Wellbeing Can Be A Strong Differentiator For Any Organisation: Lipika Verma, Schneider Electric

‘Changing Workforce Dynamics’ is a critical concern across startups in India. As more millennials join the ecosystem, understanding and deciphering this new age workforce becomes not only critical but also imperative. Millennials think and work differently. Their value set is different and tying them into the organization is definitely a challenge faced by most startups. Most millennials are driven by purpose and value, a balanced professional & personal life. Without a doubt, when evaluating an organization to work for, millennials look for the ‘Wellbeing Quotient’ in an organization. But what exactly is ‘Wellbeing’ in an organizational context?

The common interpretation of ‘Wellbeing’ in an organization is the health and wellness of employees. But we all know that it is the need of the hour, to approach wellbeing holistically and extend its scope across the Physical, Mental, Emotional, and Social spheres. Wellbeing is defined as ‘The state of being happy, healthy, or prosperous ‘. In an organizational context, wellbeing translates into happy, healthy, and satisfied employees. The way it is approached can turn out to be a strong differentiator for any organization. However, the tricky part is to instill wellbeing in the DNA of an organization.

Culturro’s team was in conversation with Lipika Verma, Director Rewards – India & Pacific at Schneider Electric, an organization recognized as an employer of choice, in addition, to be recognized as an employer with the Best Health & Wellness Initiatives. Schneider very simply defines Wellbeing as “Being Healthy, Happy and make the most of your energy at work and at home.”

Lipika is a huge proponent of wellbeing and says, “We strongly believe that Wellbeing creates performance and performance creates Wellbeing. This in turn ensures engaged and positive employees, and these work together to lead to the overall business growth of an organization. Our wellbeing program acknowledges this and firmly places our people at the heart of our business.” This philosophy is further supported by the below 5 pillars which are based on a solid foundation

1.    Health & Wellness – The objective is to facilitate an environment in the office and at home that invites and inspires healthy behaviors, healthy lifestyles, and wellbeing

2.    Flexibility at Work – To enable work in flexible ways to adapt more to individuals’ needs, for better work-life integration and efficiency @work

3.    Workplace Environment – To improve employee experience at work which include safety, security, services, social events to connect & collaborate

4.    Leaders – To make leaders role models and the primary drivers of well-being for their teams by inspiring, caring, supporting, and investing in people’s core needs

5.    Organization Culture – ensuring building an organizational culture that really cares about the wellbeing of its employees, a culture of appreciation, a culture where employees feel proud to work at Schneider and give their best at all times and see Schneider as an org that cares about their well-being, about the planet and the society

Schneider has moved from just focusing on Health interventions to a more holistic approach to Wellbeing. It is important to understand the employee challenges at the grass-root level and also take into consideration the different needs of gen X, Y, and Z. At Schneider, they ensure all the initiatives cater to holistic Wellbeing and are not just constrained to a surface level. Thus going deep into the organization and forming part of the culture. This thereby works for the different needs and pockets of the organization which is so vast and multi-dimensional.

Employees, through a 100-day crowdsourcing campaign, co-created the Wellbeing offers at Schneider. This led to empowerment and ownership at each level. The offers are well balanced between, Social, Mental, Emotional, and Physical Well-Being. The breakthrough approach of involving employees along with leaders enhanced the shift in organizational culture.

The best way to implement wellbeing programs in any organization is to build a strong community and create a network of champions to ensure that the WB initiatives are further cascaded and implemented at all levels of the organization. This also leaves enough room for customization according to the location/cultural needs. This is augmented by an animation system that has communities, webinars, etc. bringing the message and clarity to the larger employee base.

To drive engagement and empowerment, employees through a bottoms-up approach are creating a wave of cultural change in the organization by coming together and experimenting with actions that enhance their wellbeing. Lipika also adds, “If you want your wellbeing initiatives to be successful they should be driven by employees. In fact, HR should just be the mediator and employees should feel empowered to create a strong community feeling in the organization.”

However, instilling wellbeing in the DNA of an organization is a daunting task. The most common challenge is aligning leaders to the cause. Lipika advises, “It is very important that leaders walk the talk. So, if you want wellbeing to become an important part of your organization, leaders have to be on board and need to embody it in every aspect”.  A good way to achieve this is to make leaders accountable for wellbeing through WB training and awareness sessions. Manager sensitization workshops for wellbeing and evaluating leaders through wellbeing KPA are just some ways to achieve this.

The impact of wellbeing is multi-fold and can have a direct bearing on reducing attrition in any organization. The right intent and contribution by everyone in an organization and at all levels can make it a strong differentiator.

This article was first posted on the BW Businessworld platform on October 13, 2017, as part of Workplace Experience Ranking 2017 knowledge series

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