Spotlight on wellbeing in the digital workplace

Spotlight on wellbeing in the digital workplace

Industry experts joined RMIT academics to answer the question “How can organisations promote employee wellbeing in the digital era?”

Recent reports of record-high levels of anger, stress, worry, and sadness worldwide, have raised a call for action to deal with the global pandemic of mental health.

In the corporate world, survey findings by Great Place To Work (GPTW) in 2023 indicate that 70% of employees are unsatisfied with their general wellbeing, while 42% reported not finding meaning in their work, 37% felt that their work does not make a difference and 32% do not feel they belong.

As a response to this global concern, RMIT University Vietnam and GPTW recently co-hosted an HR forum to raise the question of how organisations can promote the wellbeing of their employees, especially in the digital era.

Dr Jung Woo Han, RMIT Senior Program Manager of Human Resource Management and Entrepreneurship Dr Jung Woo Han, RMIT Senior Program Manager of Human Resource Management and Entrepreneurship

Human resources experts from leading multinational and Vietnamese corporations - Coca-Cola Beverages Vietnam, VNG Corporation, GPTW as well and RMIT Vietnam shared insightful research and practices to answer this question.

Dr Jung Woo Han, RMIT Senior Program Manager of Human Resource Management and Entrepreneurship said, “The COVID-19 pandemic created a wide range of challenges in life and work.

“Building a place of wellness at work is synonymous to effective people management according to contemporary academic literature. The HR forum with GPTW is designed to help our students learn the most updated practices from industry leaders.”

GPTW brought to the forum its flower-shaped model with five dimensions of employee wellbeing. These include (1) mental and emotional support, (2) a sense of purpose, (3) personal support, (4) financial health, and (5) meaningful connections.

Employee wellbeing model by Great Place To Work Employee wellbeing model by Great Place To Work

Mental and emotional support refers to cultivating a culture of trust, which is fundamental to a work environment that builds and sustains positive mental energy.

A sense of purpose helps employees connect the dots between what they do every day and the overall mission and goals of the company.

Personal support is about creating an atmosphere where employees feel supported and respected. In such an environment, they are provided with flexibility and control in achieving goals.

In addition, employees must earn enough to feel financially stable and are capable of living freely, together with fair salary and benefits.

The final dimension of employees’ wellbeing lies in having meaningful and caring relationships with co-workers and leaders. Together, this viewpoint of holistic wellbeing at work is deemed to help individuals flourish in both their work and life. 

Panellists at the HR Forum Panellists at the HR Forum

The holistic wellbeing model by GPTW is illustrated in the case of VNG Corporation. Ms Pham Thi Thu Thao, Head of Talent, Learning & Organisation Development at VNG, shared stories of how a tech-based organisation with 4,500 staff, 20 nationalities, and an average age of 29 years has been utilising technology and digital tools to elevate wellbeing experiences.

Not only did they build a sports culture with a swimming pool on their campus and community running projects, they also developed technology products to support these initiatives internally and externally. As of late 2023, their UpRace app has attracted more than 650,000 users with 7,000 sports events organised by over 3,000 different organisations on the app.

Their smart campus with their own technologies creates a be-like-at-home experience for employees, while offering flexible work arrangements for employees. Facilities like kid yard, gym, nursing room, library, and events like the VNG Family Day, are built to develop a culture of meaningful connections and offers mental and emotional support for staff.

Ms Pham Thi Thu Thao, Head of Talent, Learning & Organisation Development, VNG Corporation Ms Pham Thi Thu Thao, Head of Talent, Learning & Organisation Development, VNG Corporation

Meanwhile, Coca-Cola Beverages Vietnam (CCBV) builds their employee wellbeing strategies on an evidence-based approach and puts wellbeing at the core of their business strategy.

The wellbeing landscape at CCBV is based on four pillars, including mental, work-life, physical and social. A shining example of CCBV's commitment to fostering meaningful connections in the workplace is the 9X+ project. This project empowers the youngest generation to take the lead in cultivating a borderless and multigenerational organisation, bringing together a diverse workforce from seven sales regions, three plants, and six offices nationwide.

The dynamic members of the 9X+ project have spearheaded initiatives such as organising more than 10 Dialogue workshops and hosting impactful series like Pride Month. These efforts bridge geographical, functional, and hierarchical gaps, enabling employees to embark on their own journeys of talent development and wellbeing.

Lastly, CCBV's culture of appreciation and recognition is amplified through the ‘Celebrating You’ platform, where over 23,000 instances of kudos and celebrations have been sent to employees, acknowledging their contributions and commemorating personal and professional milestones.

Despite all these initiatives from organisations, promoting employees’ wellbeing is easier said than done.

Ms Hang Pham, RMIT Associate Lecturer in Human Resource Management cited a finding from Gartner’s 2021 Employee Value Proposition Benchmarking Survey: among organisations offering various wellbeing programs, on average only one-third of HR leaders and employees reported using them. The figure for emotional or mental wellbeing support is particularly low, with only 23% of employees using such services although 87% of employees have access to them.

“Organisations still find it hard to get employees to participate in wellbeing programs. It’s important to understand that only when employees feel valued and listened to, are they more likely to participate in wellbeing initiatives,” Ms Hang said.

  • Human Resource

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