One of Asia's leading financial institutions, UOB has put forward a slew of mental health and wellness support measures for its 26,000-strong workforce amidst this challenging period dominated by COVID-19. This includes support and outreach for employees based in both Singapore and Malaysia. 

Top of the list are digital courses for managers to care for their employees who may face anxiety, as well as a dedicated hotline which employees can call should they feel the need to speak to a mental health professional. 

Speaking exclusively to Human Resources Online, Dean Tong, Head, Group Human Resources, UOB highlighted the following key programmes:

1. Minimising anxiety through care packages and initiatives

The team made it a point to show its care and gratitude to employees in several ways, for instance by reducing the daily number of hours worked where possible, and giving them an extra day of paid leave so they could attend to their family commitments. The team also distributed a box of 50 face masks to each colleague for their personal use.

2. Building mental resilience through virtual training

Given the anxiety employees may feel due to the pandemic, the team made sure to emphasise the importance of mental health amongst employees. This was done through an online programme which provided practical steps to build mental resilience and a growth mindset. In just one week, the team saw more than 400 employees attend one of its virtual trainings, “Building Mental Resilience during Covid-19”.

Such online sessions have been well-attended, with employees noting how they helped them in managing their own mental health. In fact, after we launched the first module on building mental resilience on 23 April, we have since held two virtual sessions.

 In addition, through regular digital communications, we offer additional tips and access to resources to support their overall well-being, such as ways to manage stress and feeling overwhelmed, and how to encourage a positive mindset.

3. Connecting employees people to a support network

As the country practises safe distancing, the bank has helped employees stay connected effectively, equipping them to support each other better during this trying time - for one, with a digital course that offers managers tangible steps to care for and manage anxiety in their teams.

Apart from that, the bank is developing a training programme together with the Centre For Effective Living, a mental wellness consultancy, which will provide a platform for staff to provide support to their peers during this period. In addition, the team has a dedicated mental health hotline run by Raffles Medical Group, which employees can call should they need to speak with a professional.

In line with these initiatives, Dean Tong shared more:

Q How many employees do these initiatives reach out to, and which regions?

Our programme on mental resilience is designed to equip more than 26,000 colleagues across our global network with the tools and resources to help them manage their mental health and to support their well-being during these challenging times. Understanding that each market is diverse and nuanced, we have worked with partners within each country to ensure that the resources are relevant to our colleagues across the different countries and in local languages.

For example, we have put together a virtual training on “Building Mental Resilience during COVID-19” for our colleagues in Singapore to learn practical steps on building mental resilience. In addition, we provide our colleagues with other resources such as guiding those who may want to seek professional help to the Health Promotion Board’s Healthy Mind Helpline.

In Malaysia, we developed bite-sized virtual learning content to guide our colleagues in practising self-appreciation and self-care. We have also worked with Naluri Healthcare, a digital therapeutics company, to set up a UOB Careline to provide our colleagues with professional counselling services.

Across the Group, we have curated digital learning resources on building mental resilience, managing stress and achieving work-life balance, which are accessible any time and anywhere through LinkedIn Learning.

Q Looking ahead, any plans in the pipeline to further these initiatives?

Mental health will remain a priority for us as part of caring for our people’s welfare. We will continue to provide our people with the resources and support that they need to care for their mental health and that of their colleagues.


With inputs from Priya Sunil

Photo / iStock