Employee well-being matters
Employee wellbeing in EMEA
The impact that Covid-19 response measures have had on Wells Fargo’s approximate 1,300 EMEA employees has meant that the region’s Wellbeing Program has had to adapt in a way that could never have been anticipated a few short months ago.
The EMEA Wellbeing program began in 2017 with the intention of creating a nurturing working environment where the region’s employees feel looked after and enjoy spending time. Working with a specialist wellbeing consultancy, the Wells Fargo’s EMEA Wellbeing team created a program that would address the total wellbeing of our people. They identified five areas to focus on; emotional – creating a sense of purpose and meaning about work, financial, personal, physical and social – strengthening the connection amongst employees.
Thomas Spiers, HR Consultant, says, ‘Our Wellbeing program connects with the company’s core values. We wanted to design a program that gave employees control over their own wellbeing, whilst being inclusive for everyone. We provide a range of activities and events that engages everybody. People of any age, interest or ability can take part.’
To provide input into the design of program, the Wellbeing team created a community of employees who could identify ideas for activities. This community is made-up of twelve wellbeing champions, employees from across the business who applied for the role in addition to their regular daily jobs. They are supported by a number of ambassadors who promote engagement with colleagues, and subject matter experts who will consult on specialist topics.
Then in mid-March 2020, the impact of Covid-19 began to become clear and most of the original plans had to be re-thought. The Wellbeing Team had to quickly adapt to the changing needs of the workforce who were now almost all working from home.
Kerry Shimasaki, Co-Chair of the program says ‘There is a risk that a wellbeing program could be seen as a ‘nice to have’ but now we’ve entered the pandemic it’s viewed as crucial. It’s more important than ever that we are supporting our employees and their needs now. We are all out of our comfort zones and we want to connect to each other in any way we can. People are taking the time to ask how each other how they are as we genuinely have concern for each other. We all have a common connection and we all want to keep each other positive.’
The team adapted their schedule to include ongoing online HIIT and yoga courses, shared healthy recipes via the Wellbeing portal, tips on how to boost your immunity and advice to managers on how to effectively lead virtual teams. They also launched the popular ‘Coffee Roulette’ where registered colleagues across different teams and departments are virtually and randomly paired together for short chats to get to know each other. The team work to ensure colleagues feel connected to each other and avoid feelings of isolation. There is a regular step challenge to encourage employees to achieve the recommended 10,000 steps per day, and photo competition based on different themes. In the next few weeks there will be a focus on music and a company quiz.
Thomas adds, ‘Since we launched the program the most popular event was probably Art Therapy where employees could come and spend time being creative. Another popular event was the Trim and Talk, where we created an on-site barber and employees could book in for 15 minute haircuts with barbers who are qualified in mental health first aid. The Wellbeing Program also works with internal employee networks, hosting a self-defence workshop with the Women’s Team Member Network, which was open to all employees.’
The range of activities throughout the year are pinned together by monthly themes and there is one event a week, but the recent impact on our working patterns has meant more frequent activities are offered with themes shifting from monthly to weekly. Kerry adds, ‘Success for us means that we have provided a program that touches every employee in some way. We’ve kept the diversity of our employees in mind and provided opportunities for people with all interests.’
‘We understand that ordinarily if our employees feel happy and healthy then they are more productive, however these times are not ordinary and we are doing what we can to support our people through it.’