A Chat with Melis Abacıoğlu, Founder at Employee Wellbeing Platform: Wellbees

Wellbees is a one-stop-shop for all things employee wellbeing. HR departments that have introduced Wellbees into their organisations are reporting a saving in both time and money of 82%.

What does it mean to be a one-stop-shop?  To us, it means addressing all wellbeing areas and all layers of the organisation, allowing for employees who are ready to make changes and those who want to learn a little more.

1.    Since every team member is unique, their needs will be unique. Mental health might be the popular wellbeing topic today but individual’s needs will vary all the time which is why we address all eight segments of wellbeing: physical, spiritual, emotional, financial, social, environmental, intellectual, occupational

2.    We do not believe that it is only the employee’s or the HR’s responsibility to make themselves “well”.  It should be a collective effort where line managers, C-suite, the Board should come together to create an environment that can create a wellbeing culture within the company. This is why Wellbees is a 360 platform. Employees can open challenges, events, clubs for each other to foster this culture

3.    Finally, this is a question of assisting people in their journeys. Not everyone is going to be at the same place in this behavior change adventure. Thus, giving employees only access to coaches or only meditations is not going to work. A multi-layered approach is needed. Wellbees serves the entire change funnel: supporting people from the “unaware and not ready to act”, to the “ready to change” by offering various functions including but not limited to wellbeing content, social interactions, experts, and more!

Wellbees - Employee Wellbeing Platform

How did you come up with the idea for the company?


Rewind to 2012. I am overworked, unhappy, looking out my window in Frankfurt where I am opening a hospital for a chain. I was experiencing depression for around a month and was not sure where to begin to address the issue. I thought going into healthcare and “healing” people would be the right fit for me. It was not. I wanted to help people thrive not merely be OK. It was then when I started to look for a way to help myself.

I always loved exercise. It was a way for me to recharge. So I started getting ready for a marathon. That got me out of the state I was in. Sports helped me, so I was sure it could help others. So I imported pedometers from Holland. Pedometers were hot then! I thought I was going to spread my very own “cure” to everyone by selling these pedometers. Yet… no one bought them! Literally, not a single pedometer was sold.

Day after day I was thinking my entrepreneur life was ending even before it started and had to find a solution. I thought why not try to sell these to a corporate company and explore that route. The first meeting I held was with a huge bank. Today I am still thinking how on earth they gave me a chance with the email I sent them.

When I went there they said ” Melis this is great but can you organise a run for us? We are not interested in the pedometers”. So I did organise that run. In the meantime, I got other meetings with other companies. No one was interested in the devices but they wanted to have coaching sessions, psychologists on site, dietitian projects.

From there Wellbees was formed. There is a huge market there with $40 billion in employee wellbeing. I wrote my Masters thesis on the subject, got a training by BJFogg, the behavior change professor of Stanford University and now we are here today with 40 + clients.



How has the company evolved during the pandemic?


When COVID happened we already had the platform with product-market fit in place. It was only a matter of making sure that HR professionals also embraced the fact that this was the solution they were looking for.

Look and embrace they did: in the past 18 months we grew to over 40 clients, in 14 countries serving their 100K employees in seven languages.


What can we hope to see from Wellbees in the future?


Wellbees is about to close its investment round in the UK and turbo charge its growth. We want to become the one product synonymous with the category.

Our top three goals for the immediate future are to;

1.    Improve our already great algorithm so that our personalised suggestions to employees can help them even further. Currently employees who are socially connected on Wellbees show up to 15% more positive mood levels and those who consult with experts feel up to 12% happier

2.    Grow our reach further into the UK with upcoming social events like the LOOP Summit and the exciting intercompany Wellbees Challenge

3.    Help HR professionals further quantify their ROI with our Insights tool