healthy employee, healthy business

November 28, 2016

Organizations with strong wellness programs had lower rates of obesity than “low-effectiveness” companies, and had lower unplanned absence rates (3.3 vs. 4.0 days/year).*

Today your wellness is not just your own personal issue; it is also a concern of your company. Parag Pande, Accenture India, showcases how designing effective and exhaustive wellness plans can help businesses achieve both short-term and long-term success.

 

What are the pillars of an effective and well-implemented wellness program?

All our wellness initiatives are centered on creating awareness and positive behaviors, assistive and timely care, preventive measures, and safety and security support. Employee health and wellness is a key area of focus at Accenture since it helps us build credibility with our people, clients, and communities.

 

The main pillars of our well-implemented wellness program would be:

  • improve awareness and provide appropriate info: Information is power. In the present scenario where there is a deluge of information, giving appropriate information at the correct time is even more paramount. Keeping this in mind, we have our health talks, awareness sessions, BLS(basic life support) training and camps across India.
  • simple and effective objectives: The focus is on both short-term and long-term goals. For short-term goals, we focus on building properly equipped wellness centers, ambulances on standby, being prepared for first aid stabilization and emergency evacuation. The long-term goal is on health wellness programs.
  • data-based approach: We have over 140,000 employees in India, of which at least 45,000-50,000 visit our 50+ wellness centers every month. The data is used to fine-tune our offerings to engage our employees on a daily basis.
  • automation and empowerment: We recently introduced a health risk assessment program, wherein  any employee can enter his or his family’s health data and understand their existing health score, along with recommendations. We also have tie-ups with diagnostic labs that offer significant discounts to our employees.

 

How should a company go about designing it?

The organization should be open to challenges and be ready to accept and improve upon the accrued learning in an honest manner. The wellness program should have elements of tactical, strategic, and operational aspects in built. Our wellness program is designed to ensure it is simple, evolving, engaging, and inclusive.

 

How has wellness programs evolved from being a mere annual doctor visit to more routine health changes?

The wellness program has evolved from being reactive to proactive and to some extent even predictive in some areas, for example, health risk assessment. While our corporate wellness plan has changed with time, our focus on basics has remained the same. For example, first aid and immediate stabilization with focus on immediate evacuation in case of emergencies will always remain the same. The role of technology has helped immensely in automation and data analytics, which is evolving by the day .

 

How do businesses benefit from promoting employee health?

Engaged employees create winning teams, as well as build the reputation and brand of the company. Workplace design can have a critical impact on an employee’s productivity, passion, and motivation and a measurable impact on his/her positive or negative attachment to their job, which profoundly influences their willingness to perform and push boundaries at work. A healthy work environment would eventually lead to increase in work efficiency and productivity of outputs by decreasing absenteeism, raising employee morale, and thereby creating a healthy and stress-free environment to work in.

 

Can you elaborate on Accenture’s wellness programs?

Our wellness program has been designed on the basis of the scale of our business operations and the regulatory landscape. Some of the programs are:

  • emergency response: We have wellness centers at all our locations which are manned 24/7 (depending on our facility operations) with an ambulance, a well-trained nurse, medicines, and life-saving emergency equipment to handle any emergency. The list of equipment at the wellness center include AED (portable easy to use defibrillator), and oxygen cylinders. The most important component of our programs is the tie-ups with super specialty hospitals. This ensures immediate start of treatment in case of an emergency, allowing administrative formalities to take a back seat. This component is available at all our facilities, and available to anyone in need of emergency care or basic first aid.
  • We also train our employees on the following emergency response:
  • basic life support training: Specialists conduct annual training sessions covering all aspects of first aid and immediate life support.
  • fire warden training: Employees are also trained on what they should do in case of a fire.
  • regular health talks: Health talks are monthly affairs, conducted virtually to ensure maximum benefit is given to the employees from the comfort of their desks. Based on medical trend analysis, topics are chosen and super specialists are called to give hour-long talks to employees, including Q&A sessions. This is being done to raise awareness on health risks.
  • employee assistance portal (EAP): A confidential hotline helps employees resolve all matters be it personal, professional, legal, or financial. The queries are handled by a group of experts who are certified clinical psychologists, financial advisers, and lawyers. This facility has witnessed a 300% rise in usage within a month. It also helps the leadership team understand the general pulse of the employees and the issues being faced.
  • People with Disabilities (PwD) friendly facilities: One of our prime focus areas is to make our facilities PwD friendly. This was achieved by working out a checklist with SMEs on how to help PwD employees move across our facilities with minimal to zero external support. Design criteria have been shared to ensure all new facilities are also compliant with maximum PwD points.

Parag-Pande