Focusing on employee fitness

Economy June 15, 2012 00:00

By Pichaya Changsorn
The Nation

3,171 Viewed

How SCG is taking care of its staff


Taking corporate culture to the centre stage, SCG has opted for self-insurance and to manage its employees’ healthcare welfare benefit plan, rather than handing the risks and administrative tasks to insurers.
Human resource director Kiti Madiloggovit cited two major reasons why SCG has opted for the self-funded employee healthcare welfare plan: first, it has a no-cap reimbursement policy that discourages insurers; and second, its determination to maintain a corporate culture that the company, its HR, managers and supervisors personally take care of the physical and mental well-being of their staff.
SCG provides a Bt15,000 yearly allowance for out-patient department (OPD) expenses to every employee, and subsidises half of the actual expenses beyond Bt15,000, with no upward cap. Because of this unlimited payout, no insurer dares to submit a bid to the company, he said.
“Furthermore, we take this as an employee relation and strategic HR matter. Thanks to this self-insurance policy, staff come to consult us and we will know their problems,” he said.
Kiti said SCG’s employer-provided medical bills totalled Bt650 million in 2011, similar to spending in previous years, which ranged from Bt600 million to Bt650 million. These figures counted only SCG staff based in Thailand, totalling 28,000 people because overseas staffs are subjected to different health benefit plans. 
“Taking into account the fact that hospital charges have been rising every year, our [employer-provided healthcare] costs have effectively been declining,” said the SCG HR chief in a recent interview with reporters. 
To keep pace with Thailand’s soaring medical costs, SCG made a major revamp of its employee healthcare benefit welfare early this year. The group also extended its OPD allowance to cover staff parents as a few years ago, following complaints from young-generation staff that they made little personal use of the healthcare benefit coverage. The allowance sum is kept at the fully-funded Bt15,000 per head, plus the 50 per cent subsidy on additional expenses, but staff can share the allowance portion with parents.  
Kiti attributed SCG’s flat healthcare bills partly to its efforts to promote health and fitness consciousness among its staff, in particular its “Fit for  Work-Fit for Life” campaign, which was first introduced in 2006 when the current CEO and president Kan Trakulhoon took over as chief executive. The “Fit for Work-Fit for Life” programme includes a physical fitness test conducted by the Sports Science Faculty of Kasetsart University, stress test, antioxidant test, and consultation with physicians, nutritionists, and physical therapists.
Kiti said average physical test scores of SCG executives have improved from 64 per cent in 2006 to 75 per cent last year, while eligible participants have been expanded from managing director level and up – which totalled 170-180 people – to include two lower layer levels and up – 563 people – during the same period.
“In 2006, there was no top executive from the level of MD and up who achieved the excellence score (85 per cent and up), but there were seven executives who were rated in the poor range of 45 to 54 per cent. However, last year, four were rated excellent while nobody was rated poorly,” he said.
Kiti said communication and company leaders being “role models”are among the key success factors of the campaign, which emphasises positive change and rewards to individuals’ improvements. The company’s CEO, he said, has “emotionally” been devoted and gave high importance to employees’ mental and physical well-being. 
“Khun Kan took this as an emotional issue. He knew some executives who were diagnosed with cancer after retiring from the company, who should otherwise have been enjoying their post-retirement lives. Regular medical checkups did not trace cancer in the executives. 
“This has prompted Kan to place importance on preventive healthcare in the group,” he said. 
Exercising regularly, Kan, 57, has always kept his fitness scores at 90 per cent or above. Meanwhile, Kiti said the average waistline of SCG executives, from the department director level and up, has decreased by 2 centimetres – from 88cm in 2008 when they were included in the “Fit for Work-Fit for Life” programme for the first time, to 86cm last year.