04 August 2022

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Beckers embarks on global wellbeing program

The wellbeing of the people who work at Beckers has long been a focus both at a site level and centrally. Since the pandemic, along with all the other business challenges in recent years, the need for psychological as well as physical care and safety measures has been a priority. Rather than simply reacting to the situation as issues arise, we have been on a journey to establish a set of principles and practices that can be validated, refined and rolled out in a way that reflects and reinforces our global sustainability goals. 

In 2021, we ran a pilot Employee Mental Health Initiative in Malaysia. We partnered with an external health services provider specializing in workplace wellbeing programs. Together we administered a mental health questionnaire that enabled colleagues to diagnose their mental health and also access support, while protecting their personal data and privacy. Participating employee's names were kept private and confidential but the overall group results from the questionnaires provided crucial insights to help us gauge needs and attitudes within our teams.  

The focus was wide-ranging and included triggers like personal and financial stress, anxiety as well as productivity barriers in the workplace such as extreme and persistent time pressure, lack of recognition, insufficient resources, or issues with co-workers. 

During this phase, the questionnaire was completed by 80 colleagues and shared directly and anonymously to the health service provider. The results were then analyzed by psychologists and action plans put in place. This included talks and workshops at a team level, and also one-to-one counselling with psychologist for 36 of our colleagues.  

So far, results have been positive with majority of employees not requiring any further counselling. Perhaps most encouragingly, participants in the Malaysia program reported that they felt engaged and generally more supported simply by these topics being raised in such a positive way within Beckers.

A mindset shift

Since kicking off the global initiative in 2021, a blueprint has been developed which provides clear descriptions and metrics to help measure progress in this area. Key stakeholders include the Exco team, HR Community, Safety function and the Sustainability Steering Committee. 

Now that we have the learnings from the Malaysia pilot, a range of tools and approaches for future rollout are under consideration keeping in mind our decentralized approach and local needs. These range from self-assessment questionnaires to specialist apps designed and vetted by psychologists, as well as well-being workshops, hotlines and 1-1 counselling sessions to suit respective countries' needs.  

Behind it all is a real shift in mindset – from seeing stress and health pressures as a ‘problem’ for the individual and ‘something you just have to deal with’ to recognizing that total employee wellbeing is a necessity for sustainable business.   

Indeed, fostering a culture that promotes healthy attitudes to wellbeing is increasingly recognized as an essential part of a dynamic workplace that can adapt to uncertainty, demonstrate resilience, and embrace long-term transformation while taking care of immediate priorities.  

"We need to feel well to manage the challenges we face."  Judith Jungmann, Beckers CHRO 

Wellbeing and safety 

A clear correlation between psychological wellness and workplace safety is another major driver. The practice of taking care of ourselves and each other is frequently linked to improved engagement levels and increased uptake of safety best practices. This theme will be further explored at this year’s global Safety Day, which takes place in September at sites around the world to highlight topics relating to workplace safety. 

The move towards a positive, proactive approach to mental as well as physical health is reinforced by the decision to include a Wellbeing module as part of the Leadership Journey learning program, our global internal training scheme for managers and leaders. The module’s content, which is currently being developed, will connect closely to the global framework and the learnings from Malaysia, Sweden and other countries local initiatives.  

A key feature of the program design is how it seeks to engage all parts of our global community, whether through the Leadership Journey, Safety Day events, or at a site level. While the framework is developed centrally to ensure coherent and effective strategy, rollout is highly specific and localized, as we saw in Malaysia.  

Practical advantages of this region-by-region approach is that it is easier to adjust to local legal and compliance standards, which vary around the world. But at a deeper level, a grassroots activation brings to the program the benefits of site-level insights and the cultural diversity that drives our decentralized organization, and which is so much a part of Beckers’ DNA. 

"We know this is a critical topic, not just for Beckers but for businesses everywhere, and we need to raise it regularly. As we start to roll the program out globally, our biggest priority is protecting people’s personal data while at the same time raising awareness and giving everyone at Beckers the means to access these resources." Judith Jungmann, Beckers CHRO