Employee Meltdowns are Haemorrhaging Cash and India Inc has REALIZED it’s Cost Effective to Invest in Health & Wellness of Workforce
A high level of unmanageable and Chronic Stress not only Affects an Employee’s Physical and Mental Well-Being but also has a Negative Impact on the Financial Health of a Company. And now, for the first time in India, a study has tried to Quantify Productivity Losses due to Workplace Stress.
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According to the study, a Banking/Finance Company, with an Average Employee Base of 5,000, takes a hit of about Rs 100 Crore in Productivity Losses a year due to Stress-Related Issues. For an IT/ITeS Company, with an Average Employee Base of 10,000, the Loss is about Rs 50 Crore. And for a Company with an Average Employee Base of 2,000 Operating in the Travel and Hospitality Space, it’s just over Rs 10 Crore. The Productivity Losses Escalate as One Moves to High Stress Sectors.
The study was conducted by a global HR membership association, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). “Every industry that deals with stress gets simultaneously impacted at the RoI and VoI (return on/ value of investment) levels,” said Dedeepya Ajith John, senior knowledge adviser, SHRM India. Some of the key contributors to stress are the pace of growth, an economic downturn, social and business changes. “Almost every industry in India is experiencing a higher level of stress but the sectors which resonate the issue with tell-tale signs are e-commerce, staffing, automotive and manufacturing.”
A certain level of stress is unavoidable at workplace in modern times. But the inability to channel stress can lead to physical and psychological problems, including heart disease and depression. A stressed-out employee, instead of being an asset to his/her company, becomes a liability, resorts to frequent absenteeism and impacts bottom line.
SHRM surveyed three verticals (IT/ITeS, Banking/ Finance and Travel & Hospitality). “While e-commerce did measure up in terms of pace, we did not see it having reached the stage of maturity in India. That said, the study focused more on covering the white-collar work force and hence manufacturing and pharma were not considered at this stage,” said John.
Banking, finance and IT sectors are said to be high stress sectors.
No matter how many cost-cutting measures organizations adopt, productivity losses on account of stress are haemorrhaging cash. Companies, therefore, have realized that it’s cost effective to invest in people’s health and wellness initiatives.
Some companies are quantifying productivity losses due to stress and framing anti- stress initiatives. Financial services group DBS Bank India, where employees have a basket of benefits like gym memberships and physiotherapy to choose from, has put in place certain metrics to measure and track the success of these initiatives. For instance, it launched iStep — a walking challenge geared to make employees fitter. Various other health initiatives have been assigned individual ‘healthpoints’, as the bank incentivizes employees to reach their personal health milestones. “Employee absenteeism due to illness is one such measure that enables us to evaluate the efficacy of our endeavours over the mid-tolong term. Since 2013, DBS has seen a 33% drop in employee absenteeism due to illness, a substantial improvement in our overall productivity,” said Kishore Poduri, head, HR, DBS Bank India.
India Bulls has launched ‘IB healthy selfie contest’, encouraging participants to click themselves while exercising or during any activity which would be beneficial to their fitness. It also has a ‘healthy breakfast contest’.
“The acceleration of the business cycle has resulted in an environment where the average workday increases the level of stress. Often this takes a toll, both mentally and physically. We noticed that as an employee’s lifecycle progresses, the general productivity shows signs of wear and tear,” IndiaBulls HR head Anil Rathore said.
Cathay Pacific says it works towards building a “collaborative culture” where team members help each other. “Our employee assistance programme is designed to provide counselling for personal and work-related problems via a 24-hour toll-free number, free of charge and we maintain complete confidentiality,” said Neil Andrade, manager-people, South Asia, Middle East and Africa, Cathay Pacific.