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PhonePe’s Blueprint for Cultivating a Culture of Happiness and Employee Wellbeing

Sampurna Mitra|4 min read|10 October, 2023

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At PhonePe, we recognize the paramount importance of our employees’ mental health, understanding that they are our most valuable assets. It is with this unwavering commitment that we proudly introduced the Employee Wellbeing and Assistance Program (EWAP) in 2021, in collaboration with our trusted partner, Silver Oak Health.

Holistic Approach to Employee Wellbeing: What EWAP Offers

EWAP, with a usage rate of 2%, boasts an impressive following, significantly surpassing the industry average of 0.5%.

At the core of EWAP lies an online portal, serving as the gateway to a wealth of mental health resources. Here’s a sneak peek into the array of offerings accessible to our employees through this program:

  • Counselling Services: Our program offers employees the option to schedule private and confidential counselling sessions with certified professionals. Additionally, employees can connect with our counsellors via phone or chat, guaranteeing them a secure and welcoming environment to navigate the challenges they face.
  • Proactive Digital Programs: Within EWAP, we provide access to a variety of digital resources, including the “Stress Control Online” program, an 8-week cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) course designed to enhance employee stress resilience and foster healthier stress management techniques. Additionally, the program encourages mindfulness practices through the “Tranquil Mindfulness App”, designed for users of all experience levels. Offering both guided and unguided tracks, it fosters daily mindfulness practices to enhance overall mental wellbeing.
  • Self-Help Section: Within the portal, employees can find a wealth of resources, which includes blogs, articles, case studies, soothing audio tracks, calming videos, assessments, motivational content, and an interactive “Ask A Therapist” section. This treasure trove of information is readily available for employees eager to strengthen their mental wellbeing.
  • Peer Support Groups: Building connections with colleagues and peers facing similar challenges can offer invaluable support. EWAP facilitates the formation of peer support groups, creating a sense of community and empathy among employees.
  • Wellness & Beyond: EWAP goes beyond addressing mental health concerns by extending its support to overall wellness. This comprehensive program encompasses a range of non-insured benefits and services. Let’s take a closer look at these in the next section.

Fostering Employee Wellbeing Beyond Mental Health

PhonePe walks the extra mile, providing benefits that actively support physical health — a fundamental pillar of overall wellbeing.

These benefits include:

  • Gym and Fitness Classes: Our program includes coverage for gym and fitness class memberships, as well as admission fees for self-defence classes such as Karate, Kickboxing, Martial Arts, and others. We understand that maintaining an active body is fundamental to nurturing a healthy mind.
  • Gym and Sporting Equipment: EWAP encourages employees to lead an active lifestyle by subsidising the expenses for gym and sporting equipment. This encompasses items such as bicycles, weights, strength training equipment, treadmills, as well as sports gear like badminton rackets and cricket equipment.
  • Nutrition Counselling: We provide employees with the opportunity to access nutrition counselling and consultations with registered dieticians. We recognize that maintaining a balanced diet is paramount to overall health.
  • Condition Management Program: EWAP offers support to employees dealing with specific health conditions such as diabetes, weight management, and hypertension. This encompasses covering the expenses for consultations with wellness coaches, physicians, dieticians, fitness experts, and psychologists, as well as the provision of essential equipment like blood pressure monitors and Fitbit devices.

Talking about PhonePe’s EWAP and reimbursements benefits focused on employee wellbeing, Manmeet Sandhu, Head of HR adds, “As an integral part of EWAP, our diverse array of initiatives is centred around our employees’ wellbeing and growth. We firmly believe that in order to foster innovation within our company, it’s essential that every employee feels secure and knows their needs will be taken care of. This sense of security empowers individuals to bring their utmost talents to the workplace. As a company, we place significant emphasis on prioritising the mental health and overall wellbeing of our employees, a dedication we wholeheartedly intend to sustain in the future.

Approximately 10% of PhonePe employees utilise the reimbursement facility within the Employee Wellbeing Assistance Program.

Cultivating Employee Wellbeing Through Workplace Flexibility

Alongside these valuable resources and benefits, PhonePe fully supports flexible work arrangements, empowering employees to effectively balance their professional and personal lives.

Contemplating flexible work arrangements, particularly for new mothers, Priyanka Suri, Product Management — Tech at PhonePe, comments, “I’m a new mother and initially, I was apprehensive about returning to work after witnessing the challenges my fellow mothers faced. Many had to choose between their careers and their child’s well-being due to a lack of flexibility and support. Flexible work options at PhonePe have been a game-changer for me. I consider myself fortunate to be part of an organisation, supported by understanding managers and HR, who prioritise my physical, mental health and have given the opportunity to prioritise my family’s well-being. This balance has not only boosted my overall well-being but has also empowered me to excel in both my personal and professional life, all while contributing effectively to the organisation’s success. PhonePe’s flexibility has truly transformed my work-life balance for the better.”

Uplifting Employee Happiness Through ‘Happy Hour’ Initiatives

Going beyond the realm of mental and physical wellbeing initiatives, PhonePe has cultivated a vibrant culture centred on happy hour initiatives to enhance the overall happiness of its employees.

Elaborating on the myriad of diverse initiatives PhonePe conducts for its people, Rajesh Radhakrishnan, Chief Fun Officer, adds, “As the Chief Fun Officer, my mission has been to infuse our workplace with energy and camaraderie. When PhonePe first started, everyone was laser-focused on getting the app off the ground, and while productivity soared, we realised the need for a different kind of balance. Our journey began with activities like hackathons and quizzes, but we soon expanded to create new experiences. The SportsFest, which predates the pandemic, became a cornerstone event, uniting the entire PhonePe family. When the pandemic hit, we adapted swiftly. Daily ‘Happy Hour’ sessions featured a range of activities to suit different interests. We’ve always believed in organic growth. We support employee-driven initiatives, from photography and dance clubs to language classes. These clubs empower our team to lead and enjoy activities close to their hearts. PhonePe’s commitment to employee wellbeing goes beyond mere words. It’s a testament to our dedication to creating a vibrant, inclusive, and enjoyable workplace.”

In conclusion, PhonePe’s holistic approach to employee wellbeing, including our diverse recreational initiatives, creates a thriving workplace where personal and professional growth harmoniously coexist.

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