Who Are China’s Healthiest Employers?

The inaugural China Healthiest Company Award reveals how targeted strategies, a supportive company culture, and passionate leadership make an employer’s health management programs stand out.

A fun sports day at Perfect World (PHOTO: Courtesy of Mercer China)

Imagine this at your workplace: Seeking advice for dealing with your elevated blood sugar and chronic back pain, you stop by an onsite health center to see a nurse practitioner. Then, you and your co-workers sit in a guided meditation session, which takes you back to the carefree childhood years. Your stress melts away, and your body and mind are refreshed.

You are not in Silicon Valley. This is taking place at two of China’s private companies, Huawei and Perfect World, who are the inaugural winners of 2016–2017 China Healthiest Company, together with Shanghai Disney Resort.

Well-being with a strategy

The award, the first of its kind ever presented in mainland China, is the brainchild of a leading talent, health, and benefits consulting firm Mercer China. One hundred and twenty-nine companies and 15,000 employees participated in 2016.

Investing resources to focus on employee health issues and implementing targeted strategies are the main reasons why these three companies have been crowned, says Sean Ye, a marketing director at Mercer Marsh Benefits. “The winners all collect employee health data and analyze them, so they are able to design and roll out strategic programs,” Ye says.

Half of the employees surveyed by Mercer China said they were suffering from stress. Perfect World, an online video game and entertainment developer, has implemented a CEPP concept: to integrate corporate Culture, work Environment, Physical health, and Psychological health to give employees holistic support.

Perfect World’s counseling room is called “The Perfect Life Coaching Room”. (PHOTO: Courtesy of Mercer China)

Its Employee Assistance Program (EAP) was introduced in 2012, with a focus on one-on-one counseling, family fests, and company retreats at home and abroad between June and October. The face-to-face counseling program, launched five years ago, is a partnership with the Institute of Psychology at the Chinese Academy of Sciences. It is confidential, voluntary, and open to all employees and their immediate family members free of charge. The counseling room, called “The Perfect Life Coaching Room,” is located right in the office building.

“Perfect World has found that in-person counseling is more effective than the EAP hotline,” because of a perceived stigma that might come from calling, Ye says.

“The Perfect Life Coaching Room” assisted 122 employees and their families with emotion management, personal development, interpersonal relationships, workplace issues, and child rearing. According to Perfect World, compared to non-participants, attendance and performance increased by 25% and 98% among counseling participants, and the turnover rate decreased by 57%.

“If companies can find breakthroughs in one or two areas, their health management plans won’t necessarily cost them an arm and a leg,” Ye tells Thrive Global. “We assumed that foreign companies in China were doing a good job introducing health programs to enhance their employees’ well-being, but the fact that more and more local private enterprises are offering distinctive workplace programs has surprised us.”

Huawei, which landed the top spot of China’s top 500 private companies in 2016, employs 176,000 people in over 170 countries and regions for a total of 16 research and development centers across the world. The company’s silver bullet is its comprehensive and global health management platform called iHealth, available online and mobile.

Huawei has received an accolade for its company-wide health management platform iHealth. (PHOTO: Courtesy of Mercer China)

Employees are able to make physical examination appointments, upload checkup reports to compare health data, seek personal health advice from professional medical teams, review hospital vendors, check event announcements, and receive wellness tips on lifestyle, travel, and urgent care. Last year, Huawei opened seven iHealth Centers at its research centers in Beijing, Nanjing, Shanghai, Hanghzou, Wuhan, Chengdu, and Xi’an.