like those at Downer, J.P. Morgan, and Spirit Energy come in.
Downer has a permanent Group Health Function (within the Zero Harm team) to ensure best practice health and wellbeing initiatives and strategies are provided to all employees. This Group Health Function provides non-work-related employee support including in-house training, health promotion resources, and intranet materials.
To support physical health, Spirit Energy offers their employees access to a health monitoring service which includes a self-administered pin prick blood sample option. This provides individuals with an extensive report into a number of health data points, such as Cholesterol, Bone Health, Kidney and Liver Health. This report allows individuals to detect early risk warnings and signs and enables early intervention to help manage health. The service also includes nutritional coaching sessions, medical second opinions and mental health coaching sessions all of which are available to employees’ immediate families also.
The Occupational Health team at J.P. Morgan works closely with line managers, HR and the Wellbeing team to promote and maintain the physical and mental wellbeing of their employees. Face-to-face or virtual consultations are available for those who are looking to return to the office after extended periods of illness or supporting employees to stay in the office with ongoing conditions.
In relation specifically to women’s health, menopause has become an emerging arena for employers to offer support to their employees.
Spirit Energy encourages both men and women to ‘yammer’ on the topic, to remove stigma and spark conversation. They also have a menopause ‘playlist’ as part of their online learning tool which includes articles for both women going through menopause, as well as guides for line mangers.
Vaultex and Reward Gateway both have resource libraries available to raise awareness and share information around menopause in the workplace, both offer counselling services, and both have reasonable adjustments available to support their employees.
But wait… there’s more!
The truth is when we reached out to our Endorsed Employers, we received such an astounding array of physical, mental and social wellbeing initiatives, we needed the space to deep dive into a few specific initiatives.
So, if you’re interested in reading about more initiatives, make sure to check out these articles as well: