Employee wellness at work

We understand that wellness extends far beyond physical wellness or health. Our employees’ wellness covers a broad spectrum of aspects ranging from financial, emotional, spiritual, physical, social and occupational wellbeing.

Our 24/7 helpline for staff extends to dependants and families whereby an employee or family member can call the helpline 365/7days a year any hour of the day. Telecounselling is the first intervention which then extends to face-to-face counselling by a registered psychologist or clinical social worker that can be arranged at a location convenient to the family – either closer to work or home.

This free service includes:

  • Emotional counselling
  • Legal help
  • Financial counselling
  • Access to HIV testing at any time

Ninety percent of the users are employees and 10% are family members or dependants. The service is so entrenched at Metropolitan that 96% of users had referred themselves and 4% were management referrals.

Eye screening, blood donations, Pap smear tests, prostate screening tests and other screening tests are regularly conducted at Parc du Cap. Statistics from the clinic indicate strong uptake of the clinic services amongst the workforce:

  Consultations at the clinic   5 082  
  Family planning   1 017  
  Diabetes chronic appointment   60  
  Hypertension chronic appointment   205  
  Minor injuries   18  
  Recordable injuries   2  
  Fatal injuries   0  
  EAP (Employee Assistance Programme) referrals   45  
  TB management (each month)  7  
  Flu injections   131  
  Pap smear tests   89  
  Blood test done   90  
  Blood donors   701  
  New donors   53  
  Full units of blood donated   577  
  Blood grouping   75  
  Eye tests   420  
  Needed spectacles   295  
  First aiders trained   7  
  First aid refresher course   35  
  Health assessments   392  
  Weight management   201  
  Prostate screening   37  
  TB screening tests   118  

Peer educators
Since April 2008, 60 peer educators have been trained. Their training covered all the dimensions of wellness and not only HIV as was previously the case. The calibre, level of commitment and enthusiasm of the peer educators are satisfying.

Peer educators operate independently but with the support of the employee wellness division and the EAP help line. They organise educational and commemorative events for their regions, eg Candlelight Memorial Day, World AIDS Day, Wellness Day, etc successfully.

We have reintroduced a programme in 2008 to assist people who want to stop smoking. The service provider, SmokeEnders, gives awareness talks about the benefits of not smoking, and interested people enrol for a 7-week journey to quit smoking. This programme is run from our Parc du Cap offices.

2008 has been a financially difficult year, both for businesses and individuals. This was no exception for our staff. Financial stress is one of the greatest factors impacting on employee wellness and productivity. July 2008 was dubbed Savings Month and the wellness centre focused on the financial wellness dimension of employee health as well as the standard physical wellness programme. As part of this, a two-day campaign focusing on financial education and assistance was hosted at Parc du Cap.

The following topics were covered:

  • Basic financial understanding, including budgeting
  • Advanced financial planning
  • Current economic situation and the impact on individuals
  • Understanding credit, garnishee orders, how to get out of the credit trap, etc
  • Investments – savings, equities, properties, stocks, etc
  • Tax – understanding individual tax, the implications for retirement, investments, etc
  • Drawing up a will
  • Retirement planning
  • Issuing of credit reports

The seminar was accompanied by efforts from the employee wellness programme to educate staff on the credit situation, how it could affect them as individuals, and the available steps to proactively manage their financial situation. The participation in these sessions exceeded our expectations.

The financial wellness seminar also served to introduce an independent, confidential financial wellbeing service offering to assist employees to understand and manage their personal budget, save money and ultimately improve their personal financial position. The service provider provides financial counselling, debt management, and financial planning services to mainly low to middle income employees.

Articles were placed in the Today magazine, in administrator emails and on the employee wellness intranet site.

The third factor in employee wellness is that of spiritual wellness. Metropolitan subscribes to and promotes a culture of diversity and non-discrimination within the group.

Other wellness initiatives (at Metropolitan Health Group) are as follows:

Harmonisation is the process of implementing strategies that will support and contribute to our current environment of rapid growth, culture change and transformation. Our approach is to accelerate skills development, employment equity, and employee support services. This process is also closely aligned with the ethics processes.

Ethics office:
We launched the ethics office in 2007 to support the highest standards of ethics within the business. An ethics committee whose membership includes members from across the business was established. In terms of this strategy, the revised ethical business conduct policy was launched in the business at the beginning of March 2008.

There are a number of mediums by which staff members can seek guidance on ethical matters. Examples of these are the ethics mailbox and anonymous KPMG hotline.