Dennis Tan Koh Tiong, Head, Human Capital, Great Eastern Life Assurance Malaysia Berhad

Dennis Tan Koh Tiong, Head, Human Capital, Great Eastern Life Assurance (M) talks about the organisation's holistic approach in addressing the different aspects of health to ensure people stay healthy, productive, and motivated.

At the Employee Experience Awards 2021, Malaysia, Great Eastern Life Assurance (M) won the silver for Best Employee Wellness Strategy.

In this interview, Dennis Tan Koh Tiong, Head, Human Capital, Great Eastern Life Assurance (M) shares the secrets behind this win - how the company empowers employees to take charge of their health and wellbeing, whether they are at work or at home, through four health pillars - mental, physical, financial, and social wellbeing. They believe that this can help their workforce stay healthy, productive, and motivated in the long run.

Q Congratulations on bagging this award! What is your award-winning employee experience strategy that led to this win?

Our LIFE Programme is a one of a kind integrated employee health incentive benefits scheme that aims to empower employees of Great Eastern to take charge of their health and wellbeing, whether they are at work or at home. It is anchored to four main health pillars, namely mental health, physical health, financial health, and social wellbeing, and all of the activities organised under the LIFE Programme support each of these pillars. For example, we organise various health talks featuring subject matter experts, virtual group workouts with a certified trainer, art activities, as well as exciting games and challenges.

We’ve long been a champion of employee wellbeing at the workplace, and we believe in taking a holistic approach in addressing the different aspects of health to ensure our people stay healthy, productive, and motivated. 

Q How did you and your team conceptualise and adapt this strategy to suit evolving workforce needs in the past year?

The COVID-19 pandemic came as a shock to all of us, and although we were initially paralysed by strict movement restrictions, our team moved swiftly to adapt to the needs of the workforce during this time.

We asked, we listened, and we acted.

Through employee feedback and annual surveys, we acknowledged the need for a holistic approach to employee wellbeing.

Prior to 2020, LIFE Programme was mainly anchored to physical and mental health, but with remote work becoming the norm, coupled with anxiety over public health and job security, the need to address financial health and social wellbeing became apparent. It was certainly time for us to review our strategy and find ways to improve LIFE Programme so that we could better support our employees for the years to come.

Q What challenges did you face along the way, and how did you overcome them?

Our biggest hurdle was that we were no longer able to engage employees in person, as events and gatherings could not be held due to the pandemic. LIFE Programme activities, in the past, had always been experiential activities but with the onset of the movement restrictions, our team moved swiftly and shifted all physical activities to virtual.

One of our more popular activities would be virtual health talks – these would be held during lunch and one of the benefits of going virtual is that we saw a greater increase in participation! Employees can sit in and gain something beneficial while having lunch, so these events become more accessible. Shifting physical activities to virtual is in itself a transformational effort, and we could have not done it without the team coming together.

Q How did the strategy add to the overall employee experience in your organisation, in terms of ROI? Any achievements you’d like to show off?

Happy, motivated, and engaged employees make productive employees. We have always believed in taking care of our people in all aspects of wellbeing, and we’re glad to see that our efforts paid off!

80% of our employees feel that LIFE Programme helps them feel more engaged with the company, and a whopping 90% of our people agree that the LIFE Programme increases their health awareness and encourages them to live healthier, even at the workplace.

The success of the organisation lies in the people and their understanding of its vision. When we are able to move forward together as one, it is a recipe for success for all.

Q What is the most exciting and valuable thing about being part of (and winning at!) the debut Employee Experience Awards?

We are truly honoured to have been recognised at the first ever Employee Experience Awards, and winning Silver for Best Employee Wellness Strategy is truly a testament to the hard work we have put in in 2020. It is a great way to recognise the team for their monumental effort, and of course, this award accentuates our position in the industry as one of the best organisations to work for in Malaysia. We are both grateful and excited for what’s to come next, and we will continue to do more, and do better! 

Q Looking ahead, what else do you have planned as you continue to enhance the overall employee experience?

As we celebrate our 113th anniversary this year, we have many exciting things to come as we continue this journey and futureproof our organisation. Some of the things we have in plan to enhance the overall employee experience include exploring workplace transformation at the office, enabling permanent work-from-home for a bigger percentage of employees, and leveraging on collaboration and communication tools to help boost employee engagement.

Remote work will be the new norm, and the birth of the hybrid workplace is inevitable.

On the wellbeing aspect, we are constantly looking for new ways to innovate and improve LIFE Programme and our offerings, and this could be through a more attractive reward system so that staff are more empowered to take charge and own their health and wellness journey.

Q Lastly, to end on a fun note – if you could describe the employee experience at your organisation in one sentence, what would that be?

GREAT! We’ve always been a proponent of making life great, not only for our policyholders and the communities we operate in, but also our employees. We want them to live the great life, both at home and at work, which is why we take a holistic approach in supporting and empowering our employees at the workplace. From learning and development, health and wellness, to organising fun and meaningful engagement activities, making life great is a part of our DNA, and taking care of our employees is our top priority.

The secret is simple: when our employees thrive, the organisation thrives. And when they succeed, we succeed too.


Image / Provided

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