Employee Well-Being: Going Beyond Mental Wellness

PAMELA SNG

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PAMELA SNG

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Employee well-being, especially mental wellness, has been the buzzword since the COVID-19 pandemic required employees to work from home. In response, many organizations in Singapore have enhanced their employee wellness benefits and implemented new initiatives and practices to include new online communication and listening platforms, regular check-ins with their teams, training for management to lead with empathy and look out for potential signs of mental health issues.  

As part of the recent panel discussion on Fostering Inclusive Workplaces that Support Mental Well-being and Work-Life Harmony at the ASEAN Future of Work Conference panel, Evelyn Kwek, Managing Director of Great Place to Work® ASEAN and ANZ, highlighted that focusing on mental wellness to the exclusion of other aspects of an employee’s overall well-being is not sustainable. Companies need to be mindful that people’s holistic experiences of well-being at work, including mental health, financial wellness, sense of purpose, social support, and meaningful connections contribute to their well-being in totality. Furthermore, when one or more aspects are not present, this can, and likely will, have a negative impact on their mental wellness as well.   

Many companies already have employee wellness pillars in place, and usually comprise their physical health and safety, financial wellness, mental health and emotional/social support. However, it is important to note that the concept of well-being in today’s context has evolved in scope and increasingly become a critical piece of employee experience at work. In an on-going research study on well-being, Great Place to Work®’s perspective is that an employee’s sense of purpose also contributes to their well-being—this refers to whether they feel that their work makes a difference and contributes to something “bigger”, and whether their job has special meaning, i.e. it’s not “just a job”. This determines their sense of pride in their job and adds or detracts from their overall satisfaction and even their perception of well-being.  

As such, companies today need to look at well-being holistically and not overlook the big picture by isolating and focusing on only one area, e.g. mental wellness. Here are some examples of how companies on Singapore’s Best Workplaces 2020 addressed their employees’ holistic well-being:

1. Physical health and safety

•  Amgen Singapore instituted a practice for each virtual meeting to start off with quick stretches, and stretch breaks for meetings lasting more than an hour. They also extended their support to employees’ families by delivering a series of six themed care packs containing essential hygiene products, healthy foods, and family-friendly items. 

•  PAP Community Foundation purchased 650 UV sterilizers to disinfect school supplies and toys. They also engaged 16 professional cleaning contractors to regularly disinfect all 360 Preschools, seven Senior Care centers and the headquarters. For staff who were stranded overseas, PCF revised their group hospitalization and surgical coverage, to remove geographical limitations in the event that they needed medical attention. 

2. Financial wellness

•  Micron pledged to have no layoffs for 90 days, and provided a one-time $500 reimbursement for team members to purchase whatever they needed to set up a home office. They also implemented a COVID-19 Assistance Payment scheme and invested in an employee-supported fund that provided grants of up to $5,000 to individual team members based on needs. To ensure employees’ wellness, COVID-19 safe packs and round-the-clock telemedicine services are provided to all team members and their dependents. 

•  DHL Express quickly committed to keeping all of its people employed, with no pay reduction. All employees received their annual salary increases and bonuses on time, despite worrying business performance. A one-time €300 bonus was also given to all employees globally, to help alleviate financial worries. 

3. Mental/psychological wellness

•  World Wide Technology recognized that remote work could lead to longer work days for employees without them realizing it. Employees were encouraged to build regular breaks into their day, take personal time off, leave their desks when they needed to re-charge, plan time to socialize with co-workers, and check in on one another. To alleviate stress, employees could block time out during the day to focus on their kids and not worry about work as they juggled home-schooling or childcare. 

•  Cisco offered flexible work practices, support for caregivers and generous leave options. They also expanded their Employee Assistance Program benefit to increase the number of free counseling sessions available to all employees and their immediate families. 

4. Emotional/social support

•  HP Inc. developed and maintained an HP Spirit calendar, with activities, webinars and resources built around a theme of the day to keep employees healthy, positive and productive. Employees connected from Motivation Monday—appreciating each other, expressing gratitude and practicing mindfulness—to Family and Fun Friday— including fun activities that families got to enjoy. 

•  foodpanda held a “Wellness Week” with a focus on self-care, including virtual group fitness and yoga classes, as well as talks about mental wellness and nutrition.  

•  Signify provided a series of webinars led by a trained psychologist, as well as an online yoga session, virtual team building and family activities. They also delivered surprise gifts to employees at home. 

5. Sense of purpose

•  DHL Express pivoted towards prioritizing the delivery of critical medical supplies. It worked with local government agencies and the Singapore Red Cross to package and deliver PPE supplies to frontline healthcare workers, and care packages to vulnerable groups, including migrant workers and the elderly.    

•  Medtronic worked with Temasek Foundation in Singapore to provide more than 330 ventilators regionally, and responded to urgent calls by donating more than USD$1.5 million in PPE supplies to hospitals across APAC. 

While the emphasis on caring for employees’ mental wellness was heightened due to the pandemic, companies today have come to realize the critical role it plays to attract, retain and sustain talent. Companies will do well to take a whole person approach in designing well-being policies, programs and practices, and take into account employees’ evolving needs and aspirations. How have Best Workplaces demonstrated care and creativity to support employee well-being? Learn more about this by downloading the report here. 

Look out for our upcoming research report on well-being in Singapore, which will be launched in the later part of the year. 

PAMELA SNG

Pamela is our Senior Consultant and Research Lead for Great Place to Work® ASEAN and ANZ. She has over two decades of consulting and policy experience helping organizations in their journey to become fair and progressive employers. She believes that every organization has the potential to be a great workplace, and works with data to distil insights and develop resources to help them. When she’s not burrowing down the rabbit hole of numbers and words, she’s probably immersed in a new K-drama or catching up with friends over a virtual drinks session.

Great Place To Work identifies Best Workplaces in Asia™ by surveying 2.1 million employees in Asia and the Middle East about the key factors that create great workplaces for all and analyzing company workplace programs impacting 5.9 million employees in the region.

To be considered, companies must first be identified as outstanding in their local region by appearing on one or more of our Best Workplaces lists in Bahrain, Greater China (including China, Hong Kong and Taiwan), India, Indonesia, Japan, Kuwait, Oman, Philippines, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, UAE, Vietnam during 2022 or early 2023.

Companies rank in three size categories: Small and Medium (10-499 employees); Large (500+); and Multinational. Multinational organizations are also assessed on their efforts to create great workplaces across multiple countries in the region. They must appear on at least two national lists in Asia and the Middle East and have at least 1,000 employees worldwide with at least 40% (or 5,000+) of those employees located outside the headquarters country.

Great Place To Work identifies Best Workplaces in Asia™ by surveying over 1 million employees in Asia and the Middle East about the key factors that create great workplaces for all and analyzing company workplace programs impacting over 4.7 million employees in the region.

To be considered, companies must first be identified as outstanding in their local region by appearing on one or more of our Best Workplaces lists in Greater China (including China, Hong Kong and Taiwan), India, Indonesia, Japan, Kuwait, Philippines, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, UAE, Vietnam during 2021 or early 2022.

Companies rank in three size categories: Small and Medium (10-499 employees); Large (500+); and Multinational. Multinational organizations are also assessed on their efforts to create great workplaces across multiple countries in the region. They must appear on at least two national lists in Asia and the Middle East and have at least 1,000 employees worldwide with at least 40% (or 5,000) of those employees located outside the headquarters country.

Great Place To Work® Best Workplaces™ in Singapore 2023 Evaluation Methodology

This year, Great Place To Work® Singapore is proud to launch our inaugural Singapore Best Workplaces™ in Healthcare & Biopharma List. This list recognizes exemplary companies in the healthcare & biopharma industry.

Recognized as a global hub for medical technology and research, Singapore has attracted top healthcare and biopharma talents and companies from around the world. It has become the center for essential healthcare services and innovations with its world-class research institutes, academic medical centers, and industry clusters.

In turn, the healthcare and biopharma sectors play a critical role in the country’s economic competitiveness, sustainability, and innovation. These industries have significantly helped in the overall improvement of public health and well-being of the people of Singapore and its neighboring countries.

The inaugural Singapore Best Workplaces in Healthcare and Biopharma List puts the spotlight on the organizations that are dedicated to providing employee satisfaction and engagement, and their commitment to excellence in the industry.

The companies in our Great Place To Work Certified™ community have the premier distinction that helps attract the best talent, build your employer brand, and secure a competitive advantage. To achieve this, they built a working environment that is purpose-driven and people-first. These companies have demonstrated that showing authentic care, prioritizing employee’s holistic well-being, and building a culture of trust go hand in hand with growth and success.

To determine the 2023 Singapore’s Best Workplaces in Healthcare and Biopharma, Great Place to Work®️ analyzed confidential survey feedback representing nearly 12,000 employees working in the tech industry in Singapore.Employees responded to over 60 survey questions describing the extent to which their organization creates a Great Place to Work For All™️. Eighty-five percent of the evaluation is based on what employees say about their experiences of trust and reaching their full human potential as part of their organization, no matter who they are or what they do. Great Place to Work analyzes these experiences relative to each organization’s size, workforce make up, and what’s typical relative to their peers in the industry.The remaining 15 percent of the rank is based on an assessment of all employees’ daily experiences of innovation, the company’s values, and the effectiveness of their leaders, to ensure they’re consistently experienced.To be considered, companies had to meet the Great Place to Work-Certified standard. To ensure survey results truly represent all employees, Great Place to Work requires that Trust Index©️ survey results are accurate to a 95% confidence level with a 5% margin of error or better. We review any anomalies in survey responses, news and financial performance to ensure there aren’t any extraordinary reasons to believe we couldn’t trust a company’s survey results. Companies with 10 to 99 people were considered for the small and medium category; companies with 100 employees or more were considered for the large category.

Great Place To Work® Best Workplaces™ in Singapore 2023 Evaluation Methodology

To determine the 2023 Singapore’s Best Workplaces in Technology, Great Place To Work®️ analyzed confidential survey feedback representing nearly 12,000 employees working in the tech industry in Singapore. Employees responded to over 60 survey questions describing the extent to which their organization creates a Great Place To Work For All™️. Eighty-five percent of the evaluation is based on what employees say about their experiences of trust and reaching their full human potential as part of their organization, no matter who they are or what they do. Great Place To Work analyzes these experiences relative to each organization’s size, workforce make up, and what’s typical relative to their peers in the industry. The remaining 15 percent of the rank is based on an assessment of all employees’ daily experiences of innovation, the company’s values, and the effectiveness of their leaders, to ensure they’re consistently experienced. To be considered, companies had to meet the Great Place To Work-Certified standard. To ensure survey results truly represent all employees, Great Place To Work requires that Trust Index©️ survey results are accurate to a 95% confidence level with a 5% margin of error or better. We review any anomalies in survey responses, news and financial performance to ensure there aren’t any extraordinary reasons to believe we couldn’t trust a company’s survey results. Companies with 10 to 99 people were considered for the small and medium category; companies with 100 employees or more were considered for the large category.

Methodology

This year, Great Place To Work™ Singapore is proud to launch our inaugural Singapore Best Workplaces in Technology List. This List recognizes exemplary companies in the information and communication technologies industry in four categories:

  • Micro category (10–29 employees)
  • Small (30-99 employees)
  • Medium (100-999 employees)
  • Large (> 1000 employees)

With Singapore’s ambition to be recognized as a regional technology hub, the influx of technology firms (around 80 of the world’s top 100 technology firms have a presence here) and global rankings that place us a leading technology hub outside of San Francisco, the establishment of a Singapore Best Workplaces List in Technology is indeed a timely and needed one. Technology firms in Singapore are characterized by hyper-growth and ambitious expansion plans. This means a continuous war for talent in a highly competitive and rapidly evolving industry.

To maintain our lead as a technology and innovation hub, the ability to attract, retain and sustain skilled talent is critical. We are proud that companies in our Great Place To Work®-Certified community List have built a high-trust culture, engaged employees and maximized their potential to facilitate innovation. They are purpose-driven and adopt a people-first mindset. These are companies that have shown that authentic care and employee well-being need not be compromised for ambitious growth, and that it is possible for businesses to scale up quickly and responsibly. Their culture and core values are embodied in every individual—from senior leadership to rank-and-file employees—and differentiate them from their competitors, priming them to be powerful magnets for top talent.

To determine the 2022 Singapore’s Best Workplaces in Technology, Great Place To Work®️ analyzed confidential survey feedback representing nearly 12,000 employees working in the tech industry in Singapore.Employees responded to over 60 survey questions describing the extent to which their organization creates a Great Place To Work For All™️. Eighty-five percent of the evaluation is based on what employees say about their experiences of trust and reaching their full human potential as part of their organization, no matter who they are or what they do. Great Place To Work analyzes these experiences relative to each organization’s size, workforce make up, and what’s typical relative to their peers in the industry.The remaining 15 percent of the rank is based on an assessment of all employees’ daily experiences of innovation, the company’s values, and the effectiveness of their leaders, to ensure they’re consistently experienced. To be considered, companies had to meet the Great Place To Work-Certified standard. To ensure survey results truly represent all employees, Great Place To Work requires that Trust Index©️ survey results are accurate to a 95% confidence level with a 5% margin of error or better. We review any anomalies in survey responses, news and financial performance to ensure there aren’t any extraordinary reasons to believe we couldn’t trust a company’s survey results. Companies with 10 to 99 people were considered for the small and medium category; companies with 100 employees or more were considered for the large category

 

Methodology

To determine the 2022 Singapore’s Best Workplaces™️, Great Place To Work®️ analyzed confidential survey feedback representing close to 70,000 employees across different industries in Singapore. Employees responded to over 60 survey questions describing the extent to which their organization creates a Great Place to Work For All™️. 85% of the evaluation is based on what employees say about their experiences of trust and reaching their full human potential as part of their organization, no matter who they are or what they do.

Great Place To Work analyzes these experiences relative to each organization’s size, workforce make up, and what’s typical in their industry. The remaining 15% of the rank is based on an assessment of all employees’ daily experiences of innovation, the company’s values, and the effectiveness of their leaders, to ensure they’re consistently experienced. To be considered, companies had to meet the Great Place To Work Certified standard. To ensure survey results truly represent all employees, Great Place To Work requires that Trust Index©️ survey results are accurate to a 95% confidence level with a 5% margin of error or better. We review any anomalies in survey responses, news and financial performance to ensure there aren’t any extraordinary reasons to believe we couldn’t trust a company’s survey results.

Companies with 10-29 people were considered for the Micro category; those with 30 to 99 people for the Small category; companies with 100 to 999 employees were considered for the Medium category; and those with 1,000 or more for the Large category.

Great Place To Work® Best Workplaces™ in Singapore 2023 Evaluation Methodology

To determine the 2023 Singapore’s Best Workplaces in Technology, Great Place To Work®️ analyzed confidential survey feedback representing nearly 12,000 employees working in the tech industry in Singapore. Employees responded to over 60 survey questions describing the extent to which their organization creates a Great Place To Work For All™️. Eighty-five percent of the evaluation is based on what employees say about their experiences of trust and reaching their full human potential as part of their organization, no matter who they are or what they do. Great Place To Work analyzes these experiences relative to each organization’s size, workforce make up, and what’s typical relative to their peers in the industry. The remaining 15 percent of the rank is based on an assessment of all employees’ daily experiences of innovation, the company’s values, and the effectiveness of their leaders, to ensure they’re consistently experienced. To be considered, companies had to meet the Great Place To Work-Certified standard. To ensure survey results truly represent all employees, Great Place To Work requires that Trust Index©️ survey results are accurate to a 95% confidence level with a 5% margin of error or better. We review any anomalies in survey responses, news and financial performance to ensure there aren’t any extraordinary reasons to believe we couldn’t trust a company’s survey results. Companies with 10 to 99 people were considered for the small and medium category; companies with 100 employees or more were considered for the large category