On the back of a recent Colliers International report that APAC countries are losing billions of dollars a year from health issues, employee wellness is now a key business component for HR teams across the region.
So, without further ado, here are WellteQ’s Top 5 Tips to Improve Employee Engagement in APAC.
1. Realistic Expectations
Sadly, a major problem across APAC is employees working too many hours. This has been recognised at a governmental level, eg in Singapore the Ministry of Manpower has advocated a limit of 44 working hours per week.
However, change has to happen at an organisational level – managers need to open their eyes to the signs of burnout and mental health in workplace. While working overtime might help boost productivity in the short-term, the mid and long-term consequences can be severe.
Overworked employees may lose their motivation, become less productive or even leave the company.
In extreme cases, stress-related burn out can result in severe health issues and even lead to death. Tragically, this is so commonplace in Asia that many countries have their own word for “death by overworking”: karōshi in Japanese, gwarosa in South Korean and guolaosi in Chinese.
Effective leaders should discourage working overtime where it can be avoided. In some Asian cultures it is still believed that an employee should not leave the office before their manager – by leaving on time, the manager ensures that employees are not under pressure to stay at the office.
2. It’s Good to Talk
Internal communication is crucial to improving employee engagement, but this is something that has often been criticised across APAC. Whether it’s a corporate or a start-up, it is a manager’s duty to hold periodic appraisals with their employees.
These meetings are crucial for an employee to gauge how their performance is being measured and evaluated. It also gives them the opportunity to have transparent conversations about salary career progression. A good manager will also use this opportunity to identify and solve any issues that may inhibit the employee from carrying out their work.
Managers should proactively encourage employees to have these appraisals, as opposed to employees continuously chasing for it.
However, 1-on-1 meetings may not always allow an employee to air their grievances. By conducting employee surveys regularly, a company can allow unhappy employees to open up anonymously without fear of reprisal. This type of feedback is crucial to improve the Employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS).
3. APAC Wellness Programs
The Colliers International report found that “wellness is becoming a key component of workplace strategy with corporates increasingly looking to design the best workplaces to enhance employee engagement and productivity”.
In this increasingly digital age, traditional wellness programs are becoming less and less effective. Instead, organisations are looking at data-driven solutions that can provide more accurate insights into their workforce than ever before, eg WellteQ integrates with main-brand wearables to focus on optimising health goals such as stress, fatigue, fitness, etc.
But a good digital wellness solution can do so much more:
- Add a dimension of gamification by rewarding employees for partaking in cross-departmental challenges.
- Leverage smartphone technology to communicate more effectively with connected employees.
- Identify a workforce’s health issues – companies can enhance risk analysis capabilies in order to reduce health insurance premiums.
- Incorporate employee surveys to measure the eNPS before and after a wellness program. At WellteQ we have seen a 40% in employee engagement after our wellness program.
4. Inclusion Policy
One quick way to ostracise an employee is by making them feel detached from the company. Creating an “us and them” gulf between management and the rest of the workforce can be extremely demoralising. This could include things like reprimanding employees for being late while at the same time being consistently late themselves.
There are a number of things managers in APAC can do to make an employee feel more included:
- Allowing them the opportunity to own share options means they are more immersed in the success and failure of the company.
- Injecting a vibrant social calendar into your organisation allows people to forge deeper connections with both their team and management.
- Incorporating CSR initiatives allow staff to bond over important causes not related to their everyday work. CSR projects can be particularly powerful if there is support from senior management.
5. Moving with the Times
The face of business has undeniably changed over the past few decades. There are now a range of digital tools that employers can get their hands on to boost productivity, eg Slack (team communications), Skype (video conferencing), Jamboard (virtual whiteboards), and many more.
However, the non-digital advancements have been just as important, eg introducing stand-up meetings as a way to cut down on unnecessary time wasting.
This attitudinal shift can largely be attributed to the rise in startup culture where bootstrapped entrepreneurs needed to streamline their businesses to make them as productive as possible. They started cutting out unnecessary rules that had dominated the corporate world for too long, so things like flexible hours, relaxed dress codes and quirky office spaces were introduced.
The startup scene is thriving in APAC and the corporate world is learning from it as a tool to improve employee engagement.
Putting it into Action
So that’s our Top 5 Tips to Improve Employee Engagement in APAC!
While this is all very well in theory, these type of changes are difficult to implement and will not happen overnight.
To see how WellteQ’s award-winning analytics solution can help you increase employee engagement, get in touch today.