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3 must-dos for planning your 2020 employee health & wellbeing strategy

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If you’re having difficulty getting employees to open up about their mental health, here’s what you can do, Jerene Ang shares in this report on Employee Healthcare Interactive 2019, Singapore.

Richard Branson once said: “Take care of your employees and they will take care of your business.”

Nowadays taking care of employee health goes beyond a trip to the hospital. HR leaders now have to pre-looking at whether it is a cost of investment; how much of it relates to ‘medical’ and how much to ‘wellness’; and the actual objective these health policies are trying to achieve.

Here are three things we should focus on when planning for our health and wellness strategies for the year ahead.


This knowledge was shared at Employee Healthcare Interactive 2019, Singapore, Asia’s premier corporate healthcare and wellness strategy. Produced by Nadya Oenara and held on 10 October 2019 at Novotel Singapore on Stevens, the exclusive invite-only conference saw a host of relevant sessions, including four interactive sessions on topics such as healthcare trends and costs, and assessing ROI.

#1 Leverage on technology to sustain behaviour change

Good strategic goals often get lost in implementation when it comes to traditional wellbeing.

In every organisation, about 15% to 20% are health strivers. These are the ones who typically turn up for the traditional wellbeing programmes. Another 15% to 20% are health skeptics. These are the ones who cost businesses the most, but never turn up. Then there are the health seekers who make up the remaining 60% to 70%. These are the people who want to get healthy but the demands of work and life makes it tricky.

If health intervention programmes not impacting 60-70% of people (the health seekers), the strategic wellbeing goals cannot even begin to be achieved.

Hence, with every programme, HR needs to reach out to the health seekers and skeptics. One way to ensure the health seekers and skeptics are onboard is to leverage on technology to change wellbeing behaviour.

Today, with the large amounts of information about wellbeing, it’s no longer about a lack of information, but about ensuring employees stick to healthy habits.

When using technology to get people on board, you can tap into their sense of fun, personalise their experiences and make sure that taking charge of their health does not feel like a chore to them. Technology is also able to sustain their engagement by creating an irresistible and fun experience, and holistic approach.

Once these employees begin to feel the benefits of these simple changes, their confidence builds and that drives their motivation to remain engaged, push harder and keep progressing.

#2 Focus on mental health

With the spotlight on mental health issues in recent years, this is one aspect that HR leaders should look to include when reviewing their current wellness strategy.

An effective workplace mental wellness strategy, first starts with creating a culture where it is safe to speak up. This can start with symbolism such as safety shares in team meetings.

With the stigma surrounding mental health in Asia, to create such a culture, it is necessary to get employees talking about mental health.

The first step is always the toughest. That is also what makes it crucial for HR leaders to step up and start the conversations. Some helpful conversation starters are questions including:

  • How do you overcome a stressful situation?
  • How do you balance your personal, family, and work time?
  • How do you check in with someone if you think they’re not ok?
  • How important is sleep to you?
  • What do you do to improve a situation when you feel things are not in your control?

But an effective mental wellness strategy shouldn’t just stop at the conversations. Since what gets measured gets done, it is also important to measure mental wellness through your annual employee survey.

That allows you to better understand what tools and interventions to put in place. Examples of tools and resources that you can provide to everyone in the organisation are Employee Assistance Programmes (EAP), Manager Assistance Programmes (MAP), and resilience training for all employees.

#3 Promote zero harm and ensure the working environment is good

It is tough to maintain good mental health when the workplace is full of hazards. Hence, it is equally important to promote zero harm and ensure employees are in a good working environment. Safety and health should be incorporated together to have a productive workforce.

For this to happen, leaders need to be aware of what is going on.

Here are some things to put in place for a healthy and safe workforce:

  • Ensure leaders are aware of what is going on.
  • Work with government organisations to come up with a healthy journey for your organisation.
  • Create a multi-disciplinary team to promote workplace safety and health.
  • Enhance risk assessment to include personal risk factors and implement regular health checks and interventions as and when it is needed.
  • Put in place policies, programmes and practices to enhance work ability, as well as set indicators and SMART targets.

Most importantly, for a sustainable workplace safety and health programme, effective communication and employee engagement has to be in place.

[Full set of photos: Employee Healthcare Interactive 2019, Singapore]


This knowledge was shared at Employee Healthcare Interactive 2019, Singapore, Asia’s premier corporate healthcare and wellness strategy. Produced by Nadya Oenara and held on 10 October 2019 at Novotel Singapore on Stevens, the exclusive invite-only conference saw a host of relevant sessions, including four interactive sessions on topics such as healthcare trends and costs, and assessing ROI.

Presenters, panelists, and moderators at  Employee Healthcare Interactive 2019, Singapore included:

  • Lim Khia Tat, Head of Human Resources, Alzheimer’s Disease Association
  • Baljeet Chhabra, Compensation and Benefits Leader for Asia Pacific, Avaya India
  • Tiffany See, Head of HR Business Partnership – Asia, BHP
  • Herman Fung, Director of Benefits Consulting, CXA Group
  • Audrey Ang, Human Resources Vice President, Everstone Capital Asia
  • Sean Ho, Managing Director for Medical Benefits Management Services, Fullerton Health
  • Wendy Lim, Group Chief People Officer, Fullerton Healthcare Group
  • Melvin Seng,  Country Lead Physician, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK)
  • Ray Chua, Head of Human Resources, KLA
  • Cheeman Mendonca, Regional Human Resources Director for Asia Pacific, Mölnlycke
  • Lucy Tan, Chief Human Resource Officer, NatSteel Holdings
  • Christina Ang, APAC Lead for Learning, Diversity & Inclusion, as well as Well Being, NatWest Markets
  • Terrence Ng, Head, Human Resources, PetroChina International (Singapore)
  • Monica Divik Agarwal, People, Performance and Culture Manager, Silverlake Group
  • Pauline Loo, Vice President Human Resources, Taiyo Nippon Sanso Holdings Singapore
  • Haider Amir, Regional Sales Manager, Virgin Pulse
  • Rachel Lim, Director of Rewards for APAC, Zebra Technologies

Human Resources Online would like to thank its sponsors and partners for their support and belief in this event:

Gold sponsor:

  • Fullerton Health

Silver sponsor:

  • CXA Group

Exhibitors:

  • AIA
  • Prudential

Supporting sponsor:

  • Virgin Pulse

HR Masterclass Series: High-level HR strategy training workshops
with topics ranging from Analytics, to HR Business Partnering, Coaching, Leadership, Agile Talent and more.
Review the 2020 masterclasses here »

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