HR = Wellbeing Champion

It is interesting to observe how radically a profession can transform when a strong catalyst, the pandemic, is introduced into the job market. Since March 2020, businesses became determined more than ever to retain their high performers so that they stay operational. One way to achieve this was to immediately recognise the importance of supporting employee’s wellbeing. With the pandemic driving businesses to make difficult decisions; with some jobs being made redundant, employees placed on reduced hours and redeployed, wellbeing became an area of concern. So how does a business go about safeguarding employee’s wellbeing? Who should be entrusted with this responsibility?

Well HR professionals stepped up to take this on. In unprecedented times, HR had to evolve into a wellbeing champion. This new level of accountability meant that HR had to determine the best way to support their workforce’s wellbeing; whether that meant employees are working from home, travelling or based at a site. The responsibility of employee wellbeing has always been an important one. The solution here was that HR had to be creative.

HR became the driving force behind Employee Assistance Programs (EAP) being implemented (if they weren’t already) and ‘wellness calendars’. A wellness calendar would involve regular check-ins with your manager, which as particularly helpful for remote workers who may be struggling in silence. In these calendars there would be a whole array of activities such as a company quiz, wear a silly hat to a zoom meeting week, or having a guest speaker deliver key messages on wellbeing. All these ideas had to implemented quickly and with the aim to capture the majority of the workforce. Without this additional support and messaging from a company that they want to be there for their team members, businesses would have suffered. For instance, businesses who do not realise the value of their people, and how they are instrumental in ensuring they rebound from the impact of the pandemic were doomed to fail. HR played a key role in making sure that this did not happen by becoming a true wellness champion.

With HR leading the way in wellness initiatives and designing new workforce arrangements, some great adaptions were born and will be long-lasting. My thoughts are that if an employee can successfully work from home for months on end, why should they have to revert to full-time hours back in the office? What other changes to the job market will come from the pandemic? Let me know your thoughts below.

- Melissa

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