Tailoring health and wellbeing initiatives very valuable

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HR departments should seriously consider tailoring health and wellbeing strategies to the needs of their particular organisation, vice president of UK HR at Samsung Tess Smillie has told HR magazine.

She said that while off-the-shelf type solutions will suit some smaller companies at different stages in their growth to Samsung, her company’s strategy is structured around the fact that Samsung employees are typically very busy, high-functioning individuals who need being healthy made as easy as possible.

“Our people work very hard and fast so they need to have things at their fingertips,” she said, reporting that Samsung offers quick drop-in sessions with health advisors and physios to enable this.

She added: “When we first started talking about subscriptions to health and wellbeing magazines I wondered if people would really value that. But actually that’s been popular because it’s one less thing for people to worry about. Making things easier for people itself impacts their wellbeing.” 

Smillie explained that Samsung also offers a menu of health and wellbeing support for employees, in order to reflect the diversity of its workforce. 

“It’s about giving people choice without that being overwhelming, so a pick and mix approach means they can choose the parts that suit them,” she said, reporting that companies should bear in mind that the demands of different employees will depend to a large extent on their stage of life

“Gym membership might be more popular with your Generation Y employees for example,” she said.

Whether a tailored or more off-the-shelf approach, strong health and wellness initiatives are now very much expected of employers, said Smillie.

“It used to be that we talked about work-life balance and certain other things, and now it goes far beyond that, and people expect that it does. Gone are the days where that might not be on the HR agenda.”

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