The Employee Wellness division is intrinsic to the Telkom employee value proposition in terms of optimising wellness and the workplace in the company.
The division has the following functional disciplines:
- Physical Wellness
- HIV/AIDS Workplace Management
- Psycho-Social Wellness
- Financial and Socio-Economic Wellness
- Community and Social support involvement
- Safety Management
- Occupational Health and Hygiene Management
- Environmental Management
The common focus of these functional disciplines is embedded in the mitigation of business, human and social risks that can and may influence the individual employee and business performance of the company.
Telkom's Employee Wellness portfolio is manifested in a set of organisational and business drivers that dictate all strategies, interventions and programmes to achieve and sustain our statutory compliance but also in our endeavour to establish world class Employee Wellness and SHE best practices.
This is supportive of the HR strategic deliverables to "create and entrench a high performance customer centric culture" enabling high performance employees for business profitability. The Employee Wellness portfolio is fostering a value-added partnership with the company to enhance performance and productivity by engaging employees and establishing a conducive and vibrant workplace.
Our integrated approach to achieve above is embedded in our proven methodology to identify, interpret, mitigate and manage our Employee Wellness including Safety, Occupational Health and Environmental Management risks, hazards and impacts as defined by the relevant SHE statutory frameworks and the Telkom Integrated Health Profile.
The tactical interventions are focused to:
- Drive performance
- Enhance Employee Engagement and enhance "Employer of Choice" strategies
- Optimise Employee Workplace and Wellness
- Drive Statutory Compliance
- Ensure Effective Sustainability Reporting
- Drive poor performance out in terms of Disability and Absenteeism Management
- Enable Capability Management from Employee Wellness and SHE Legal perspective
- Sustain SHE Systems Accreditation
The functional disciplines will be highlighted in terms of focus, strategic deliverables and current or envisaged interventions/initiatives.Back to Top
Physical Wellness and Lifestyle Modification Programmes
The management health and wellness in Telkom is guided by the development and deployment of the Telkom Integrated Health Profile. Very pertinent of the Profile is that employee wellness and health is not managed in isolation of the business but as an integral part of the business drivers such as good corporate governance, social responsibility, productivity measures, sick absenteeism and cost - effectiveness of health and related services. These programmes have been branded as the Thuso Employee Wellness Programme.
All Wellness and Health interventions in Telkom are planned, designed and implemented on information generated from the Telkom Integrated Health Risk Profile. Some of the objectives pursued with this total wellness value offering includes, the promotion of employees physical, psychological health and wellbeing in a proactive manner, fostering of a climate conducive to employee engagement and morale and to promote sustainable Lifestyle changes and building resilience. With this unique and innovative concept we could ensure that we develop and implement a Total Employee Wellness Intervention that catered for all identified health and wellness risk in the workplace.
Interventions are implemented on a rotational basis whereby all sites and buildings are visited in a 18-21 month cycle based on identified risk factors. "Health Days" on site value offering includes the provision of Health Screening test e.g. cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar, body mass index (BMI), HIV and eye screening test (1820 employees for the period 2008). These "Health Days" are very successful and also includes e.g. neck and shoulder massages, industrial theatre shows focusing and share information on how to manage health and wellness in a proactive manner, audiometry and exhibition by various non-governmental organisations e.g. CANSA, SANCA, in alignment with National Health Days and others provides health, nutritional and dietary advice.
Health Screening test are conducted on-site at a Telkom venue by qualified external Health Practitioners in an atmosphere of confidentiality and privacy. These interventions have furthermore been reinforced through strong communication, awareness, education and prevention drives through varied mediums.
In order for the Thuso Team to sustain the roll-out achievements of the Thuso Wellness Programme in 2007 they were forced to be innovative and creative in taking the Thuso Programme, to functional areas where the rollout is inhibited due to functional job requirements and the nature of the physical environment in this areas such as the Telkom Direct Shops (TDS). With this in mind the Thuso Bus concept was created.
With this unique and innovative concept they could ensure the development and implementation of a Total Employee Wellness Intervention that catered for all identified health and wellness risk in the workplace through health risk assessments, HIV testing, eye screening, substance abuse awareness, cancer education, nutrition and dietary advise, health and stress awareness through educational theatre.
For the period 2007 - 2008 several Health Days took place nationally at identified Telkom offices, buildings, yards. These include remote and rural areas and to date 8 511 (4929 male and 3 582 female) employees participated in the on-site days for this period.
Another intervention that has been introduced in the Call and Contact Centre environment is Audiometry or screening for hearing impairment. This has been piloted at three sites where 380 employees were screened. The impact of hearing impairment on a Call Centre's operations in terms of data accuracy, customer communication and contact and overall effectiveness of the customer experience cannot be negated.
All physical wellness and lifestyle programmes are based on specific and substantive health and wellness risks as manifested in the Telkom Integrated Health Profile and data retrieved from interventions, the design and implementation of interventions are based on risks with the aim to optimise the impact on sick leave indices and other employee and company performance measures.Back to Top
Thuso HIV/AIDS Workplace Programme
Telkom has recognised since 1995 the impact of the HIVAIDS pandemic on the wellbeing of its employees and its business and are committed to the formal management of the disease in a pro-active manner. As with the implementation of all Health and Employee Wellness initiatives, a four-pronged approach was adopted by Telkom as methodological framework that focuses on awareness, education, prevention and support and care.
Since the inception of the Thuso HIV/AIDS Workplace Programme in October 2004 the programme has grown to one of the most acknowledged programmes in the country. This is substantiated by the fact that in 2008 the Global Business Coalitions (GBC) Annual Awards for Business Excellence was awarded to Telkom for its integrated Voluntary Counselling Testing and Treatment Programme (VCTT). This prestigious Award is given to companies that have demonstrated extraordinary commitments, actions and results in combating HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. The Award for Excellence furthermore showcases the approach and execution of a programme that have produced on-the-ground impact by saving lives and enhancing the health and well-being of people in the workplace. Fundamental to this was Telkom's commitment to provide required resources to implement the programme as a total employee wellness value offering.
Critical success factors of a Winning Programme:
We are proud of our achievements. Here are some of our critical success factors that were realised and tracked against set programme targets:
Our liberalised HIV/AIDS Workplace Policy
Our HIV/AIDS Workplace Policy can be describe as an inclusive encompassing document rather than a restrictive document that not only aligns our commitment to the broader legal framework, ensures fairness but also protects employers and employees' rights and responsibilities in the context of HIV/AIDS. The Policy furthermore informs employees about assistance that is available and encourages them to proactively participate in Voluntary Counselling Testing and Treatment services. The overall objective of this inclusive policy is to ensure that all employees, their spouses, partners, dependant children and contracted and temporary employees have unreserved access to the array of programme benefits from treatment to receiving anti-retrovirals free of charge. The Policy also encourages employees to lead a healthy life by taking ownership and responsibility for their health. The programme benefits are also available to widows and widowers of diseased Telkom employees.
Our dedicated Thuso Team
The Thuso HIV/AIDS Workplace Programme is located at the Telkom Employee Wellness division within Group Human Resources. The Programme is managed and implemented by the Thuso HIV/AIDS team consisting of 3 core members. The creation of capacity to rollout out the Thuso Employee Wellness and HIV/AIDS Workplace Programme with a company of Telkom's size and geographical dispersion requires planning in terms of resource capacity and skilled capabilities. This could only be achieved through the dedication, passion and commitment of the Thuso HIV/AIDS Team who with the support of the SHE team and other volunteers such as trained Peer Educators, Line volunteers ect. To date 18,855 of 28585 Telkom employees undergone Voluntary Counselling and Testing equating to an uptake of 66% in all nine provincial regions in South Africa, including more than 1600 Telkom sites/buildings/yardsBack to Top
The Provision of Post-Exposure Prophylaxis
Post-Exposure Prophylaxis are provided to employees and family members that were exposed to HIV infection via vehicle accidents, Injury on Duty Incidents, rape and assault cases, etc .Since the inception of the Programme, 42 post-exposure prophylaxis cases were treated. This protocol also includes Mother-to-Child Transmission treatment. Recently it was reported that 2 babies tested negative after the mothers received post-exposure prophylaxis to prevent "mother-to-child" transmission of the virus. However, zero tolerance is adopted to ensure confidentiality as per Telkom code of ethics and disciplinary procedures
Adherence to Confidentiality
The Thuso HIV/AIDS Workplace programme is an end-to end confidential service and evident to that, to date we had 0% breach in confidentiality. The appointment of an external service provider emphasizes our commitment and compliance to confidentiality and privacy guidelines in terms of testing and treatment protocols as well as to source the required expertise into Telkom from a chronic disease management and clinical case management perspective.
Destigmatisation of our Programme
Our workplace testing and counselling program is exemplary for its broad scale and its focus on destigmatise HIV with a zero tolerance for cases of stigmatisation, victimisation and discrimination. Another example of destigmitisation is the fact that the Thuso Programme is managed holistically across all spheres of health. Furthermore the integration of The VCT Programme as part of the total Thuso Employee Wellness intervention, combining it with health screening test e.g. cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar destigmatise the Voluntary Counselling and Testing component of the programme. Not singling out HIV testing lowered stigma and has influence the uptake of VCTT positively.
Our Voluntary Counselling and Testing and Treatment Programme (VCTT)
The Thuso HIV/AIDS Workplace Programme has establish a Chronic Disease Management Programme whereby HIV positive employees and family members as well as contract or temporary employees register via the Thuso Tollfree 24/7 Call Centre onto the programme and become eligible for full time case management benefits such as biological monitoring , psychological (EAP) counselling and other pathological laboratory testing.
Currently 704 employees, spouses and children are identified as HIV positive 512 (72.8%) identified via Voluntary Counselling and Testing (VCT) and 192 (27.2%) through self - identification.
There are 410 (58.2%) employees of the 704 infected patients registered on the Chronic Disease Management Programme (CDM). More than 73% of employees registered on the CDM are on the programme longer than 12 months.
A total of 143 people registered on the programme are not receiving any form of therapy via the Thuso Programme. These individuals are either with traditional healers, on governmental programmes or on external medical aid programmes.
The remaining population still has to register on the VCCTT programme or in a stage of denial. These individuals are contacted on a regular basis by the Thuso Call Centre in persuasion to register on the Thuso Programme
Our Thuso Wellness Champions Programme
As part of the awareness and education strategy, the Thuso Workplace Programme launched a Peer Education Programme with the aim of sharing information on the Thuso Programme and the HIV disease in the workplace and to act as a support base for infected or affected employees in the field. In an continued effort to improve the effectiveness of the Programme and to establish an integrated Thuso Wellness Champions Programme the roles and responsibilities of the Peer Educators will be extended to include wellness related awareness and education to support the Telkom Thuso Wellness Strategy. These Thuso Wellness Champions will be extensively used to change awareness and behaviour in all the chronic diseases of lifestyle and other health challenges
Our Thuso 24/7 Tollfree Call Centre - 0800 448 021
The Thuso 24/7 Tollfree Call Centre - 0800 448 021 is an integral part of the Thuso Wellness value offering providing employees as well as their family members a personal health advice helpline inclusive of VCTT case management, HIV/AIDS advice, post-exposure prophylaxis follow -up calls as well as request for Employee Assistance Service (EAS) for psychological counselling. The Call Centre services also includes regular follow - up calls by Call Centre Agents to employees who have tested HIV positive with the aim of developing an ongoing relationship with them and actively manage their condition. The total numbers of calls received by the Thuso Call Centre amounts for the period 2007 - 2008 amounts to 13 346 ( 7146 Outbound calls and 6200 Inbound calls).Back to Top
Thuso Wellness Employee Assistance Programme (EAP): Psycho-Social Wellness
Telkom values the vital contribution that all employees make to the success of the company. The provision of an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is a practical way of demonstrating that the company has a sincere interest in the mental and psycho-social wellness of its employees and provide a strong support to the value of its customer and employee centricity.
Personal problems are recognized as conditions, which can be overcome. The existence of the EAP encourages and assists employees with personal problems to seek help. Many of these difficulties, such as post traumatic stress, personal trauma, bereavement, emotional burnout, stress, depression, work, marital and family related problems, are responsive to treatment and curative psycho-social interventions. The EAP is therefore a programme through which employees may have access to professional assistance for a wide range of personal, interpersonal and work related concerns and challenges.
The EAP is further designed to encourage employees to take personal responsibility for their psycho-social health and wellness. Employees experiencing personal problems, which may affect their personal lives and work performance, can receive professional assistance from registered psychologists and social workers. The therapeutic interventions have a definite futuristic focus with an emphasis on personal responsibility, empowerment, self-initiative and prevention.
The programme also focuses on preventative interventions e.g. substance abuse awareness programmes, stress management workshops, critical incident management and emotional and financial resilience enablement programmes for Line Management and Human Resource Practitioners.
It is further positioned within the company to provide effective information and solutions to people management issues, thereby adding specific value to the company and the enhancement of the company's overall psycho-social health, wellness and employee performance.
Telkom's EAP contains the following key features:
- The EAP is available to all permanent and temporary employees and their immediate family members who have psycho-social problems which may directly or indirectly affect them personally and/or negatively influence their work performance.
- EAP service providers are available in all Telkom's regions.
- Requests for individual, group, and family therapy are addressed within 48 hours.
- Requests for trauma and crises therapy are addressed within 24 hours
- Emergency and critical incident therapy services are rendered within a confidential and supportive environment to individuals and/or groups e.g. post traumatic stress de-briefing sessions due to hi-jacking, robberies, physical and psychological abuse and violence, death, suicidal incidents and accidents.
- Specific psycho-educational preventative and enablement interventions e.g. stress management workshops are conducted on request.
- Enablement programs e.g. the handling of post traumatic stress after a traumatic event is presented to affected and/or interested groups.
- The EAP is aligned with Telkom's Thuso Wellness Program in the support of psycho-social health and HIV/AIDS related therapy and interventions.
- Self-referral or referral via a colleague, supervisor, manager, relative or friend of the employee who utilizes the EAP service will not negatively affect his/her job security, promotion, or any other company privilege.
- All employee information disclosed to the EAP is treated as confidential.
- Telkom will meet the cost of up to four sessions per employee/ family member in a given financial year. Telkom's approval for meeting additional costs is made on a case-by-case basis.
- Employees may not use the EAP to avoid the outcome of performance management procedures, or, for the breaching of the company's code of ethics and disciplinary procedures.
Due to the fact that the EAP, as integrated part of the total Thuso value offering, supports employees to manage and resolve their personal and work related problems, a solid and positive foundation is established for a healthy and productive workforce .The programme is therefore instrumental to ensure that Telkom's performance objectives, employee centricity and social accountability are achieved and maintained.
Financial and Socio-Economic Wellness
With the establishment of the Telkom Integrated Health Management Profile the motivation was to manage the Physical, Psychological and Socio-Economical Wellness of Telkom employees in an integrative manner.
Current economical pressures such as the rise in interest rates, high cost of living and economical uncertainty are major contributing factors in influencing the psycho-social wellness of employees. Many of the presenting problems such as stress, depression, interpersonal and work related problems are actually caused by financial difficulties employees are experiencing.Back to Top
Community and Social support involvement
Thuso Programme extended into communities
The Thuso HIV/AIDS Workplace Programme aligns itself annually with the National World AIDS Day Programme on 1 December. For 2008 Telkom's World AIDS Day Campaign themed "Touch someone life" - Don't Hesitate Donate" was aligned with Telkom's Community and Social Support Initiatives, extended beyond the boundaries of Telkom, and its employees to include the broader communities we serve as a Company. Telkom employees generously participated in a goodwill drive nationally at various Telkom sites, buildings and offices collecting clothes, toiletries, non- perishable foods, toys, blankets etc. This was donated to 23 regional identified HIV/AIDS Havens, orphanages, non governmental organisations and old age homes. The identified organisations provided a much needed service to vulnerable and orphaned children, families in need, the elderly and those affected and infected by HIV and AIDS, cancer and other related diseases. The response has been exceptional and all the donated goods which included clothes, non perishables, baby goods, toys, stationery, clothes, electronic equipment, household items etc. were delivered to the identified institutions during early December 2008.
A key output of our Thuso Peer and Champions Programme is to extend through awareness, education and support the programme into communities in participation with local institutions, orphanages, hospices, church congregations, etc.Back to Top