Getting Creative to Create a Culture of Health and Well-being

Employee well-being is one of the top priorities on the corporate agenda as companies and their boards connect and correlate the success of their business to the well-being of their people. The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated this trend dramatically. And as employees whether at home or on site confronted new barriers, new models of support and care emerged.

From the C-suite to the shop floor employers recognized that providing early and frequent well-being support is not only the right thing to do, it also leads to a more engaged workforce. Our global Health on Demand 2021 research shows that employees who feel well supported and have access to wide range of benefits are more productive, better engaged, and less likely to leave their jobs.

Forward-looking and innovative firms continue to evolve and foster new ideas on how to create a culture of health that promotes the well-being of all employees. Speaking at a Mercer Marsh Benefits webinar, Bernie Knobbe, SVP, Global Benefits & Well-being, Human Resources at AECOM shared some of the creative initiatives the firm has launched to create what he calls a “culture of caring”.

Key initiatives included:

  • “Well-binars”: The firm held webinars on well-being for all employees globally
  • Safeguard week: The firm’s safety week was rebranded as Safeguard Week to better reflect its core values. It included animated videos and a virtual exhibition hall to engage employees and promote the well-being program.
  • #WellbeingMoments: This initiative encouraged people to think of well-being moments each day and share them with colleagues. Team leaders share their personal well-being moments at the beginning of employee meetings and leadership Town Halls.
  • Let’s Talk Campaign: This started as a one-month campaign to promote emotional, social and intellectual well-being but has been ongoing ever since. Managers are encouraged to ask employees questions such as: “How are you doing?” and “Is there anything I can do to support you?” The campaign emphasizes one-to-one meetings and making sure people are comfortable discussing these issues.
  • Better use of the EAP: AECOM created a template message to ensure that at the end of employee communications there was a reminder that the global EAP was there to support people 24/7 worldwide. This also included links to the global well-being site and the AECOM benefits sites.
  • Super Six Challenge: For six months, AECOM is running a competition where once a month, a person is selected based on the number of likes that they received about their own well-being story. In addition to receiving various rewards, the winner’s photo is made into a superhero animated character and featured on internal websites.
  • Repositioning Well-being Ambassadors: AECOM has well-being ambassadors in local offices, but with people working remotely, they weren’t as effective. The company expanded the ambassador toolkit to include more resources that could be offered virtually, to meet employees where they are, in office or remote.
  • “Nominate your manager” program: This program allows employees to nominate managers for well-being certificates once a month for promoting a culture of well-being among their teams.

Reflecting on the changes Bernie said: “ROI represents two things, it's return on investment, but it's also return on individual. One of the positives coming out this is that there's nobody who's saying well-being isn't important or worthy of the investment anymore.”

“Clients and customers are asking, ‘what are you doing around well-being for your employees?’ So it really has become part of the vocabulary versus just an HR program or a one-time benefits strategic project or initiative. And to me, that’s when we’ve truly arrived. We know that we've made a difference when it's being asked about and requested for the employees, their families and the organization.”

To find out more about what employees want in this dynamic, changing time, download our Health on Demand research.

Lorna Friedman, MD
by Lorna Friedman, MD

Global Health Leader, Multinational Client Segment, Mercer

Register for Mercer US Health News to receive weekly e-mail updates.