With its 'Balance - Our Duty of Care' initiative, Mindshare Asia Pacific has won the award for Health & Wellbeing in the 2020 Women Leading Change Awards.
In 2018, the firm began to pick up a theme, from its employee surveys and conversations, that its people were beginning to feel stressed. While there were several options for Mindshare to adopt, it was felt that the existing options were inadequate. Most initiatives were largely limited to physical wellness—healthier breakfast options or running and exercise clubs.
In its quest for a strong wellness program, Mindshare realised that these initiatives were disjointed, just ticked the corporate box (Zumba class/ green apples in the pantry) and worst of all, weren't a C-suite priority. Finally, while many companies launched these wellness programs, few of them were measured; there were no metrics on outcomes, only tracking of inputs and activities.
To fix this, Mindshare's APAC CEO, Amrita Randhawa, pushed the team to fulfill its ‘Duty of Care” agenda. The team decided to focus on building wellbeing from within both individually and organisationally, rather than through employee entertainment programs. To make the cut, the team realised a custom wellness program would need to be built.
The result of this exercise was Mindshare's Balance program, which seeks to balance workplace and personal wellness, doing things on scale with local adaptations and measuring progress through metrics while upholding the soul of the program. In a wide-angle space of wellness, Mindshare decided to focus sharply on managing stress.
As the firm sought to build out this program, it realised that especially from the mid-30s, many stress triggers were from outside the workplace: ageing parents, financial concerns, relationships. To tackle these, Mindshare adopted a two-pronged approach:
- Workplace: At an agency level, identify, address and track contributors to workplace stress.
- Personal: Holistic wellbeing diagnostic and ‘Finding your Balance’ one day 'Playshop' (as opposed to a 'workshop') to expand the individual’s capacity for dealing with stress and cultivating wellness.
Despite the promise of a magic pill to manage employees' stress, Mindshare was mindful of the time and effort involved to build a viable program. To make sure its wellness program stuck, it adopted a five-point program across the organisation.
- Identified and invested in training the people who are passionate about wellbeing, called 'balance champions'.
- Surveyed people across APAC about how they felt across various aspects of workplace wellness, to provide benchmarks and direction.
- Shared findings with all staff, and each market locally decided what it needed to do on a continuous basis.
- Focused on personal wellness through a confidential diagnostic and the Balance Playshop to expand individuals' capacity to manage stress, delivered by the balance champions.
- Continuous measurement of performance: In addition to the workplace and individual diagnostic, Mindshare gets feedback of every Balance playshop and conducts an employee wellness pulse three times a year.
This deliberate construction has helped Mindshare scale this program rapidly across the region. In nine months, in-house trainers have delivered 25 workshops, with 350-plus participants signed up, across 15 cities. When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, the initiative went virtual, with two-hour sessions on resilience across employees enrolled in its Momentum, Balance and Purple Force high-performance employee programs.