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Employee health & wellbeing

This issue relates to the following Sustainable Development Goals

Protecting people’s health and wellbeing is crucial to helping people realise their abilities and cope with the stresses of life. We aim to enable positive and holistic wellbeing at the workplace, to enable our people to thrive.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, wellbeing came to the fore more than ever and was led by the top leadership; various wellbeing initiatives were proactively driven across the organisation.

In addition to protecting people’s safety and health, a significant focus has been on providing easier access to mental health support for our people and their families.

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Healthier U – a holistic approach to health & wellbeing

Healthier U is our new flagship whole-person health support program that empowers employees to develop and sustain healthy lifestyle choices. Through Healthier U, we aspire to add healthy years to the lives of our people, unlocking their untapped human potential.

Successfully adding healthy years to life requires understanding people’s motivations and behaviour towards health and wellbeing, evaluating the medical risks and planning effective interventions. Our Healthier U programme helps employees look after their physical and emotional health and provides practical support to help them achieve their goals.

Wellbeing framework

At Hindustan Unilever Limited, our guiding principle is that wellbeing is ‘personal’ and means different things to different individuals. Therefore, we crafted a best-in-class segmented framework that supports the different wellbeing needs of employees.

In 2021, 15,000+ hours were invested in employee wellbeing, and through our segmented framework, we have made necessary interventions to cater to employee needs. Our wellbeing framework offers customised solutions across five segments – Individuals, Line Managers, Line Leaders, Teams & Impacted Individuals.

We guide employees in identifying their wellbeing quotient and provide expert-led assistance, customised webinars, and grief counselling support, among other initiatives.

Mental health champions initiative

Through our Mental Health Champions (MHC) initiative, we have trained 850+ employees to act as first responders to their colleagues suffering from mental health issues and guide them to appropriate resources. In 2022, we are dialling up investments for our frontline employees on the shopfloor with 150+ trained MHCs in our factories.

Additionally, in 2021, we collaborated with FICCI to extend our MHC program to other corporates in India, training 200 professionals from different companies & industries.

Leader check-in-circles

During the pandemic, our leaders went above and beyond their call of duty to ensure business continuity and the safety and wellbeing of their teams and the communities in which we operate. While our leaders work tirelessly to care for our people, we realised they needed support through these challenging times. So, we introduced ‘Leader Check-in Circles’ – a group of 4-5 HUL leaders who could talk to each other, listen, share their experiences, and genuinely care for each other.

Experienced coaches facilitate the sessions to help recharge our leaders and create positivity that trickles down to their teams and the entire organisation.

We are bringing purpose to work

If we want to build a purposeful business with purposeful brands, we need to encourage our people to bring their purpose to work.

So, we developed the ‘Discover your Purpose’ workshop to give people the opportunity to identify their purpose and put it at the heart of their development and career.

We have seen that people who bring their purpose to the workplace also feel engaged and optimistic about their wellbeing and development at the Company.

Breaking the stigma of mental health

According to the World Health Organisation, nearly 10% of the world’s population is affected by mental health issues. And almost two-thirds of people who need treatment never seek help from a health professional due to stigma and discrimination.

To create a workplace that supports mental health, our approach focuses on:

  1. Culture – Empowering our people through education and raising awareness of mental health, addressing stigma and making mental health conversations commonplace, on a par with physical health
  2. Leadership – Building awareness and capability on mental health support while encouraging role modelling
  3. Prevention – Providing access to self-help tools for individuals and teams, including information from experts and lifelong learning
  4. Support – Enabling a strong foundation of anytime, anywhere access to expert mental health support and the ability to have mental health conversations with peers

Supporting our employees and their families

We believe that our people should be just one conversation, one phone call or one click away from support. Our Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) delivers support 24 hours a day, 365 days a year in local languages and is accessible via telephone, text or webchat.

The programme provides a range of options, including access to counselling services, mindfulness-based stress reduction courses, life coaching, financial wellbeing and resilience training.

Prevention is the best cure

To make a real difference in mental health, our focus needs to shift from reactive to preventative measures.

For instance, we have expanded our Mental Health Champions network across our operations. This enables employees to have peer-to-peer mental health conversations. It also emphasises our ‘Team Energy’ approach, which aims to build psychologically strong, high-energy teams.

To understand what wellbeing needs will look like in the future, we also must look at how society and the workplace will develop over the coming decades.

Through a mindset that embraces change, we want to enable our employees to become resilient and build communities of empowered people. Our task will be to support good mental health, as we navigate and adapt to hybrid ways of working in a post COVID-19 world where collaboration, celebration and human connection will be integral to our high-performance culture.

We encourage our people to systemically enable behaviour change like increased physical activity and improved nutrition in their daily lives. We also ask our leaders and teams to be role models and ensure regular team check-ins to maintain social connections and build a new operating rhythm in the current day operating context.

Supporting physical health

We want our employees to be fit and healthy, at home and work.

Our group of experienced and well-trained medical professionals are committed to maintaining a safe and healthy working environment. For instance, all employees can benefit from periodical health evaluations for health issues, such as hypertension, diabetes and cardiovascular pathologies. When required, the team also provides proactive pre-employment checks, annual health examinations, and access to market-leading medical care.

Our team of doctors has played a critical role in helping to protect our employees against Covid-19. Through rigorous early testing, effective contact tracing protocols and ensuring early access to medical care, we have been able to keep the number of Covid cases at our workplaces proportionately lower than community prevalence and infection figures. We constantly review the latest scientific data and technologies to ensure our employees can access the best available testing and treatment options.

Our commitment to employee health & wellbeing

We are looking at wellbeing through the lens of external trends with a keenness to adopt the best practices and pioneering initiatives to enable all our employees to be the best versions of themselves.