THRIVEx Week 5 Highlights: The Brave New World of HR, Wellbeing & Workplace Culture
June 30, 2020 / THRIVEx
Over the last five weeks, more than 2,000 people tuned in to THRIVEx to hear from dozens of industry experts and thought leaders as we look towards the future of COVID-19. We appreciate all who joined us every Tuesday in June for this enriching experience—from our attendees to our wonderful emcee Mark Jeffries to our fantastic keynote speakers, Dr. David L. Katz, Dr. Matthew Walker, Dr. Laurie Santos, Dr. Marty Makary and Josh Bersin. As we reflect on the keynote sessions and expert panels, who covered topics like nutrition, workplace safety, digital therapeutics, sleep, physical activity, managing chronic conditions, happiness, mental health, resilience, creating a strong company culture and more, we can’t help but notice one common thread that ties them all together—employee wellbeing.
We know that health & wellbeing have always been important but now it’s literally a matter of life and death, and with that comes a significant responsibility to get it right. – Mary Marzec, Virgin Pulse, Senior Strategy Health Scientist
Our final week of THRIVEx examined the vital role organizations will play in our ability to survive and thrive in a post-pandemic world. We heard from renowned global industry analyst Josh Bersin on the increasing role of wellbeing in the forward success of your organization through COVID-19 and beyond. Our consultant roundtable discussed the importance of digital health, condition management and the impact the novel coronavirus has had on the workplace and our approach to healthcare. We also looked at the data behind strong company cultures and heard some inspiring strategies from three organizations who found ways to keep employee engagement high throughout the current crisis.
Why Wellbeing Needs a ‘Seat at the Table’
Wellbeing and employee safety and fitness and resilience are becoming the core of the economy in every single business strategy. – Josh Bersin
All industries have been met with major changes in their day-to-day operations over the last few months, with HR personnel working diligently in the background to face these challenges head-on while keeping their colleagues engaged and healthy, whether on-site or remote. From strategizing workplace safety guidelines to shifting to a virtual employee experience to addressing the overwhelming issues employees are dealing with, the undertaking hasn’t been easy. In fact, Josh Bersin would argue that “HR has taken on a heroic role in the pandemic response” as they’re tasked with:
- Providing resources for the top issues on employees’ minds:
- financial security
- health and wellbeing
- productivity and work
- Remaining open and honest in this time of uncertainty
- Giving employees a voice and adjusting workplace strategies to meet their needs
- Strengthening the HR team as roles are redefined
- Making sure employee wellbeing is at the core of the return-to-workplace strategy to keep the workforce healthy, engaged and resilient
Making Healthy Habits Easy, Every Day
Organizations are going to start thinking more about managing diseases and helping connect people with resources and also creating a work environment, whether it’s remote or in an office, that’s really helping people to make healthy choices throughout the day. – Robin Bouvier, Aon
While 87% of all responders in the annual Business of Healthy Employees 2019 survey reported that their organization offered a wellbeing program, the stress of COVID-19 has accelerated the growth of digital health and placed greater emphasis on the responsibility of the workplace to assist employees in maintaining personal health.
As we learn more through our experience with COVID-19, the relationship between preexisting conditions and complications with coronavirus has become more apparent. Data from the CDC suggests that 90% of people who were hospitalized due to COVID either had obesity, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure or chronic lung disease. Now more than ever, there is a need for employers to help their workforce delay or prevent the onset of such chronic conditions through dynamic and robust workplace wellbeing initiatives. Wellbeing has evolved from being a benefits perk to a safety requisite.
Making Wellbeing Front and Center in Your Organizational Culture
Though it may be difficult to measure the true impact of a positive, wellbeing-driven workplace culture, it is not impossible. The Virgin Pulse research and insights time investigated the data and found that a supportive organizational culture was more successful in keeping employees engaged, productive, and healthier overall. Learning how to lean into technology to drive participation in your wellbeing efforts and to measure the effectiveness is key to achieving long-term, investment-driven results like reduced healthcare costs, improved job performance and resilience.
But building a culture of wellbeing is not a one-size-fits-all solution—it’s important to think about what is realistic and relevant for your organization when designing your program. COVID-19 has also demonstrated that being adaptable is also crucial to the success not only of your wellbeing efforts but also of your organization at large. We heard how three organizations in the finance and healthcare fields quickly pivoted their wellbeing strategy in the face of the pandemic by increasing key offerings, shifting to virtual events and resources and creating more social opportunities through healthy habit challenges, to name a few.
As we wrap up this month-long journey, we’d like to leave you with a few resources to help your organization prioritize the health, wellbeing and, most importantly, safety of your workforce.
- VP Passport
- VP GO Fast Forward
- The Return-to-Workplace Toolkit
- Expert Q&A: Reopening Your Workplace Safely During COVID-19
- THRIVEx replays
While we hope to bring Thrive Summit to you in-person in 2021, we were thrilled to have you join us for this virtual experience. You can access the replays on our THRIVEx website at any time. Pease feel free to share with your colleagues, and keep thriving!