Mental wellness a silent but potent staff benefit

Thursday, June 8th, 2023 11:00 | By
Mental health illnesses. Photo used for representational purposes.
Mental health illnesses. Photo used for representational purposes. Photo/Courtesy

With the onset of Covid-19 pandemic, employers globally have had to adjust their HR policies to ensure organisations meet their bottom line while still safeguarding the well-being of their teams.

The most observed trend has been working from home and increased team collaboration through virtual platforms like Teams, Zoom and Google Meet.

Notably, the uncertainty brought about by the global pandemic impacted many employers and employees in equal measure, with some of the temporary initiatives put in place becoming culture and policy to date.

What is clear is that during the Covid-19 period, many employees made decisions about what they wanted to achieve in their careers and what type of employers they wanted to work with, posing an exciting challenge for HR practitioners as they have had to maneuver and manage different employee expectations.

This includes new Gen Z staff who entered the employment scene when working from home was the order of the day and they are now struggling to cope with full-time office work. We also have another set of employees who were used to physical interaction and are finding it a challenge to work at home, isolated and with minimal human contact.

Despite the various employee and employer expectations, one thing that has stood out is - physical and mental wellness is a silent but very powerful staff benefit that has been proven to increase staff happiness index, boost morale and in turn enhance productivity.

As a HR practitioner, I have witnessed the impact of robust health and wellness programmes on teams and overall organisational performance.

This is in the form of the provision of extensive staff medical covers, gym membership and access to resources on mental health and general well-being among others.

Research has shown that happy employees are smarter workers, they are more creative and they provide better customer service to an organisation’s client base. Happiness is also infectious meaning that this can be transferred within teams and eventually in an entire organisation.

For instance, Father’s Day is coming up in a few weeks, have you or your organisation identified ways of celebrating your staff and engaging them in thought-provoking conversations that will allow them to grow, become better at what they do or even change key aspects of their lives to positively impact their loved ones and their output at work?

If this is in your pipeline, rally your teams and get their buy-in on what they hope to see or experience. We need to remember that for employee wellness programmes to work, we need social support and collaboration to provide encouragement and to foster healthy competition for positive behaviours and culture that we are glad to uphold as institutions.

At Kingdom Bank, we have a growing staff force of just above 400 team members, and we are quickly realising the power of employee wellness programmes in our overall success.

Bank is enhancing its staff wellness programme to foster positive mental well-being, a healthy lifestyle that encourages regular health screening, exercise and healthy eating and above all enhance our happiness index year after year.

— The writer is the Head of Human Resource at Kingdom Bank and a certified organisation coach

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