How to Nurture Employee Health and Wellbeing?
Health is crucial. That's an axiom of nature and culture. But our physical and mental state is often neglected, practically cast aside in pursuit of our professional ambitions.
Ironically, this pandemic provided us with a profound reminder that we need to prioritise health. Because if we put our health in danger, we are quickly faced with the truth that suddenly, all our work loses its purpose.
Here at the EXA, we understand how important a healthy workforce is. That's why one of our categories is Employee Health and Wellbeing. We're thrilled to admit that a significant number of organisations applied for this category with top-notch initiatives last year. One of the initiatives, that PwC submitted, really caught our eye.
PwC's "Project Me"
About a third of the Deals department at PwC's UK staff was in their first 1-5 years (the Early Years). Data gathered from internal research conducted in 2019 showed that those employees faced high risks of burnout. Their transition from Uni to work, the tension in meeting deadlines, missing experience, and other challenges resulted in a heavy mental and physical toll.
Seeing as these Early Years employees are the future of the company, PwC was aware that these workers must be helped maintain their health and wellbeing. So they developed and launched an initiative called Project Me in 2020.
Project Me consisted of a series of blogs, workshops focusing on MIndfulness and Resilience to help their workers strive instead of struggle. The project was their switch to answering these issues from reactive to proactive and sustainable. As the lockdown struck, they switched their planned support to virtual rapidly.
The project aimed to empower their workforce and establish a sense of community through joint efforts, by taking care of their employees' health and wellbeing. Being successful would bring a series of business benefits to the company as a third of their department's workers would perform well and deliver quality service for their customers and clients.
Goals and Objectives
The goals and objectives of the programme were straightforward. With Project Me, PwC wanted to:
- Empower employees to take care of their own health and wellbeing, providing tools, resources and wellbeing research.
- Equip employees with tools enabling them to support each other at work.
- Build a support network where experience and ways of supporting good health and wellbeing every day are shared.
Success was to be measured through metrics such as:
- Post-event engagement results
- Feedback to specific outcome questions
From Idea To Execution
PwC implemented their new strategy through a series of planned phases. The project was not, however, set in stone. It was adaptable, matching the evolving needs of their targetted groups. The Project Me consisted of phases that responded to various aspects of their changing needs, each being virtually achievable. It included:
- Internally developed info: Relying on expertise and experience to build something relevant for a large population with no external costs.
- Modern-tailored approach: Listening to interpret challenges. Developing focused, short sessions suited to a busy and fast-paced schedule, with the information provided through different channels, and flexibility built-in encouraging long-term engagement and habit building.
- Using various modes of communication: chat function, emails, blogs, videos, links to articles
- Workshop design: Mindfulness sessions focused on stress management techniques and resilience workshops focused on making the most out of energy (spiritual, emotional, physical, mental) through healthy sustainable habits - with participants encouraged to talk about their experiences with peers in a safe space.
- Soft launch: Introducing the topic of wellbeing and Project Me via blogs
- Pilot: Creating opportunities to learn and tailor content to the audience for maximum impact and engagement.
- Other activities: Creating Connect Cafes, Ted Talk Circles and Learning Groups for people to connect and share their experience.
- Sustainable impact: Ongoing signposting to resources and tools available throughout.
- Phase 2: Enabling extension of the programme to include elements related to Purpose and Individual Strengths.
The Participants Reaction
The targetted Early Years employees recognised the goals and objectives of Project Me, as they took active participation in it. Engagement rates were good, and they each benefited from it. What is more, the target group owned the programme.
The group leaders took the initiative by themselves - they established themselves as internal champions of enforcing the aims of the project.
The project faced and met the needs of its participants, resulting in multiple mutual, lasting benefits.
The apparent success of Project me helped PwC preserve their employee's health and well-being, increase their employee retention rate and find their way into the very finals of the Employee Experience Awards '21! If you have a similar story to share, let us know about it so that the good word travels outside your company's borders. Apply for the UK EXA '22 and bear the fruit of your team's tremendous efforts!