The Bottom Line: Exploring the Benefits of Wellness in the Workplace

The human element will become a critical asset in the workplace of the future, said David Atkinson, People and Organization Director at PwC, during a recent #WebinarWednesday on  employee wellness.

Atkinson moderated the event, which featured a panel of forward-thinking experts from Franklin Templeton Investments, Invesco, and MFS Investment Management. The session allowed attendees to explore the employee value proposition through a broad lens encompassing multifaceted wellness programs.

Going Holistic

As the “wellness-to-wellbeing” landscape grows, Sharon Anderson, VP of Benefits and HR Communications at Franklin Templeton Investments, said her organization has worked to meet that need through the launch of a new global campaign known as “Reach for Better.”

The campaign represents a belief in ambition over status quo, and an understanding that better outcomes in investing come to those with the ambition to seek them.

“To launch the new brand and help employees connect with what ‘better’ means to them, we partnered with our brand group and held some pop-up cafés,” Anderson said. “During those events, we intentionally introduced our new holistic wellbeing framework.”

This whole-person approach focuses on providing resources that support five critical aspects of wellbeing: Physical, financial, emotional, social, and community-focused.

Mark Leary, Chief Human Resources Officer at MFS Investment Management, said his organization’s wellness journey began years ago with a heavy focus on physical health. Today, the group leans more toward the whole-person approach referenced by Anderson.

“We focus on work-life balance, flexible work schedules, a ‘dress for the day’ dress code, and enhancing our family leave policy,” he said. “But we also put heavy emphasis on career development and growth — making people aware of the opportunity to broaden their skill set.”

Tara Patterson, Senior Human Resource Business Partner at Invesco, added that her organization focuses on purpose-based work intended to help employees “get more out of life.”

“When employees are not financially secure, it has tremendous impacts on their stress levels and wellbeing,” she said. “Even though we’re an asset management firm, a lot of employees were lacking confidence that they were doing the right things to secure their financial futures, so we put a lot of emphasis on on-site retirement workshops,” she said. “We also started offering access to our internal experts to provide employees with education.”

Driving Culture

“Culture is incredibly important,” Atkinson said. “We know it’s not something you can necessarily touch and feel, we know it’s not something you can manipulate — it’s something we can only hope to influence.”

Leary said a collaborative, familial culture is a differentiator for MFS. “We know that happy and engaged employees are more productive and willing to help out their coworkers,” he said. “We do an employee engagement survey every two years and build a comprehensive action planning around opportunities.”

Patterson said her group works to promote a culture of care. “We take care of employees, and employees take care of our clients and shareholders,” she said. “That translates to having a work environment where employees have the flexibility to harmonize work and life, feel secure in their finances, have the opportunity to connect and socialize, and give back to their communities.”

Chasing Engagement

Like Leary, Patterson said her organization uses employee engagement surveys to track the impact of its increased focus on employee and workforce quality of life. “What we’ve consistently seen in our engagement results is that overall, our employees feel motivated, enabled, and energized,” she said. “We also have very high retention rates.”

Anderson said Franklin Templeton also assesses employee engagement through surveys. “We also have a new listening strategy that includes asking more pointed questions of employees throughout the year in hopes to achieve greater connections,” she said.

Leary said his firm also studies promotion rates and mobility within the firm. “We want to determine if there is a healthy amount of people moving within the firm — it’s not just about bringing in new talent, thought that is also important.”

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