Companies in India are increasingly finding their employees’ productivity tied to their health and wellness. Accordingly, employers here are coming up with holistic strategies to improve their employees’ well-being, finds a study. Conducted by Willis Towers Watson, one of the leading global advisory, broking and solutions companies, the “India Health and Well-Being Study 2018” covered over 100 organisations and included views of senior HR officials from multiple sectors.
The study has revealed that a majority of 66 per cent of employers have either already taken or will take steps in the next three years to develop a strategy to improve the mental health of their employees. Further, 59 per cent said they were planning to offer programmes to support chronic behavioural health condition as against only eight per cent of employers offering such programmes currently.
Significance of bettering the financial condition of employees is being established, with 63 per cent employers developing strategies to improve their same. Over 13 per cent are considering it within a three years' window. Over 50 per cent companies are planning to deliver customised or personalised messages to help improve financial planning as compared to only six per cent doing it today. It was found that in 2018, over 80 per cent of organisations in India have taken at least one action in the following areas - health risks or condition management; weight management, physical activity and nutrition; and, managing employee stress and mental health. While 61 per cent have taken at least one action, it is a concern that almost half of the surveyed organisations still do not have a formally articulated strategy.
According to Rohit Jain, head of India, Willis Towers Watson, one of the interesting findings is the fact that one in four employers have recognised the role of family in the overall well-being of an employee and, in turn, their productivity. "It is immensely encouraging to observe this increased focus on employee health and wellness. However, to translate this into all round well-being, enhanced productivity, and ultimately improved financial performance, companies must develop a coherent and holistic health and wellness strategy, encompassing all four aspects — physical, emotional, financial, and family,” said Jain.
Around 27 per cent companies organise initiatives such as inviting family members to participate in various programmes, while 24 per cent focus on communication to reach or involve family members. Another 44 per cent are redesigning employee assistance programmes to better address emotional and financial health of employees and dependents.
Meanwhile, companies in India have also identified rising cost of these employee benefit progmmes and the lack of actionable data, appropriate technology, and employee engagement as the top four challenges in delivering these schemes.
For instance, 62 per cent employers ranked lack of physical activity as top concerns of their employees, followed by stress (55 per cent), obesity (43 per cent), poor financial well-being (27 per cent), and tobacco use (25 per cent).