Placing employee wellness at the heart of organizational culture

How to learn the subtle art of achieving business excellence and growth

BRAND CONNECT
Published: Feb 4, 2020 11:32:18 AM IST
Updated: Feb 4, 2020 12:32:53 PM IST

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For India’s young workforce, a Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous (VUCA) world has been a defining component for most, or even all of their careers. Agile business environments, faster work cycles, and dynamic global contexts have shaped their approach to work, and we see professionals pushing themselves harder than ever to achieve expertise and security in their chosen field.

Not surprisingly, the clear segmented concept of work-life balance is disappearing, and we see significant increase in stress levels and health issues amongst professionals. Several recent studies report that majority Indian professionals rate their work-life balance as terrible, with a resulting spike in stress related physical and mental illnesses. According to India Fit Report 2019 by GOQii, Cholesterol related issues have risen by 135% amongst people under 45 years of age, while blood pressure issues have gone up by 90% in the same age group. Alarmingly, depression and anxiety related disorders are on the rise, and over 40% of private sector employees in India are reported to be affected.

Given this situation, there is growing mindfulness towards physical and mental wellness at workplaces, but Indian businesses are still lagging behind. It’s important to recognize employee wellness as a critical enabler of business excellence and growth. Embedding wellness in an organic and flexible way into the work culture, instead of making it a personal target, can bring real change and re-energise our workplaces.

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Walk the Talk

Companies may preach about good health or fit minds and bodies, but employees can be truly motivated only when their leaders model this behaviour. At GoDaddy India, we believe that developing personal fitness can help in developing agility and focus at work too. Our team is committed to being the fittest, best version of themselves at work, to be able to add value to every small aspect of the business. We use sporting events and personalities as a platform for both internal employee and CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) campaigns, as well as for customer facing brand campaigns to inspire people to make health and fitness a core part of their personal and professional journeys.

Participating together in marathons every year has now become a ritual at GoDaddy India, and we often use our runs to support various social causes under our philanthropic arm, GoDaddy Cares. Our sponsorships of marquee sporting events have also helped raise awareness of making health and fitness an integral part of our company’s core values. As part of our association with ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2019, we created special cricketing zones within our India offices for our employees to engage in fun and games; and hosted an in-office engagement with the World Cup Trophy, giving employees an opportunity to take pictures with the World Cup and share their joy with friends and family.

The Wellness to Business Connect

Employee wellness has to go beyond being a human resources initiative to becoming a strategic objective for the business. The pursuit of a sport or fitness regimen is a great way for us to learn focus, resilience and the ability to constantly push ourselves to improve outcomes in a steady manner. These qualities soon translate to work, becoming a framework for our professional excellence as well.

At GoDaddy India, we have sponsored challenges that links an employee’s wellbeing and engagement levels with the business – thus incentivising them to take time for their own wellness. We have also created platforms to engage with and recognise employees who have made progress in their journeys. The results have been great, with our teams surpassing all previous program goals and elevating the company’s culture of wellness significantly.

Wellness strategies should also include focus on social relationships within the workplace to foster holistic wellbeing. Building positive professional relationships, creating a sense of belonging, along with motivation and recognition are equally important. For instance, in our previous blog, we talked about how our brand ambassador MS Dhoni’s visit to our customer care centre in Hyderabad, talking to over 500 GoDaddy India employees about the importance of self-awareness and confidence in one’s skills at the workplace, generated an immense amount of positivity and passion in the teams.

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Workaday Wellness

The last mile, of course, is about how we can deliver employees access to mental and physical fitness within the workplace. Our offices have several chair-free desks, and we have designated Fit Hour within working hours for all our teams, along with access to healthy snacks, yoga classes and guest lectures from life coaches. Our 1000-strong customer service team has its own Sports Day – all in a bid to make physical fitness an organic part of workdays at GoDaddy India.

We’ve also found CSR activities to be a great way for employees to give back to society and build meaningful social relations. We see tremendous response from the team for our community development initiatives, be it conducting digital literacy drives for women entrepreneurs and school children in small towns; undertaking cleanliness and literacy drives for government schools; or supporting social entrepreneurship journeys of our customers.

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Conclusion

Achieving a fully embedded culture of wellness can take years, but there are several ways to start small. With even the government realising the need for Indians to start taking fitness seriously, we need to seriously think about systemic change in how we can deliver health and wellness as achievable goals to our workforce.

The author is Nikhil Arora, Vice President and Managing Director, GoDaddy India

Disclaimer: The pages slugged ‘Brand Connect’ are equivalent to advertisements and are not written and produced by Forbes India journalists.

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