S Sunder

Why organizations should not ignore employee well-being? | S Sunder | Joint Managing Director | Shriram Finance

S Sunder

The importance of health and wellness for individuals and employees (from the corporate perspective) has never been in question. However, it came into sharp focus in the post-COVID-19 times. In that sense, COVID-19 was an eye-opener for individuals, India Inc, and companies globally. The pandemic brought into focus as never in the past the tremendous importance of the health and wellness of self and employees (from the corporate perspective). Companies that value their employees started implementing health and wellness programs with renewed vigour. They began incorporating their commitment to this philosophy into the list of their core values and showcased it as a positive differentiator, especially at the time of hiring new employees and at crunch times. At a broader level, this exercise helps companies prioritize the holistic well-being of their employees and their families.

The specifics
For the well-being of their employees, companies generally offer extensive healthcare benefits, including medical and life insurance, regular health check-ups, awareness programs on mental health, and support for physical activities. To make this initiative truly inclusive, companies extend these facilities to the employees’ families too. That’s because, when the family of the employee is healthy, the employee can lend greater focus to the job, thus, turning it into a win-win situation for all the stakeholders.

Sometimes when tragedy strikes an employee’s family and there is a need for handholding, companies who go by the above philosophy, tend to go the extra mile – they offer scholarships for children of deceased employees, and financial aid and/or employment opportunity to their spouses.

Corporate initiatives focused on the health and wellness of their employees largely align with their goal of empowering their employees. This they do by providing them with the resources and support needed to enable the employees to take charge of their health and wellness. This autonomy is a critical component of a great workplace culture, as it allows employees to feel they are in control while being more engaged in their work and personal lives.

Community and well-being
As part of the vibrant and caring workplace culture, companies try to create a sense of community through the health and wellness initiatives enunciated above. Typically, these activities include team outings, hobby clubs, and wellness programs that are conducted throughout the year. These activities help facilitate bonding and camaraderie among employees, contributing to overall morale and employee satisfaction. Through these programs, companies try to create an ecosystem where employees feel connected to each other, supported by everyone, and valued by all.

Many companies offer learning and development opportunities to their employee to help them climb the corporate ladder. These could span skill development programs for the lower-level staff to management education schemes and executive management courses for mid- and senior-level employees. These initiatives, combined with the efforts to foster diversity and inclusion, create an environment where employees feel valued, respected, and supported.

Making good business sense
Working for employee health and well-being is not all about incurring costs. It drives a sound business objective too – to enhance employee productivity and satisfaction, which in turn results in greater profits and wealth-creation for shareholders, including employees who hold Employee Stock Option Plans (ESOPs), and more tax payouts to the government. Thus, the good health and wellness of the employees and their families is directly correlated to greater workplace productivity and higher satisfaction levels among employees towards the company’s work policies.

And so…
Thus, for companies that follow an employee-centric approach, investing in the health and wellness of their employees is not just seen as the right thing to do, but as a cornerstone to building and nurturing a great workplace and a flourishing organization.