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Tips from the panel discussion at the 2018 Healthiest Employer Awards

 

It was easy to feel passion in the room at the 2018 Healthiest Employer Awards for how wellbeing programs are evolving in scope and making a bigger impact on people’s lives. Many expressed their “wellbeing” programs are broadening beyond physical wellbeing to address total employee wellbeing, with the employer’s responsibility extending to focus on themes like work life balance, mental health, and financial wellbeing.

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The Bay Area Healthiest Employers 2018 event featured a panel of incredible Bay Area Tech industry leaders who have been intentional about growing and feeding their culture from the start. The discussion, moderated by Kaleana Markley, Sequoia’s Director of Wellbeing, provided us some great insights that HR professionals can apply to enhancing their wellbeing programs and creating a culture of wellness. I’ve paraphrased them for you below, along with some direct quotes from the session:

Panel:
Kaleana Markley, Director of Wellbeing, Sequoia Consulting Group
Diana Fischer, Director of Global Impact & Employee Programs at Workday
Alena Roland, Director, People Operations at GoPro
Lisa Reilly, People Operations, Nerdwallet
Stan Dunlap, SVP, Global Rewards at Salesforce


 

Let’s start with this question: How do your programs line up to your values as a company and, likewise, how do your company values impact your employee programs?

GoPro
We have a program called Live it, Eat it, Love it. Every Thursday between 1:00-3:00pm, we ask our employees not to schedule meetings or send emails and we encourage them to use their GoPro camera to share videos doing what they love or fun activities with their team. The teams share their videos and experiences on our intranet to foster sharing of their life and work experiences to inspire each other. For example, a team may get together to do a mindfulness training.

“At GoPro, we believe life is more meaningful when shared.”
— Alena Roland, Director, People Operations at GoPro

Workday
One of our core values is “happy employees = happy customers”. We strive to think about the whole individual employee, what may make them happy or sad when they walk through the door and design our programs around this thinking. We are obsessed with making Workday a great place to work for all.

“At Workday, we feel strongly if we have happy employees we have happy customers.”
— Diana Fischer, Director of Global Impact & Employee Programs at Workday

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Next question: How have partnerships played a role in your wellness programs? What criteria do you use in selecting partners and how do you leverage them?

Salesforce
Our benefits team supports tens of thousands employees around the world and we leverage our vendors and partners to extend our ecosystem. We vet them through a third party to ensure they meet our criteria and are best serving our global employee base. We take into consideration their regional and cultural needs. Many of our partners are in-region to be in touch with the most important culture considerations to provide the optimal benefits programs for every country we serve.

“We leverage our vendors and partners to extend our global ecosystem.”
— Stan Dunlap, SVP, Global Rewards at Salesforce

 


 

Next question: How do you handle scaling these programs across different offices or with the growth of your company?

Nerdwallet
Scaling is challenging for most companies, especially for a company like ours where 20% of our employee population is remote either on their own or renting small shared spaces. We are constantly re-evaluating our programs, looking back at the data to evaluate what is working and what is not. We also utilizing benchmarking data to ensure we’re tracking where we stand. Engaging people socially and making them feel a part of the team is essential. For example, we have Happy Hour every Thursday regionally and remote virtual Happy Hours where we connect in front of our screens to touch base.

“Over 20% of our employee population is remote so engaging people socially and making them feel a part of our team is essential.”
— Lisa Reilly, People Operations, Nerdwallet

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(R to L pictured)
Lisa Reilly, People Operations, Nerdwallet
Stan Dunlap, SVP, Global Rewards at Salesforce


 

Next question: How do you measure success? What are some primary metrics that you use to gauge success?

Salesforce
When we think about tangible outcomes, we work with our data scientists to analyze claims, monitor progress and/or regression through our semi-annual employee wellbeing and psychological surveys. Those are just a few of many key measurements. Although, we recognize there is so much more to do in this specific arena and it’s a big growth area for us.

“We’ve doubled down on data science in our Employee Success organization. We also have a wellbeing and psychological semi-annual survey to keep a pulse on employee sentiment.”
— Stan Dunlap, SVP, Global Rewards at Salesforce

 


 

Next question: What are some of your most meaningful wellness programs you’ve put together? Do you have an inspirational story about the impact this program had on one or a group of employees?

Workday
With 1 in 4 people impacted by mental health and the historical stigma surrounding this topic, we’re just not talking about it the way we talk about other health conditions. We knew we needed to do more at Workday. With our ‘It’s Time To Talk About It’ campaign we saw such great dialogue from those employees willing to share and in the audience, that we now have a task force that will be in charge of continuing this crucial conversation. We have shared resources and are ensuring that anyone has a place to go if they need it to talk to someone.

“At Workday, we created a campaign during Mental Health Month called ‘It’s Time To Talk About It.’ We hosted an amazing panel of employees who were willing to share how mental health has impacted them or their family. We shared resources and an ongoing task force will work to continue the conversation.”
— Diana Fischer, Director of Global Impact & Employee Programs at Workday

GoPro

“At GoPro, We launched ‘12 Days of Cause’ which occurs annually globally. We ask our people to take time to participate and donate to those organizations that are meaningful to them. We encourage philanthropy through our matching donations program and participation locally.”
— Alena Roland, Director, People Operations at GoPro Cause Programs

Salesforce

“At Salesforce, we shifted our employee brand to shape a different narrative. We embarked upon an employee campaign to broaden our benefits program. It’s amazing how this program has caught on and extends our benefits package to wellness.”
— Stan Dunlap, SVP, Global Rewards at Salesforce

Nerdwallet

“At Nerdwallet, our executives recently evaluated the data on people who were not taking the appropriate time off this year. We launched an initiative through the management to ensure we were making employees aware of the importance of taking the appropriate time off and the time to refresh and recuperate.”
— Lisa Reilly, People Operations, Nerdwallet

 


 

I can’t think of a better group of leaders to help guide us as we all work to foster the happiest and healthiest employees in the workplace. Thank you to our panelists for sharing their insights and lessons learned

Also, a big congratulations to the Bay Area’s 2018 Healthiest Employers winners who continue to raise the bar for all of us when it comes to fostering wellness within their organizations:

  • Alvarado Street Bakery · Under 100 Category
  • Precept Group · 100-499 category
  • Santa Clara Valley Water District · 500-1499 category
  • Cooley · 1500-4999 category
  • HP · 5000+ category

Interested in more best practices and thought leadership? Check out watch The Sequoia AfterShow video series featuring our customers and industry experts discussing relevant topics and best practices for scaling business and culture.

 

Meghna Solorio – Meghna is a Principal & Director of Client Service at Sequoia Consulting Group.