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Nurturing a better wellness programme

Amrita Nair Ghaswalla | Updated on March 10, 2018 Published on March 29, 2017

At work and at play: Employees at TVS Motor flex their mental muscles on a game of chess

At work and at play: Employees at Pegasystems - yoga takes out the kinks

From voluntary to mandatory, some companies are moving the needle to keep employees healthy



A large gym, yoga classes in the evening, low-calorie salads at the office canteen and a preventive health package are now becoming standard templates across India Inc’s workplaces. Yet attendance is more often than not thin at the gym, the salad is forsaken and the sedentary style of work continues.

How many workplaces really have a comprehensive programme that goes beyond tokenism when it comes to employee wellbeing?

The good news is that many corporates are now moving beyond the voluntary health offerings to the mandatory, and introducing holistic wellness programmes.

Take TVS Motor Company. As R AnandaKrishnan, Senior Vice-President, Human Resources and Information Technology, TVS Motor, says, “The fast blurring line between personal and professional lives makes it crucial for organisations to invest in their wellness initiatives and keep employees motivated.”

So how is TVS’ programme different?

Customised and consistent

For starters, TVS has invested in different offerings for different divisions. Explains AnandaKrishnan, “A one-size-fits-all approach is rarely a successful strategy in workplace health management as wellness requirements vary from one division to another.” So there are ophthalmological examinations for truck drivers, and special clinics for diabetes mellitus, hypertension and hyperlipidemia every month, mainly for drivers. For some employees preventive vaccinations are offered on a periodical basis, and international medical vaccination too.

Additionally, AnandaKrishnan says the company takes into account the working style of an individual on the shop floor and applies data analytics to map future risk, attrition as well as the health trend of its employees.

TVS also uses auto ergonomics to understand how workers use things. In the context of a car, ergonomics includes everything from the placement of a seat belt to how a person sits in a passenger seat – and one design does not work for all users. So using auto ergonomics, welfare schemes at TVS are changed for workers.

Toyoto Kirloskar too recognises the merits of a personalised approach. Sailesh Shetty, Vice-President, Human Resources, Toyota Kirloskar Motor, says “We have members across different life cycles and we need to have programmes to suit them.” Even the menu at the company canteen caters to different ages, “including a low calorie version as well as provisions for a highly nutritious diet. “Beyond that, we also strive to get a good work-life balance and are continuously trying to improve our productivity and reduce our working days,” he says.

It’s also important to be consistent, says Ananda Krishnan. “It may be tempting to introduce a novel and unique wellness initiative in these environments, but the organisations that are most successful are the ones which concentrate on consistent effort and engagement rather than introducing new initiatives at short intervals,” he says.

Toyota Kirloskar’s Shetty agrees. Practising wellness consistently could be a challenge, he says, but it is worth the effort. “Though everyone is aware of wellness benefits, following it on a daily basis still remains a concern, though the numbers are steadily improving.”

The holistic way

At Toyota Kirloskar Motor, which recently bagged the gold prize at the Healthy Workplace Awards by The Arogya World India Trust in association with Public Health Foundation of India, there are many levels to its workplace wellness programme.

The first level focusses on sports, the second level stresses on exercise and fitness, the third level identifies and prevents health risk factors, and the fourth level focuses on enhancement of health and productivity.

As Shetty says, “Our endeavour is to have a healthy workplace through healthy processes. We have initiatives that drive holistic wellness, such as a tailor-made Art of Living programme, as well as a 24x7 free counselling services known as ‘Aasare’ to provide emotional support to workers on personal and workplace issues.”

Shanthi Sundar, Senior Director and Head HR, Pegasystems, a software company, too champions the holistic approach. “Workplace wellness touches upon the physical, emotional, financial and spiritual wellness of employee,” she says.

Gamification pays dividends

Given that voluntary programmes rarely get buy-in from employees, companies are trying new approaches. Pegasystems has introduced an element of gamification.

For instance, one of the programmes it has launched is called PegaUp, where employees across the globe can virtually compete with each other on their fitness goals. It is tracked online with employees’ personal fitness devices, like Fitbits.

“Companies should adjust their workforce strategies and turn their attention to a culture of health that integrates all aspects of employees’ well-being,” sums up AnandaKrishnan.

By employing this strategic solution, he feels “organisations create an enviable employee experience and an unrivalled environment that attracts top talent.”

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Published on March 29, 2017
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