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HR’s role as a ‘guardian angel’ of employee wellbeing

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Ahead of the upcoming Employee Healthcare Interactive 2019Terrence Ng, Head of Human Resource, PetroChina International (Singapore), tells Nadya Oenara about the nurturing role HR plays in encouraging staff to take charge of their own health and wellbeing beyond work hours.

Q In your opinion, what are HR’s priorities in the space of healthcare and wellness today, and why?

Like all companies, we put in place comprehensive healthcare and wellness programmes to ensure our employees are physically healthy and medically covered. However, I think we are not well-equipped to deal with mental wellness as it is not only difficult to detect but also to address.

A recent report from CNA titled Work-related burnout is real, shows how symptomatically workplace depression, stress, and burnouts can severely impact productivity.

As one of the priorities, HR should look into ways to create awareness, promote inclusion, and provide emotional support to enhance mental wellness.

While HR may take on the role of a guardian angel in providing employees with well-covered medical benefits insurance, regular health screening and wellness programmes, the responsibility still falls on employees to be willing, take ownership and take actions to improve their health (both physically and mentally). Amidst the programmes, HR needs to convey that as well.

‘Healthy is the new happiness!’ – Being healthy can make a person happy, but happiness itself may also lead to better health.

Q How do you support your employees’ health and wellness journey?

We view employees’ health and wellness in three distinct pillars – physical health, mental wellbeing, and organisational belongingness. For the physical aspects, we organise sports activities, participate in marathons, and provide health screening and corporate gym memberships.

For mental wellbeing, regular lunch talks are organised to create awareness of wellness. To get belonging, we have corporate passes to promote family bonding. Lastly, within the organisation, we have CSR, recreational and team-building activities to gel colleagues together.

What distinguishes us is the process in which these initiatives are derived. All these are mostly employee-initiated, HR-directed, management-supported, and everyone plays a part in organising and participating.

Q Say you are introducing a new health/wellness initiative at work – what will the slogan look like?

‘Healthy is the new happiness!’ – Being healthy can make a person happy, but happiness itself may also lead to better health. The wellness activities must be fun, enjoyable, and cater to employees’ interests in order to promote participation.

Q What are you most excited about speaking at the coming #EmployeeHealthcareInteractive?

I look forward to sharing and learning from the HR community regarding their wellness programmes, especially on mental wellbeing.


I want to attend the conference: If you’re keen to attend this closed-door conference, kindly request for a complimentary invitation. For speaking opportunities, please write in to Nadya Oenara. We look forward to welcoming you!

I want to sponsor: Engage in meaningful dialogue through dedicated speaking slots, roundtable discussions, and at your booths! If your organisation provides any of these services or solutions, you’ll fit right into this event. To learn how you can sponsor, please reach out to a member of our team now!


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