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Employee Wellbeing is about more than being healthy

Kimberly Schelle, Area Lead Employee Wellbeing

How do you make sure people are physically fit and mentally strong to do their jobs? Kimberly Schelle, Area Lead Employee Wellbeing, is working on solutions to this together with her team. We asked her what wellbeing actually means at Rabobank and where it will go in the future.

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Employee Wellbeing?

Wellbeing is of course a very broad term. It’s about feeling good, being comfortable in your own skin. Because work is such a big part of your life, wellbeing is playing an increasingly important role here too.

Together with my team, I am responsible for all the solutions we offer in the areas of vitality, health and absenteeism management. Wellbeing in the broadest sense of the word. We help people so that they can do their work better.

We look at wellbeing from six perspectives: physical, mental, social, motivation, financial and community. We have incorporated these principles into a compass. Are you not comfortable in your own skin? With the compass you discover what the problem could be. And what buttons you can turn to get back on track.

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Wellbeing is a topic of concern in society. Look at the rising costs of healthcare, for example. This cannot be addressed solely as a health care problem. Companies, schools and the government must work together to find sustainable solutions.

As a large employer, we want to take our social responsibility. That is not easy, because wellbeing must largely come from the people themselves. We make the healthy choice easier than the unhealthy choice. For example, by making agreements with caterers about the food we offer at the bank.

Wellbeing is gaining momentum

At the bank we have been working on the theme of employee wellbeing for some time. Initially we were focusing on subjects such as quitting smoking and healthy catering, but now the topics are very diverse. The corona crisis has accelerated that.

Suddenly we all had to work from home. This made entirely different themes relevant within employee wellbeing. How do I organize my workplace properly? How can the bank help me with this? By now everyone has that pretty much under control. You now see the questions shifting from the physical to the mental and social. How do I divide my energy during the day? How do I keep in touch with my colleagues and my manager? How do I stay motivated?

Responding to signals from the organization

My team is constantly responding to signals from within the organization. We make information available, share best practices and organize workshops and webinars. We go through the same shift as with the questions from employees. The first webinar was about setting up a healthy workplace. Now it’s about resilience. About dealing with setbacks, and sufficient relaxation when working from home.

Exercise challenges and virtual drinks: the initiatives come from within

Many initiatives originate in the departments themselves. Exercise challenges, virtual pub quizzes and get-togethers. You see colleagues exchanging lots of ideas. People like to show each other what they are organizing.

Employee wellbeing supports these activities, but the actual organization comes from within. People arrange it themselves and work together to make it happen. We help by offering them a place, a community where people can share examples with each other.

New rituals are needed for the future

Together with my team, I am focusing on the future. We realise that we will not go back to the way things were anytime soon. That is why we need new rituals that fit in with this new way of working. For example, we no longer plan meetings on the hour or half hour. A meeting now lasts 25 or 50 minutes. This gives you time to let go between meetings. To get a coffee, or to have a digital chat.

We need new rituals for old ways of working, but also for completely new situations. How do you support new colleagues, who have never been to the office before? Not just to be able to do their work properly, but also on a social level. Because that too is very important for wellbeing.

Over Kimberly Schelle

Roland van der Vorst

Kimberly Schelle is Area Lead Employee Wellbeing. Together with her team, she works on solutions that keep employees physically fit and mentally strong.