Answers provided by Charles Hung, CEO and Executive Director of Blue
1. What differentiates Blue’s employee wellbeing programmes to that of other organisations?
As the line between work and life blurs, and in the face of business and people challenges, providing a robust suite of wellbeing programmes focused on physical, mental and financial health is becoming a corporate responsibility and a strategy to drive employee interest and engagement in the new digital age.
At Blue, we believe in being purposeful, empowering and pioneering – we uphold these principles not only when serving our customers, but also our staff. We reinvented the core of our wellness programme by positioning it as an ecosystem with end-to-end initiatives, which empower our staff to be healthier and happier in the workplace.
2. What successful initiatives has Blue undertaken in the area of employee wellbeing?
The first initiative is The Blue Lab – a series of workshops to equip employees with business know-how, financial, social and wellbeing. We collaborated with different partners to roll out a series of programmes aimed at promoting physical and mental wellness.
The programme started with an online health questionnaire – the first step to getting feedback from employees on our previous health activities and to help them understand their health status. The assessment provided employees with a personalised report and advice to reduce health risks. After the completion, we received an organisational health report that summarised the staff’s overall health status and key health issues. The findings were then used to develop customised wellness activities. To help employees understand their health with more professional advice, we also arranged on-site health check-ups with registered nurses.
Our second initiative is The Blue Planet – a campaign to minimise damages to the environment. There are many ways in which the environment is crucial to our wellbeing. A pleasant and natural environment helps create social relationships, which research shows as one of the most important contributors to our wellbeing and mental health. Minimising damage to the environment arising from human activities in turn helps to protect our health and wellbeing.
Some of our initiatives include giving each employee a Blue mug/water bottle, discouraging single-use plastic and encouraging e-copies instead of printouts.
Our third initiative is The Blue House – a series of initiatives to keep the office comfortable, hygienic and healthy so as to increase the workplace hygiene and social bonding. People and community are Blue’s top priorities, which is why there is a nursing mother facility, recharge quiet zones, and a collaboration area to cater to people’s needs to support their wellbeing.
The office has been designed to promote greater collaboration, support sustainability and create a strong sense of community. All desks are sit/stand desks to help promote activity and movement during office hours.
3. A recent report revealed that 31% of Hong Kong people have suffered mental health issues. What can HR professionals and business leaders do to ensure a safe workplace for their employees?
Nowadays, mental healthiness is promoted with a variety of programmes and training in organisations. All these may be helpful in promoting mental health awareness, but they are not sufficient in addressing the situation.
The core of many mental health problems are, in fact, related to workplace wellbeing issues, for example, stress at work, imbalance between work and life, or workplace discrimination. Blue believes that to truly respond to the needs of mental healthiness, we need to focus on the fundamental core – workplace wellbeing. We view wellbeing as the core asset at Blue, and create wellbeing-centric programmes that enable our staff to enjoy their work instead of seeing work as stress.
4. What do you see as the crucial issues surrounding employee wellbeing that HR professionals should consider?
Employee health and wellbeing is one of the key focuses in organisations. This isn’t just something we pay lip service to – we invest great time, energy and resources into creating workplaces that embrace wellness, and consider it a vital part of our business strategy.
Nurturing a sense of wellbeing is much beyond rolling out initiatives around promoting physical and mental health; it is about tackling the root problems at the workplace that cause employees distress and discomfort.
The core issues may vary across different organisations. Those issues could link back to the need of, for instance, a more inclusive and respectful environment, more effective and efficient processes, more collaboration across departments and teams, and more communication between staff and management. Business leaders play a fundamental role in identifying and addressing the root causes specific to the organisation as a collaborative team.
At Blue, we encourage four leadership behaviours – “leading by example”, “super collaboration”, “focused execution” and “quality delivery”. Our management team is committed to creating a more collaborative and effective workplace, which in turn, cultivates a healthier wellbeing culture where staff can feel respected and accomplished at work.