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A healthy workforce is vital to ensuring the productivity of a company, but is it the sole responsibility of employers to keep their employees healthy or should the responsibility be shared?
The size of a company obviously plays a part as smaller businesses find it harder to commit finances to ensure the wellbeing of their staff compared to bigger multinationals. However, budget is a big concern for lots of companies when it comes to building benefits packages, a point that was highlighted at the 2018 Employee Benefits event through a live audience poll. Attendees were asked: What’s stopping you taking action on wellness initiatives? Budget was the top answer with HR professionals saying they are worried about ROI.
But this doesn’t mean employees at smaller companies are left behind. Benefit plans can be tailored in a way to deliver exactly what employees expect and they can be adapted to individual markets. For example, in Japan, which is well-known for its intense work culture, companies offer health benefits that include mandatory stress-related exams. On an even smaller scale, companies can boost the wellbeing of their staff by doing something as simple as adding healthy food to the pantry.
Health is also about mental wellbeing. In Singapore, employees are known to ask about a company’s leave policy and if there’s flexible working hours before starting a job. Both are important when it comes to helping employees deal with stress and enjoying a healthy work-life balance. Furthermore, in the office, more and more companies are using wellbeing ambassadors to help get their benefits messages across. The ambassadors are chosen because they are passionate about health and they share their knowledge with colleagues.
Another question for the audience at the event was, What is important to your decision on where your focus should be? The top answers were assessing internal data and how the packages will fit into the company.
In today’s world, the benefits programs we use were designed 10 years ago and a lot of them are no longer relevant to the needs of employees. The times have changed, and it is now up to employers to evolve and reimagine the way to reach people and the structure of their programs, keeping the employee experience at the center.
The aforementioned topics and more were discussed when experts in the fields of health and benefits gathered at the 2018 Employee Benefits event in Singapore to participate in a panel discussion on “Health and Wellness - A Shared Responsibility”.
The panel discussion was moderated by Liana Attard, Asia Consulting Leader, Mercer Marsh Benefits, and featured Fiona Chia, Founder of Health Can Be Fun, Masters in Human Nutrition; Gan Sow Chat, AP Benefits Director, Honeywell International; Rahul Ramaswami, International Benefits Manager, Standard Chartered; and Godelieve van Dooren, Regional Industries and Products Leader, Mercer
Liana is a Partner based in the Singapore office and the Asia Consulting Leader for Mercer Marsh Benefits. She has worked 18 years in the insurance, broking and consulting industry, with 10 years of experience focused on international benefits, global and regional benefits management and multinational pooling.
Liana is responsible for leading the regional consulting team across Asia, the Middle East and Africa and for the provision of consulting services to multinationals across multiple markets, including benefit strategy, health strategy, governance, plan design advice, flexible benefits consulting, innovation, multinational pooling, captives and analytics. She is an active ambassador of diversity and inclusion in the workplace across Asia driving thought leadership in partnership with clients on mental wellbeing in the workplace, aging workforce, structuring inclusive rewards programs with a focus on LGBT, flex and choice in the workplace. She has represented Mercer on BBC Asia (Live) – providing thought leadership on Diversity and Inclusion best practices, LGBT policies and women in the workplace.
Prior to joining Mercer in 2006 as the Australian Health & Benefits Consulting Lead, Liana worked for various life insurance offices in roles ranging from business development to product management.
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Enjoy our infographic with bite-sized insights from the 2018 Medical Trends in Asia report. For in-depth information, download our 2018 Medical Trends Around the World full report.
In Asia, mental health tends to be a taboo subject as it has a stigma around it and employees are concerned about coming forward with their issues in a fiercely competitive workplace environment.