Interview with Karen Kelusky at Ferrero Canada and Well Street on Creating a Great Place to Work & Driving Employee Engagement Through Wellness Programs.
WS = What are the business goals driving your wellness strategy?
KK = Our goal is to create a great place to work and to drive employee engagement, as a means of retaining and recruiting talent. In a nutshell, the most important element is our people. Supporting the overall wellbeing of our staff ties in directly with our commitment to our people, and providing tools to attract, maintain and retain an engaged workforce.
WS = What would you say is the key to a successful & sustainable employee wellness strategy?
KK = We’ve found that the key is gaining and keeping the interest of employees. This means knowing our people and choosing initiatives that will be of interest to everyone. Our employee population cuts across the spectrum, from Millenials to Boomers, so selecting programs that have cross-generational appeal is important. That being said, we have also found that even when conducting, for example, a seminar on “caring for aging parents”, that can still appeal to Millenials if the session’s relevance is communicated properly.
Another key factor for success has been keeping seasonality in mind. For example, aligning seminar topics to the season (“holiday eating” at the start of holiday season) or holding on-site massage just after an extremely busy season.
Lastly, we believe in an open and inclusive environment, so we really listen to the comments and feedback we get through various channels. As a team, we evaluate all requests and identify those that will have the broadest appeal.
WS = What are some ways in which Ferrero is supporting emotional resilience?
KK = We have held “stretch & breathe” workshops and we’re currently running weekly mindfulness meditation classes which have been very well-received. We’re committed to being open with ideas, activities and opportunities. We continually look for new ways to provide tools, resources and techniques to assist our staff in combatting stress, all at no cost to the employees of course.
WS = Why is prevention important to your wellness strategy?
KK = The short-term and long-term health of our employees is in direct alignment with our company values. We believe that providing a culture that supports wellbeing, as well as providing our people with outlets to manage their daily stressors, will prevent larger health issues down the road and to add a new element of engagement to our employees.
WS = How do your leaders model behaviour that supports your wellness strategy and make it easier for their teams to follow suit?
KK = This is key for us. Our leadership team participates in events regularly. They’re also extremely open to, and supportive of, any new initiatives proposed by staff. For example, an employee suggested we form an employee softball league and so we did it. Our employees are the foundation of our company; their health is our health.
WS = What trends are you seeing?
KK = For us, fitness programs are very popular. We are a sales and marketing – fueled company, and as a result, many of our staff are highly competitive. Therefore, programs like our Step Challenge, where staff can compare & compete, work well. The key is knowing your employee base as this will help to direct choosing initiatives that work for your company culture.
Our Mindfulness workshops have also really taken off. We’re seeing new people join in each week, which is also really telling.