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Zumba, Calm, and volunteerism add to GE’s support program for mental health

A decade-old support program at GE Healthcare Philippines proved its value over the pandemic and the recent string of natural disasters. “The program is well utilized across the organization, including in the Philippines,” said Michaelangelo Chebat, GE Healthcare Philippines country manager. “I know of employees who have used it during COVID-19 and when their families were impacted by local typhoons.”

GE’s Employee Assistance Program provides free and confidential guidance and specialist support on issues such as family conflict, substance use disorder, and depression. 

To augment the program, the global medical technologies provider formed a committee to organize activities that help its nearly 100-strong workforce stay mentally strong and motivated. These initiatives include daily check-ins, weekly committee calls for cross-business alignment, regular e-mail on safety precautions, employee care packages (a mix of savory and sweet food items in keeping with the holiday theme), learning sessions on how to make work-from-home setups productive, and virtual group options like Zumba classes, and two-way dialogues on Viber group chats. 

Filipino employees have recently taken to sending in photos of their new pandemic hobbies like gardening and cooking. Company-wide challenges encourage employees to commit to a specific health action, with annual subscriptions to the meditation app Calm as additional motivation.

Crotonville, GE’s global leadership institute, has regional outposts that organize location-specific development courses to build employees’ technical and functional skills. Affinity networks such as the Women’s Network and Diversity Network are likewise available for those who wish to connect to other GE employees with common backgrounds, experiences, and interests.

The GE Volunteers Network, in particular, is for those who wish to give back in places where the company does business, or where help is needed the most. Earlier this year, a group of Filipino volunteers distributed food packs to medical frontliners in Cardinal Santos Hospital, Philippine Heart Center, the National Kidney & Transplant Institute, Muntinlupa Hospital, and Pasig General Hospital.

“Talent is critical because our people are the most important assets to GE Healthcare’s business, which is to improve and save lives,” said Mr. Chebat. “How our employees are feeling emotionally and mentally, and how connected they feel to the company’s purpose, will reflect in their interactions with our customers and patients.” —  Patricia B. Mirasol

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