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 holistic wellbeing at the workplace, to enable our people to thrive. By empowering our employees to be the best version of themselves, we help them, and our business, to work safely and effectively.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, well-being came to the fore, more than ever before and led by the top leadership, various well-being initiatives were proactively driven across the organisation.
In addition to protecting people’s safety and health, an important focus has been on providing easier access to mental health support for our people, and their families.
At Hindustan Unilever Limited, our guiding principle is that well-being is a ‘personal’ thing and means different things to different individuals. Therefore, we crafted a best-in-class segmented framework that supports the different well-being needs of employees.
So far, in 2021, 1000+ hours have been invested in employee well-being, and through our segmented framework, we have made necessary interventions to cater to employee needs. Our well-being framework offers customised solutions across five segments – Individuals, Line Managers, Line Leaders, Teams & Impacted Individuals.
We guide employees in identifying their well-being quotient and provide expert-led assistance, customised webinars, 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.
Additionally, we partnered with FICCI to extend our MHC program to other corporates in India, training close to 200 professionals from different companies & industries.
During the pandemic, our leaders went above and beyond their call of duty to ensure business continuity and safety and well-being of their teams and of 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, the ‘Leader Check-in Circles’ – a group of 4-5 HUL leaders who could talk and listen, share their experiences, and genuinely care for each other, was formed. Experienced coaches facilitate the sessions to help recharge our leaders and create positivity that trickles down to their teams and the entire organisation.
We’re bringing purpose to work
It makes sense that 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 personal purpose and put it at the heart of their development and career.
We’ve seen that people who bring their personal purpose to the workplace also feel engaged and positive about their wellbeing and their development at the Company.
Breaking the stigma of mental health
According to the World Health Organization, nearly 10% of the world’s population is affected by mental health issues. And nearly 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:
- 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
- Leadership – Building awareness and capability on mental health support, while encouraging role modelling
- Prevention – Providing access to self-help tools for individuals and teams, including information from experts and lifelong learning
- Support – Enabling a strong foundation of any time, 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, and is accessible via telephone, text or web chat.
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’ve 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 have to look at how society and the workplace will develop over the coming decades.
We want to enable our employees, through a mindset that embraces change, to become resilient and build communities of empowered, like-minded people. Our task will be to support good mental health, tackle the potential loneliness caused by increased digitalisation and help people to limit damaging health behaviours.
We encourage our people to ensure they incorporate 20 minutes of physical activity in their daily lives and to take breaks during the workday to ensure they get a mental energy boost. We also encourage the use of video calls and regular team check-ins to maintain social connections and build virtual ways of staying regularly in contact.
Supporting physical health
We want our employees to be fit and healthy, at home as well as at work.
Our group of experienced and well-trained medical professionals are committed to maintain a safe and healthy working environment. The team also provides proactive pre-employment checks, annual health examinations and access to market-leading medical care when required. For instance, all employees can benefit from periodical health evaluations for health issues, such as hypertension, diabetes and cardiovascular pathologies.
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’ve been able to keep the number of Covid cases at our workplaces proportionately lower than community prevalence and infection figures. And we constantly review the latest scientific data and technologies to ensure our employees can access the best available testing and treatment options.
Project U CARES
Launched in September 2021, project U CARES is a Health Improvement Program that encompasses a framework & guidelines on health & well-being for employees. The main objective of the program is to create a healthy & mentally engaged workforce which is vital for business growth. The framework will not only support the physical & psychological wellbeing but will also give agility & resilience to the employees to emerge out in a better manner. The four main pillars of the program are wellbeing interventions (physical, mental & emotional wellbeing), preventive health checks to predict & mitigate health related risks beyond lamplighter, digitization of occupational health care (OHC) for digital tracking of health parameters and wellbeing activities & development of Model OHC for providing the necessary infrastructure and support system to build medial resilience. The program will be implemented in a phased manner across sourcing units, offices, branches & depots within HUL.
Our commitment to employee wellbeing
We are looking at well-being through the lens of external trends with a keenness to adopt the best practices and pioneering initiatives that will enable all our employees to be the best versions of themselves.