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By Adrian Seligman, Executive Board Member, Top Employers Institute
By Adrian Seligman, Executive Board Member, Top Employers Institute

Holistic Well-Being: The Challenges and Opportunities for Employers in APAC Regions

The well-being of employees has been a growing focus area for many employers globally. It was already a concern before the Covid-19 pandemic, which only further emphasised the significance of well-being within people strategies. The impact of employee well-being is seen across employee engagement and performance levels.

In the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region, our certified Top Employers have excelled in most areas of people strategy. However, in comparison to their global, they are behind in implementing employee well-being initiatives.

We identified this issue in our recent HR Best Practices Survey. The survey was covering all six of the domains in people strategy but as well-being is primarily the interest of the “engage” domain that is where our focus was concentrated. Our “engage” domain is inclusive of the core elements related to winning and maintaining the commitment of employees while holistically approaching well-being as one of the crucial drivers to getting higher engagement scores.

Present Well-Being Practices in APAC Regions

The importance of preventative well-being policies and practices for APAC regions was revealed in our recent surveys. Analysing this data made us aware of how our APAC Top Employers differ from their counterparts worldwide. The widest disparities were:

  • Active discouragement of email use outside of work hours: APAC 32% (vs ROW at 44%)
  • A responsibility on managers to encourage the use of vacation time: APAC 86% (vs ROW 93%)
  • A “Do not disturb” policy for employees on vacation: APAC 16% (vs ROW 33%)

These preventative measures only paint a section of the overall story as the best employees also need to have supportive measures for their employees when they are under stress. In this regard, our Top Employers survey found that only 26% of APAC employers (vs 39% ROW) had programmes to help employees cope with information overload. Additionally, only 36% of APAC companies have burn-out recovery support programmes compared to 51% in the rest of the world.

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Opportunities to Experiment

Some Top Employers in the region have taken bold moves to protect and support holistic approaches to well-being. Their experiments in improving their well-being for the future involves an approach that puts humans at the centre of their strategy. These experiments will help them in trying to win and retain the trust of their employees.

The willingness of senior managers to enthusiastically participate in well-being programmes shows that there are numerous opportunities for APAC Top Employers to meet and, even surpass, their global counterparts. We found that 85% of APAC senior managers actively participated in these programmes compared to the rest of the world, where only 79% of their managers were involved consistently.

Well-Being Best Practices Implemented by Global Top Employers

Some of our Top Employers have started creating and nurturing successful holistic well-being programmes, with many of them using technology to facilitate rapid progress. In the UK Kuehne & Nagel have set up a mobile app that supports employee well-being by allowing them a platform to assess their mental health and easily access support when needed. Allied Technology created a digital programme that enables its employees in Brazil to receive and give peer-to-peer recognition. And in China, Saint-Gobain has been using virtual meetings, group chats and surveys to encourage their employees to use flexible work hours.

The opportunity to facilitate rapid change is there. And as APAC HR leaders are challenged to integrate more holistic well-being initiatives, right now they can experiment and build on the gains they have begun making.

If you would like to learn more, Adrian Seligman, Chief Commercial Officer, and Ammara Naeem, Head of Client Success, at Top Employers Institute will present “Holistic Well-being: Presenting the challenges and opportunities for APAC's employers” at the HR Tech Festival Asia on Day 3 (23rd September 2.10pm).