READ the November 2021 issue of our magazine: Well-Being By Design
The new reality of the world of work has brought forth an acute awareness of health and well-being, calling on corporations to devise innovative ways to integrate employee well-being into the flow of work to help their staff perform optimally. There is a clear opportunity for companies to leverage workplace design to nurture holistic well-being for people at work. So what can organizations do to incorporate well-being by design to reimagine work holistically?
We spoke to Jennifer Di, HR Director, Southeast Asia and & APAC Corporate Functions (Baxter International) on the focus areas when it comes to the well-being of employees at Baxter.
Here are a few excerpts from the conversation.
Making well-being part of the company culture
Millions of people globally have had to make an unprecedented shift in work post Covid and are struggling to maintain healthy boundaries between work and life, leading to well-being issues. It is an important area as employees whose well-being is at stake while take more leaves, suffer a dip in productivity or also seek out other jobs. Baxter looks at solutions from three different angles- organisational, leadership and employees.
From an organizational angle, we believe in making well-being part of our company culture. For this, we actively engage with employees, expressing care and concern for their safety and well-being. We also encourage employees to keep their well-being at the top of their minds by integrating it in regular check-ins. We listen to our people through coffee chats, focused group discussions and one-on-ones. In addition, we provide tools and resources like EAP and free counselling to employees and their family members. Last year, Baxter also provided its employees free subscription to Headspace in this direction. We also host monthly well-being days and no-meeting Fridays to help them manage Zoom fatigue.
More so, when we talk to our people, the key message is that well-being is not about physical well-being alone. It’s a holistic concept including mental, social, and financial well-being. We empower them to build resilience.
Also, we believe that how employees feel about their jobs is largely on the manager’s shoulders. So we empower them to communicate effectively and remove communication barriers as well as foster positive employee experiences that address stressors at work.
Improving the future of the workplace in an endemic world
To understand this, we first need to question what the future workplace will mean to people, how they envision it, and what do they expect from it.
To me, well-being and flexibility are two important elements of the future workplace. While the future remains uncertain, we need to reimagine the future workplace to figure out what it might look like.
Last week Baxter Global announced a new practice called BaxFlex, a global path for returning to the worksite, where we maintain our workplace flexibility philosophy while also realizing the benefits of connecting in-person on-site.
In this regard, we have a global hybrid playbook as well as Southeast Asia hybrid playbook for our people managers to guide their teams to stay connected, motivated, recognized, and build the right mindset. We want to enable a mindset where managers are less focused on work locations. So the when and what of work is more important than where the work is done. So flexibility and well-being will define the new era of the workplace and beyond.
Empowering upskilling and reskilling the workforce is part of well-being
As the world progresses, there will be so many new challenges that will surface. The pandemic was just one of them. You never know when another pandemic will hit. But what it has done is equip us for the unforeseen by accelerating digital for organisations globally. So as individuals, we need to know how to refresh and upskill ourselves in order to thrive and not only survive in the future. Only with upskilling and reskilling, we will be able to move forward and achieve the company purpose.
A recent McKinsey report states that upskilling and reskilling has emerged as the need of the hour in the region with 78% leaders saying capability building is very important across the board. Hence continuing to build future skills is very important. In order to build that, at Baxter, we first try to identify the skills that the new business model depends on. For instance, skills such as design thinking, cognitive skills like critical thinking, problem solving, social and emotional skills, adaptability and resilience are some of the critical skills we are aiming to help our people upskill in.
How HR and Tech can come together to better support the workforce holistically
Covid has accelerated the remote working model, presenting diverse concerns and challenges to our day to day work. For HR also, supporting the workforce timely and efficiently became a challenge. In the past, if people had any query, they could simply walk to the HR’s desk for answers. But now getting quick support from HR is a concern. So our team took this challenge as an opportunity and designed a digital tool or a HR chatbot called Baxbot to increase our HR operational excellence and enhance employee experience. We came out with the first version last November and this year we launched a second version of it enabled in multi-languages.
In addition, we also leverage MS Teams platform for 24*7 access and availability for our workforce. This is how we are leveraging technology to differentiate HR, enable better employee experiences and further our mission of save and sustain lives.
Well-being of employees requires leadership and organizational alignment
Well-being is a growing concern that leaders need to take seriously. So the most important message that I would like to give is leaders need to take it seriously. And to better prepare our people and build a better culture that ensures their well-being really requires leadership and organizational alignment.
Leaders need to take up the responsibility of providing an open, supportive and empathetic work environment. Because only in such an environment, can employees thrive.