Econet Wireless Zimbabwe, Chief Executive Officer, Douglas Mboweni, has called on business organizations to boost their sustainability and resilience by integrating effective employee wellness programmes into their business strategies.
Speaking at a business breakfast organized by the Swedish Workplace HIV/AIDS Programme (SWHAP), in collaboration with the Zimbabwe Business Council on Wellness in Harare yesterday, Mboweni said employee wellness must be integrated into the business strategy for it to be measurable and effective.
“Organizations must develop wellness KPIs (key performance indicators) and integrate them into the business performance score card”, he said, adding that when wellness is part of the organization’s performance objectives, it gets management’s attention and buy-in.
“Wellness must be built into the organization’s business case, so that the board, management and all stakeholders can buy into the importance of wellness to the organization” he said.
Mboweni, who is CEO of the country’s largest mobile telecommunications and technology business, said when wellness is properly integrated into the business’ sustainability strategy, the programme’s benefits should be clear to all staff and to the business.
“Everyone in the organization should be able to clearly see that when employees are well and healthy, it reduces staff medical costs and absenteeism, and this in turn increases productivity and improves employee morale, and therefore results in higher returns on investment” he said.
Mboweni stressed that to succeed, employee wellness programmes must be collaborative and driven from the top.
He said Econet, which also invests in community wellness interventions through Higherlife Foundation – a Non Profit Organization founded by the Econet Group’s founder Strive Masiyiwa and his wife Tsitsi –took a 360-degree view of wellness as being about the complete freedom of the employee from all conditions that compromise their total wellbeing as a person.
These, he said, includedgood health and the absence of disease, physical fitness, social awareness and adjustment, spiritual grounding and wellbeing, intellectual development and growth, a balanced family life and sound reproductive health, emotional stability (psychological and mental health), occupational health and safety, as well as financial stability.
Mboweni said Econet has, for nearly 15 years now, been running an integrated wellness programme that incorporatedstaff spouses and families.
‘We have ensured that we create an open and supportive family culture within our organization because we know that our staff’s family lives are inextricably linked to their wellbeing and to the business’ performance”.
Besides popular family fun days, at which staff have the opportunity to bond and relate outside the office with their families, Mboweni cited the example of an HIV/AIDS intervention programme, that his organization pioneered as part of its wellness initiatives.
Econet Wireless Zimbabwe directly employs over 2.000 fulltime employees deployed throughout the country, directly supporting over 10.000 livelihoods (children, parents and other dependents).
Mboweni said Econet has been proactively investing in training its staff on the merits of living well balanced work, social, family, and spiritual lives in the company’s quest to foster sustainable employee wellness and to make Econet a great place to work.
“We are continuously investing in our staff wellness through such interventions as the SMI (Success Motivation International) course, whichtrains and equips staff with the knowledge they need to live healthy, fulfilled and productive lives all-round”, Mboweni said, adding that sustainability of the interventions was key.
He said to encourage marital communication and a balanced work-family life, Econet had invested in staff spouse lines that the company funded, regular employee wellness workshops and frequent disease screening, to help staff pick out diseases and conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure, so that they can be treated early on.
Mboweni also spoke about the Econet Employee League Games – held among the Econet Group of companies locally and regionally – and the Victoria Falls Marathon – as parts of the company’s wellness programme that were popular with employees.
His remarks come one month after Econet sponsored the Victoria Falls Marathon, a large event that has become a top calendar item with many people across boarders,attracting more than 2.500 athletes and fitness enthusiast from over 40 countries around the world.
The company sponsors any of its employees and their families wishing to participate in the marathon, which is now in its 11th year.