Since March 2020, the world has witnessed one of the most rigorous lockdowns to curb the spread of Coronavirus. It will not be a stretch to state that this has been humanity’s greatest crisis on a global scale. The COVID-19 virus, along with the immediate health crisis, brought a ton of uncertainty, especially work-related. Chaos ensued regarding jobs as social isolation affected a large portion of people. With no handbook on how to deal with this once-in-a-generation event, many people have found it difficult to cope with the changes. In order to promote mental wellness and resilience, American Express and The Times Group partnered to share learnings and best practices with individuals, corporations and SMEs through a three-part webinar series. The webinar series with health and industry experts provides a platform for a large audience to understand mental wellness and learn more how to support each other, family members and colleagues through this unprecedented time.
Webinar 1 – Mental Wellness and Employee Well-Being
The first webinar focused on how to ensure Employee Well-Being. It was addressed by Dr Harish K Shetty from Dr L H Hiranandani Hospital and Irfan Khan, SVP, Global Services Group, American Express.
Dr Harish talked about the importance of mental health and how to manage mental well-being given uncertain times. He shared tools and practices to avoid stress such as staying active, sharing thoughts with friends and family and finding ways to show compassion. Irfan shared information on the Healthy Minds program and the mental well-being support it provides for Amex colleagues and their families through 24/7 access to licensed counsellors. The goal is simple – to remove the stigma around asking for help and normalize the conversation on mental health. Whether a colleague is going through a big life event or have personal issues they want to discuss – Healthy Minds is there for them.
As a company committed to delivering the best customer experience, employee well-being became even more paramount for American Express during the pandemic. Irfan elaborated on this, “ The health and safety of our colleagues is our number one priority. When the covid-19 crisis hit, we moved very quickly to ensure the health and safety and well-being of our colleagues and put a plan in place to back our customers. It was important (for us) that we first take care of our colleagues, our people so that they are in a better position to take care of our customers.”
Webinar 2 – Physical Fitness for Mental Resilience
The second webinar in the series was attended by Kabir Julka, CHRO, American Express India and fitness expert Kitty Kalra. They discussed the role of physical fitness in building mental resilience.
Kabir shared how American Express utilizes technology to engage with colleagues and deliver wellness benefits through apps like HealthifyMe. Last year, American Express also offered complimentary membership to the Calm app to its employees and Card members globally. Speaking about American Express’ focus on employee health and well-being, he added “ The culture of well-being and focus on the health of our employees is ingrained into the DNA of American Express.” He also mentioned that leaders are encouraged to promote a culture of well-being in their respective teams.
Kitty shed light on how body movement not just heals physically but also has a deep mental and emotional affect. Sharing her fitness mantra of “ Move more, eat well; find a stress-free workout”, she listed easy tips to include movement into daily routines, such as:
* Getting up and taking a five-minute walk every 30 minutes
* Stretching when taking an hourly break
* Walking when on the phone
Webinar 3 – Financial Planning to Support Mental Well-Being
The final webinar in the series focused on how financial security is an important aspect of mental well-being. Kunal Shah, Founder & CEO, CRED and Manoj Adlakha, SVP & CEO, American Express Banking Corp., India gave their take on key habits to adopt for inculcating financial discipline.
Manoj spoke about the need to focus on mental well-being, especially at times of crisis. He cited an American Express survey in which merchants ranked “mental health advice and support for themselves and their employees” as the most helpful type of assistance to run their business during the pandemic period.
Kunal highlighted that just like mental well-being, there seems to be a taboo around financial literacy discussions. He added “ Only when people converse about it and ask for help, will they get better at it. We’ve become good at math but zero at financial literacy. It is important to bring in a culture of conversations around financial discipline in schools and colleges.”
Advocating on maintaining healthy financial habits, both Manoj and Kunal stressed that everyone has different financial goals and it is important to equip oneself with knowledge and understanding of how to achieve them.
Manoj also broke the myth that clouds over credit cards being a source of reckless spending. He asserted that when used smartly, credit card can help manage finances smartly. For example, one can get up to 40 credit-free days, unlock rewards and avail additional discounts and offers.
Source- Times Of India