From The CEO’s Desk: About Corporate Wellness

Quality of human capital is a key marker of an organisation’s worth. The most growth-oriented organisations invest substantial resources in terms of time, energy and money on talent acquisition. They take great care to retain the talented individuals who they just hired, work on identifying roadblocks to productivity, and try and reduce the attrition. That is a good thing. Though what gets missed is that some of these corporate problems could have been avoided by sound corporate wellness policies.

The concept of promoting physical wellness within corporates is now taking root, with many companies establishing in-house gyms and offering creative benefits, such as physiotherapy and spa treatments. However, emotional wellness is usually brushed under the carpet as “insignificant” or “not relevant to company goals”.

Perhaps the intangible nature of emotional issues, which show up in the form of increased stress and anxiety among employees, is hard to grasp for those dealing with the more tangible business of buying and selling. Or maybe looking at mental well-being is still a scary taboo.

This is unfortunate because an emotionally and mentally unhealthy organisation is at a much higher risk of facing productivity loss, absenteeism, attrition and growth stagnation.

A recent study conducted by The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) showed that a company in the banking/finance sector, with an average workforce of 5,000 employees, loses approximately Rs 100 crore in productivity losses a year because of stress-related issues. Stress costs an IT-ITeS company with 10,000 employees, about Rs 50 crore and a company in the travel and hospitality company with about 2,000 employees, a little over Rs 10 crore.

So, the losses are very real and very much “relevant” and “significant” to company goals. Studies show that almost 80% of people experience work-related stress. That’s a huge number. Yet, the response from organisations to address this issue is limited. We choose instead to ignore the proverbial elephant in the room, hoping that it will go away on its own.

Well, if data is anything to go by, work-related stress is here to stay and we, as corporates, need to sit up and take responsibility for it. Corporate wellness is no longer optional, it is a necessity. Employee well-being is directly linked to an organisation’s well-being. It affects a company’s financial bottom line and can make or break an organisation’s success story.

We can either proactively join the corporate wellness movement, or we can continue to bury our heads in the sand and get left behind. The choice is ours.