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HUG. The Holistic Employee Wellness Solution #TheRealEPICStory

Kirsty Marrs |29, April, 2022

We asked Richard Doig all about what he has been working on, with his grant funding from the EPIC challenge fund and how HUG addresses a common workplace problem.

HUG was developed to solve a specific gap in the market – how to understand the wellness, both mental and physical, of any size work force and to incorporate elements beyond engagement as often measured by existing employee surveys.

This comes in the form of an online employee workplace platform, which has been built from the ground up to be fully anonymous, to remove barriers to completion and instill trust to the employee completing the surveys built into the resource. This will enable business executives to understand, using the comprehensive anonymised data, how healthy, happy and engaged their personnel are, in real time.

HUG is about supporting relationships within a business. In order to effectively engage a person, you need to understand not only their motivations at work, but their wellbeing inside and outside of the office too. This is why HUG focuses on four different and distinct modules; engagement at work, mental health, lifestyle and financial health.

It could be that an employee is struggling with a debt problem which is affecting their concentration 9 to 5, but they don’t know where to turn for help. HUG will incorporate signposting to resources for self-help based on their feedback, or to encourage communication with specialists.

As it is entirely anonymous and no personal details held, the team hope that the platform will remove the barriers to honesty and complacency, which typically occur in employee led surveys. The standout point for the platform is that it is employee centric and although it will help improve productivity and retain talent for the employer, its driven entirely from a people based focus.

The modules are based on tried and tested, psychologically proven ways to derive a genuine response and stimulate engagement with the questionnaires, and by gaining these insights it will enable bespoke, personalised interventions and user guidance as well as full reporting with a company wide view of the workforce.

Do 10% of employees feel like they need more training in order to complete their job satisfactorily? Do 20% of employees feel that they have no one to turn to about personal problems? Do any employees feel as if weight loss would help them to improve their performance at work?

By considering these markers business wide holistic guidance can be developed in order to address the needs of those in their workforce, and help to understand what is common across other workplaces. 17% of staff who do not feel valued day to day would highlight a need for improvement, and by drilling down into the modules anonymised responses HUG could highlight some clear actions for resolution.

Crucially, the platform has been designed and priced with any size business in mind, without excluding start-up companies, SMEs and businesses under 5000 employees which are often overlooked – but also very common within Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.

Richard Doig, co-founder and CEO, admits that one of his considerations for the future is that the company and its ideas could be acquired or imitated, by a larger company which then excludes these smaller prospects and clients from helping their workers, which is why it is crucial that these innovations are from the button up and the people who will benefit most, be considered in every stage of the process.

Although, future iterations of the product will not just be for the traditional workforce, this could be rolled out to teachers, nurses and even school children and residents in care homes or rehabilitation programs, to understand individuals’ needs and promote work life balance and training opportunities. It enables true understanding of end user needs in order to customise care.

HUG’s sights are not just set on Cornwall, and the UK. The platform could be rolled out internationally, in multiple languages, and focused on national self-help resources to ensure that individual voices are heard, the world over.

Read more about hug on their website: