Business leaders across the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region are prioritising employee wellness. According to a recent report by Willis Towers Watson, supporting employees’ physical and emotional health is a top priority for companies throughout the region.
Two in five APAC employers said they plan to enhance mental health services and stress management. Forty percent of employers want to improve employee wellbeing programmes.
Notably, more organisations in Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, the Philippines, Hong Kong, and India, are prioritising employee wellbeing programmes than other APAC regions.
AFDigital is one such company that is making a strong commitment to improving employee wellness. Founded in the Philippines in 2012, AFDigital specialises in social media marketing, customer journey automation, training, and digital marketing operations. They work with a wide range of enterprise customers and small and medium-sized businesses across the region.
Pauline Pangan, Founder and Managing Director at AFDigital, says COVID-19 was a catalyst for her company’s renewed focus on employee wellness.
“We realised that we need to be proactive in improving our employee’s wellbeing now more than ever,” she explains. “We are so far away from each other because everyone is working remotely, and it’s stressful because of the uncertainty about what’s going to happen.”
Before Pangan and her team could improve employee wellbeing, they had to understand the health and wellbeing challenges her people are facing. To do this, AFDigital has taken a data-driven approach with monthly employee wellness surveys delivered through the Salesforce CRM. AFDigital is now able to see survey results in a wellness dashboard.
“In the beginning we didn’t have awareness about what our employees were experiencing, because they wouldn’t necessarily come to us and say they’re struggling,” she says. “The survey is a safe, anonymised platform our employees can use to share their challenges.”
Pangan says the wellness surveys help identify where employees are starting to feel challenged, and the impact this is having on their mental, emotional, physical, financial, and developmental wellbeing.
“We started to notice mental health becoming a challenge,” says Robin Leonard, Co-Founder and CEO at AFDigital. “People were saying they were burnt out, and had meeting after meeting with no gaps. That’s where we started seeing that while it’s great we were productive, it was not sustainable.”
Leonard explains that personalised insights from the wellness surveys are helping the company take a more individualised approach to improving employee wellness. This was particularly useful during the height of the pandemic.
“We were finding people who were struggling with their work because their household was struggling,” he says. “For example, we could identify if our people had no space to work from home and rent them a small nearby workspace so they could safely work away from their home.”
“Employee wellness has to be very one-to-one. The individualised insights coming from the wellness survey enable us to take that approach.”
While Pangan says it’s certainly true that happy employees are productive employees, boosting productivity is not necessarily the top priority.
“We are prioritising wellness as a business not just because we care about productivity. But because we want our team to be the best humans they can be,” she explains. “When they are given the tools and awareness to nourish themselves and increase their wellbeing, that’s when they are able to do their best work in service to our customers. This hopefully creates a ripple effect in the community.”
Focusing on the human-side of the equation comes with another key benefit — fostering genuine human connections between employees. This, says Pangan, has in turn helped to create more authentic customer engagements.
“We don’t employ machines, we employ human beings. And they are servicing human beings,” she says. “It’s a very intimate type of business engagement. That’s the reason why we changed our mission statement to ‘redefining human experiences’.”
Pangan says that balancing data-driven decision making with a human approach has been critical to the company’s employee wellness strategy.
“We have amazing technology that enables us to make data-driven business decisions”, she explains. “It affords flexibility to make human emotion-based decisions, which allows us to achieve the bliss point balance of a tech-based, human-focused business.”
Pangan adds that recognising increased employee vulnerability throughout the pandemic has helped to build deeper connections.
“COVID-19 has opened this conversation for us,” she says. “It feels like we can see each other now. We need to bring each other together and be more connected. As employers, we need to make everyone feel that we belong and care about each other.”
Human capital is our greatest asset as a business. We need to bring out the best in them to get the best from them,” Pangan concludes. “When our employees are happy, that's when they do their best work.”
AFDigital is driving internal innovation through Salesforce. Read their full Salesforce success story here.