Monday, December 04
03:33 AM

INTERVIEW: ‘Employee wellbeing is taking centre stage in all organisations’


Muscat – Arul Savio Pinto is a senior human resources professional with extensive experience in the tech startup landscape, having worked with early-stage startups as well as large global organisations. His extensive experience stretches across organisational design and development, business partnering, strategic resourcing and planning, coaching and mentoring, employee development and performance management.

Pinto is highly skilled in creating compelling employee value propositions, establishing new HR functions, and aligning people management strategies with business objectives. He has vast international exposure having been instrumental in setting up offices and development centres across the Middle East, North Africa, Europe, Canada and China.

Pinto will be speaking at the Wellbeing at Work Middle East Summit which will take place during February 21-23, 2022 in Dubai and will also be available virtually across the region.

As a leader based in the Middle East region, what are the main challenges you are facing when it comes to employee wellbeing?

There are some challenges leaders in the region continue to grabble with on a regular basis when it comes to employee wellbeing. Here are some I would like to highlight:

As more and more employees are working from home, the future of work has become increasingly sedentary with usual physical activities such as going to the gym or walking to work being disrupted.

The COVID-19 pandemic has created an even more uncertain environment for both employers and employees, resulting in a lot of financial stress which in turn is severely impacting productivity at the organisations.

Lastly, another challenge they are facing is managing and applying wellbeing-related initiatives across a wider geographical spread and ensuring all employees can access and utilize the initiatives, regardless of their location or work environment.

What strategies have you seen developing in the region over the past 6-12 months during the pandemic to address health and wellbeing in the workplace?

With wellbeing now taking a centre stage in all the organisations, leaders in the region have been majorly focusing on physical wellbeing, career wellbeing, financial wellbeing and purpose-driven wellbeing.

Physical wellbeing: A growing number of employers have made physical wellness a priority and created a host of corporate activity challenges at work. Today, physical encompasses many aspects including exercise, sleep, overall lifestyle, and food choices.

Career wellbeing: The pandemic has led a growing number of employees to re-evaluate their career goals and re-think the job they want moving forward. As employers focus on attracting and more importantly retaining talent, this has meant, increased compensation, enhanced learning and development programs, developing new internal talent mobility opportunities, and online coaching and resilience training to help employees deal with massive disruptions and new ways of working.

Financial wellbeing: The uncertainty of the pandemic has caused a lot of financial stress which in turn is impacting their productivity, their health, and their relationships. More and more employers have begun offering financial management workshops, emergency funds, tailored compensation packages to reduce the amount of time employees spend worrying about their financial situation.

Purpose-driven wellbeing: Employees’ desire to work for organisations whose values align with their own is more and more becoming important criteria in selecting a new employer. As the talent marketplace continues to heat up, organisations are rapidly realizing that employees increasingly want to work for a company whose values match their own.

Why is employee wellbeing so important to you personally?

The pandemic has given leaders increased visibility into the life struggles of their employees. I believe in today’s world workplace wellbeing relates to all aspects of working life – from the quality and safety of the physical environment, to how employees feel about their work, their working environment, to the climate at work and work organisation. The focus has shifted from just organisational issues to individual human life experiences and on wellbeing programs that help a person feel happy and stay healthy.

What are you looking forward to about the Wellbeing at Work Middle East Summit this year?

Employee wellbeing is one of most talked off subjects in the corporate world. I am looking forward to hearing from industry leaders their thoughts and engaging in some very meaningful discussions.

What is your vision for the workplace of the future, in terms of employee engagement, health and wellbeing?

There is no doubt that a workforce that is ‘well’ leads to increased productivity. Most organisations limit their wellbeing programmes to encouraging employees to live healthier lifestyles and provide a few initiatives around that. Wellbeing is not an isolated program or initiative. Employee wellbeing is purpose-driven and woven into the fabric of an organisation’s values and the employee experience. It needs to go beyond physical wellbeing and encompass, emotional wellbeing, financial wellbeing, career wellbeing and social wellbeing. Each dimension is unique and intertwined with the other.

The COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly influenced all areas of employees’ personal and professional lives. What are the key learnings from this period and what are your tips for supporting each other through uncertainty?

While the pandemic has influenced all aspects of work, the largest and most powerful impact has been on employee wellbeing. While most organisations did do something around employee wellbeing in the past it was largely limited to a few policies or week-long activities. The pandemic has not only got both employers and employees thinking about the impact that well-being brings to employees, their productivity, and the organisation at large. Organisations have realized that employee wellbeing goes well beyond physical wellbeing and encompasses all aspects of an employee’s life.

How has your organisation been leading the way over the last 12 months?

We have begun to look beyond physical wellbeing and have taken initiatives around career wellbeing, financial wellbeing and social wellbeing. Cliché as it may sound, we have started creating happy workplaces for happy employees.

(Muscat Daily is the media partner of the Wellbeing at Work Middle East Summit. Readers can get a 25 per cent discount on tickets, use offer code MUSCAT25 and visit

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