07 Oct 2020

Banyan Tree Group Prioritises Mental Wellbeing For Customers And Associates Alike

Banyan Tree Group Prioritises Mental Wellbeing For Customers And Associates Alike

Banyan Tree Group rolls out 3 pioneering groupwide initiatives to promote wellbeing, particularly mental wellbeing, during Covid and beyond. Ahead of World Mental Health Day 2020, it advocates for more corporate leaders to invest in mental health and align to WHO’s call to action to redress the historical neglect of this area.

With the ongoing pandemic and its ensuing uncertainty, mental health conditions are rising across the globe. WHO data has shown that 25% of the global population is affected by a mental disorder, while mental, neurological and substance use disorders exact a high toll on ill-health outcomes. There has been an alarming spike in symptoms of anxiety and depression due to the cumulative stress of the pandemic’s effect on lives and livelihoods.

“As the first step towards a journey of recovery and building resilience, we have prioritised mental wellbeing and the skills of effective self-care. While this was an initiative we conceived of pre-Covid, the pandemic has only elevated its importance. Anxiety levels are at an all-time high globally. We are in an industry that continues to be severely affected. As leaders, it’s our job to help alleviate that for our teams at this time. Simply, we can only look after our guests when we look after our associates,” said Ms Ho Renyung, Vice President of Brand HQ, Banyan Tree Holdings.

As an inside-out journey, the Group’s people-first approach led it to revamp its groupwide training modules to express its service culture of ‘I am with you’. Leaning on tenets of empathy, positive psychology and mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR), the modules build in an experiential learning and facilitative approach. Led by the Banyan Tree Management Academy and Wellbeing teams, this is an internal learning revolution that promotes resilience, self-awareness, and self-care.

In addition, the Group is laying the groundwork to support associates’ wellbeing with the launch of Project T, a tele-therapy service which partners with likeminded externally-certified wellbeing practitioners. Strictly confidential and available in English, Chinese and Thai languages, associates benefit from complimentary professional sessions to learn stress management techniques, to apply at work and in their personal life.

During this time, the Group has also pivoted its usual annual associate surveys to focus more on individual wellbeing. After a successful pilot in July, it will roll out an Organisational Wellbeing Index for all its associates globally in the end of the year. The index, with a set of 64 questions on lifestyle practices, is based on Banyan Tree’s eight pillars of wellbeing: sleep, dietary awareness, interaction, intimacy ​& involvement, physical vitality, cultivating the mind, learning & development, harmony with nature and sustained practices. The pilot survey had shown that associates scored high in relationship and the practice of virtues while sleep and physical fitness are two key areas for improvement. Based on each property’s overall results pinpointing employees’ wellbeing, headquarters will provide guidelines, trainingand activities for implementation. Whilst much of the wellness industry mentions new technologies, trends and products people must have to live well, it is the conscious practice of these simple basics, underpinned by helpful technology, that makes the personal journey of wellbeing truly sustainable.

Ms Ho, added: “We all have stress in our life and we need a culture that is open to how we collectively and individually address that.There is no question that mental wellbeing is a vital component in building a resilient global workforce of the future. We have only just started this journey, but the feedback has been very positive. In sharing this, we hope more corporate leaders will focus on this area, especially in Asia.”