This one crucial element boosts employee productivity

Written by Shweta Sharan

Writes on education for The Hindu and Deccan Herald. Founder of Bangalore Schools, a 54,000-member parent and teacher community. Digital marketing strategist and social media expert with various schools in the city. Editor at Toka Box, a Seattle-based STEAM activity box and book curator for children. Gig worker. Other experiences and areas of expertise include technical writing, copy editing, business development, and video editing. Interests include literature, education, and cinema. Key strengths include exceptional writing abilities, creativity, a knack for mobilizing online communities, creating dynamite marketing campaigns and experimenting with new-age marketing and communication skills.

November 16, 2017

Are your employees unproductive? Here’s what you could be doing wrong

In 2015, Assocham found that around 42.5% of Indian corporate employees suffer from stress and depression. While most businesses are rallying yoga practitioners and one-day health check-ups to the workplace, quick fixes won’t help. Nothing but an integrated and continuous effort will boost employee engagement and productivity.

The numbers are here and they can hit your bottom line. Research says that each dollar spent on wellness programs saves $3.27 in health care costs and $2.73 in absenteeism costs.

Other countries are way ahead of us on this one. In the US, for instance, the employee wellness program is being recognized as being critical for employee retention and overall productivity and to make a company a force to reckon with.

India is yet to embrace employee wellness programs but all that could change. Life and Money is pioneering the holistic wellness program in India. There is a difference though, a secret sauce that few other companies possess — technology.

Through technology, we can scale magnificently and transform the employer-employee equation completely.

New insight on employee wellness in India

When we completed a holistic financial wellness program in an IT firm, we recorded positive behavioural changes among participants. Here are the numbers — 58.33% of our respondents increased their savings towards financial goals and another 30% saw a decrease in their expenses.

With these gamechanging metrics, we decided to find out how we can scale this impact. On October 27, 2017, Life and Money conducted a Twitter chat about employee wellness, and who better to facilitate this session than someone who can change the entire landscape of a company’s workforce – the HR manager? Kunjal Kamdar, Senior HR Specialist at Tieto and one of India’s Top 25 HR Influencers, led the session. The result? Some stunning insight that paints a clearer picture of the Indian employee space and how we can power it through a wellness program.

Is employee wellness only about health?

Where are we today in employee wellness programs? While health concerns are crucial in sculpting a powerful employee wellness program, most people, including many of our Twitter respondents, equated wellness with preventing good health. No doubt, these are valid concerns. The number of people with hypertension, for instance, is slated to go from 118.2 million in 2000 to 213.5 million by 2025.

But what about emotional wellness? Wellness today is equated with check-ups and counselling, when it runs much deeper and includes financial wellness. And let’s not forget the next and most elusive layer – digital wellness. Technology is a huge part of our lives and when we use it as a tool instead of letting it rule our lives, we achieve a better sense of self.

55% of our respondents agreed that employee wellness includes financial, physical and emotional wellness.

It’s the younger employees who are often trapped in tough financial situations

How are current programs engaging the employees? Are there positive changes in the employees? A month ago, Richard Thaler won the Nobel Prize for Economics. His work in Choice Architecture is a model for us all when it comes to giving people the perfect ‘nudge’ to motivate themselves into embracing a holistic life.

As our Twitter respondents asked, motivations are good but it is important to establish interesting and meaningful action-oriented goals into an employee’s work and life cycle in the organisation, instead of mere lectures.

According to Kamdar, it is important to encourage employees to participate in internal and external events, marathons and cricket.

Says Jitendra PS Solanki, “A lot of CIBIL enquiries I received have shown that it is the younger ones who are more trapped in a financial situation.”

Employee wellness programs need to be outcome oriented 

How can one ensure that employees stay on track? Our Twitter respondents came up with some brilliant ideas, including introducing the idea of digital wellness during induction programmes for new employees. Said Mithun Sanyal, “Basic points could be added in the appraisal system in case employees are regular in these activities, reducing absenteeism.”

According to Prajakta Shidhore, companies can have awareness sessions and collate resources so that employees can learn how to build and grow their money and they can learn this at their own pace. “We need outcome oriented programs with a mechanism to track implementation of learnings.”

According to Prashant Joglekar, Principal Consultant at BMGI, it takes a village and true leadership from the management will be to organize the workforce into a community that helps one another. Think about it, didn’t our families have support when we used to live in joint families? “By becoming an extended family, we can reduce stress. More best friends of work will lessen stress.”

Joglekar also got to the very heart of what drives stress and unhappiness – this inhuman need to succeed at any cost and to not have a real life in the bargain. “We need to redefine the meaning what does one mean by ‘doing well’ so called ‘doing well’ is at the cost of doing worst on health. If stress is a single factor that is affecting wellness why don’t we ask what caused stress and try and reduce it by dialogue.”

This is where the management can have true vision and lead the company to remarkable heights.

The above blog is by Shweta Sharan

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