MANILA, PHILIPPINES — AFDigital, a multi-cloud Salesforce and MuleSoft implementation partner with offices in Australia and the Philippines, is committed to promoting employee wellbeing by using data to track wellness and improve the employee experience. Making employee wellbeing a high priority, AFDigital designed a number of programs to uplift the holistic health of its employees.
Why investing in employee wellbeing matters
Recent studies show that a happy workforce encourages the best talent to stay with the company. Higher retention rates result in less new employee training, more expertise staying on the team, and more work done. This happiness culture can also translate into customer loyalty because when employees are happy and engaged with their work, how they communicate with clients feels more authentic.
Moreover, happy employees care deeply about their company and are driven to help achieve its goals, and know exactly why these goals are in place.
This happiness has a multiplying nature and can grow all over the entire company. Satisfied employees make the leadership team happy; and when leaders are happy, they reflect the energy to the employees, and the cycle continues. Employees who find joy in their work easily become shining role models for their co-workers, thus encouraging them to find joy in their work. Similarly, leaders who are satisfied with their jobs encourage the employees they manage to enjoy their work and provide even more opportunities to grow their capabilities.
On the other hand, an unhappy workforce leads to more stress and employee burnout. When someone is tired of their work environment, eventually they will quit – and turnover is expensive, not to mention counterproductive, to the company’s growth efforts.
An effective way to keep employees happy and productive is to prioritize their well-being. For companies like AFDigital, this means investing in programs to ensure their employees’ mental health is well cared for and valued. Wellbeing is an ethos and a commitment to creating a healthier, happier, and more productive workforce, community, and world.
AFDigital also creates a supportive work environment that encourages its employees to learn from their mistakes rather than fear them. Mistakes can be a powerful learning tool that leads to success, which is crucial in maintaining the mental health of its employees. With a supportive work culture, people aspire to think outside the box and develop creative solutions for their clients, often going above and beyond to keep their clients happy.
Using data to track mental, emotional, and financial wellness to improve the employee experience
For AFDigital Founder and Managing Director Pauline Pangan, the pandemic brought upon renewed focus on employee wellness. With everyone being so far away from each other and working remotely, the uncertainty began to create a stressful environment. “We realized that we need to be proactive in improving our employees’ wellbeing now more than ever,” she said.
The first step to improving employee wellness is understanding the health and wellbeing challenges people face. Pauline and her team took a data-driven approach with monthly employee wellness surveys through the Salesforce CRM, enabling them to see the results in a wellness dashboard.
“The survey is a safe, anonymized platform our employees can use to share their challenges,” said Pangan. She also explained that in the beginning, management is unaware of what their employees are struggling with because they wouldn’t proactively come to them and share their struggles.
Additionally, these wellness surveys helped to identify where employees are starting to feel challenged and how this impacts their mental, emotional, physical, financial, and developmental well-being. Robin Leonard, AFDigital co-founder and CEO, noticed that mental health was becoming a challenge, with people saying they were burnt out. “We started seeing that while it’s great and we were productive, it was not sustainable,” he said. Robin further explains that personalized insights from the wellness surveys allow the company to take a more individualized approach to improving employee wellness, which was especially useful at the height of the pandemic.
For instance, for people who struggle to work from their homes because they had no space, the company rented a small nearby workspace so they could safely work away from their homes. Leonard emphasizes that employee wellness has to be very one-to-one and the individualized insights from the wellness survey enabled the company to take that approach.
By using Salesforce CRM to conduct these surveys, the company can use a customer success platform as an employee success platform, stretching the capabilities of their current investment to create more value to the business by using it to improve employee experience, too.
Well-being is a core part of AFDigital’s corporate value
“We prioritize wellness as a business not just because we care about productivity, but because we want our team to be the best humans they can be,” Pangan explained. “When they are given the tools and awareness to nourish themselves and increase their wellbeing, that’s when they are able to do their best work in service to our customers. This hopefully creates a ripple effect in the community.”
At AFDigital, well-being is measured as a company success metric, so it has numerous initiatives to keep its employees physically, mentally, and emotionally healthy.
This includes providing their employees with free access to Uprise, a proactive and science-based Employee Assistance Program (EAP) provider in Australia. Its philosophy comes from Stepped Care, a proven methodology that provides tailored interventions to people based on their well-being levels and support preferences. This aligns with AFDigital’s goal of providing its employees with personalized support.
Through Uprise, AFDigital employees have access to the app’s 24/7 counseling booking line, telehealth counseling, and phone and video-based services on demand. They also get free coaching, which includes personalized support for a work or life issue, flexible 30-minute phone sessions during or after work hours, confidential support from a licensed coaching psychologist or counselor, and free access to the Upskill program. Through Upskill, users learn skills to meditate, self-CBT, positive psychology, and psychological safety, among many others.
AFDigital employees also get free therapy sessions conducted by licensed psychologists, counselors, and clinical psychologists through Uprise.
Uprise has helped numerous AFDigital employees maintain their mental health. Kimi Buenafe, AFDigital’s content manager, said, “After several months of my mindfulness practice and use of Uprise, I’ve noticed significant changes in my perspective, temperament, and disposition in life. I like that I’m more present and grateful every day and can manage stressful moments better now.”
Rica Rosales, AFDigital’s digital advertising and content specialist who lost two family members to COVID-19, said Uprise was her lifeline during the worst moments of her life. “It helped me find ways to deal with grief and loss, allowed me to sleep better, stay calmer, and stay productive at work. I also had a coaching session where I was taught to let go and deal with life one day at a time. With Uprise, I am able to build mental resilience and positivity.”
AFDigital Business Development Representative Ynca Eve Ann Duerme also used Uprise to help her retrain her thinking process. “By drawing out the line between what leads to your “unhelpful thoughts” to “unhelpful action” tendencies, it has helped me find the right balance on how to best handle stress and given me a new perspective on tackling whatever this “new normal” unforeseeable situation has in store for me.”
Even Pangan used Uprise for its free therapy sessions. “We need to think about the epigenetics impact of long drawn out covid trauma. It is a business suicide to not make the well-being of the employee front right center of the way any leaders run their business. Good news is that the same process and platform that enables businesses to improve customer experience is the same one we can leverage to do this for the people who are keeping our business alive. It is our corporate value and we measure it in our board meetings,” she said.
“I therefore would like to call out business leaders to stretch out the value of their existing platforms and use it to also improve the experience of their most important assets – employees.”
In addition to promoting a healthy mental state, AFDigital also promotes physical fitness among its employees by providing them with equipment like fitness bands and smart weighing scales to help kickstart their fitness journeys. They also organize regular fitness-themed webinars and talks. Recently, the company spearheaded The Weight is Over, their version of The Biggest Loser, to encourage employees to achieve healthy body weight. The company is also very supportive of its employees who join fitness activities such as fun runs, Spartan Races, casual basketball games, and the like. Pangan said, “All of these initiatives are just at its infancy. We want to take it to the next level.”
“Covid-19 has opened this conversation for us,” Pangan said. “It feels like we can see each other now. We need to bring each other together and be more connected. As employers, we need to make everyone feel that we belong and care about each other.”
Human capital is our greatest asset as a business. We need to bring out the best in them to get the best from them,” Pangan concluded. “When our employees are happy, that’s when they do their best work.”