Company Culture and Employee Wellness with Sar Castillo

Company Culture & Employee Wellness with Sar Castillo
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Celebrated writer Paulo Coehlo once said “Culture makes people understand each other better. And if they understand each other better in their soul, it is easier to overcome the economic and political barriers. ”

This is also true in a work environment. People who work together and value the practices their company or team work productively. 

But do you agree that a company culture may make or break an employee’s wellbeing? 

In this episode of Level Up!, we say culture is important and so is your wellbeing. We are with one of the country’s best HR experts, Sar Castillo, who shares with us his thoughts on how company culture can make or break your employee wellness efforts.

What is Employee Wellness?    

According to definitions given by well-known HR websites, employee wellness is designed to nurture employees no matter where they are within the corporate structure or the environment in which they may work. 

For the general public, it may seem that it is done by HR practitioners as easy as 1-2-3. But Sar, who has been in the industry for more than two decades now, underscores that planning and managing an employee wellness program is a crucial part in their department as the journey of an employee begins here. 

For him, employee wellness alone is holistic. An employee wellness program for your people should involve all the aspects of an individual– from the physical being, emotional, mental and even financial health.  

 

Employee benefits are a thing

Just like in any journey, the first step is the most essential. So one thing that employers should work on when designing its employee wellness program is the benefits package they offer during recruitment. 

For Sar, this is what employees who apply in companies really look out for as this signifies the values that the company supports. 

During his time as an HR practitioner, he shared that he has seen the change in trends in how people want to be valued and be taken care of in their work. 

Nowadays, applicants are now being extra careful in entering a partnership with the company. 

He tells us that before the pandemic started, “It’s really been (about) physical wellness. It would be brought up during APE. Or annual physical exams. So when you’re negotiating with HMO providers, you’re asking for exclusive checkups, you’re asking for a few add ons coverage. Mostly it’s really about health. We’ve also had financial wellness in the past where we invite financial consultants to come over and talk to our employees.”

“We actually did  a survey of nine thousand working Filipinos last year about what their priorities for bettering themselves would be, or self help would be and one of the top items was professional development specifically leadership training,” our host, Jenn Simons adds.

 

Employer branding is key 

But what really is the defining factor that people think of in choosing a company to work with?

As an HR expert who has seen what’s in and has gone out of the trend, Sar stressed a relevant point that employers should establish to all its employees–their ‘branding’ to its applicants as well during the hiring process. 

“If their benefit (package) is  exactly the same, what becomes the differentiating factor for you as an employer? Why should employee A choose to join your company versus employee B? It becomes the battle of morale.”

 

…and so is company culture 

And of course, when the employee is finally a part of the company, Sar enthusiastically says that company culture is the next thing that an employee observes and tests when deciding if they want to stay. 

“Leaders define the culture. Whether they want to or not. Their leadership style, what they bring on to the table, how they talk to employees, how they not talk to employees, how they lead in the trenches,” he shared. 

If your employee sees that you’re one who lives out the values your company says they have, then it is most likely that your employee appreciates the company more.

He presented two notable things that good employees value over all: 

One is work-life balance. It’s a big idea that’s been discussed for years now and brought to a larger dimension as the world lives through the Covid 19 pandemic.  The second is that leadership development remains a top priority – self development is always a priority investment for the kind of employees you want to keep. 

Simply put, employee wellness is achieved with your company culture, demonstrated by your leaders, and carried out by the employee benefits that an organization provides to its hard working employees.  

Listen to the episode below to hear the whole conversation.

About the guest: Sar Castillo is a Senior Marine People Manager for the Philippines for Maersk. He has been in the industry for 22+ years specializing in HR Partnering, Talent Management, Performance Management, Culture Building, and Leading Change in the following industries: Manufacturing, Tech, IT & Consulting Services, and most recently, in Retail, and Customer Service.

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