Wednesday, May 22, 2019 | Last Update : 12:42 AM IST

Employee stress now an HR concern

THE ASIAN AGE. | SANGEETHA G
Published : Feb 21, 2019, 1:48 am IST
Updated : Feb 21, 2019, 1:48 am IST

As employers can’t do much about lack of physical activity and obesity of their employees, they are focusing on mitigating their stress levels.

(Budha Chandra)
 (Budha Chandra)

Chennai: Promoting employee wellness has become an imperative for organizations, as most of them provide group health cover as part of employee benefit schemes. Combating employee stress is now a key focus area for employers in India, finds a study.

The study done by global advisory firm Willis Towers Watson found that lack of physical activity and stress are the top two lifestyle risk factors faced by Indian employees. The other major concerns were obesity, followed by poor financial well-being and tobacco use.

As employers can’t do much about lack of physical activity and obesity of their employees, they are focusing on mitigating their stress levels. A vast majority, 80 per cent of the surveyed organisations, has taken at least one action to manage employee stress and mental health in 2018. And 89 per cent selected “identifying and managing stress and behavioural health issues across the workforce” as a top priority.

Over 100 organisations in India were covered for the survey conducted among top human resource managers.

Further, 66 per cent employers have already developed or are developing a stress or mental health strategy for their employees and an additional 17 per cent are considering this for 2021. The key steps already taken by organisations to manage employee stress and mental health include providing flexible working options (68 per cent), followed by offering onsite stress management interventions (46 per cent), promoting Employee Assistance Programmes (40 per cent) and offering stress management and resilience training (38 per cent).

“Stress has a direct link to workplace performance and productivity. While some employers in India have already taken steps to develop a stress or mental health strategy, more focussed effort is required to identify the specific reasons of stress and design interventions aimed at addressing them and improving the emotional and mental health of employees. Almost 60 per cent companies do not use data/matrix to measure the stress of the workforce and the leading causes, and that surely is an area of improvement,” Sudesh Shetty, Head of Health & Benefits, Willis Towers Watson Insurance Brokers.

Employers are also recognising the role of family in the overall well-being of an employee and their productivity. Almost one in four organisations are beginning to engage the employees’ family in one way or the other.

Tags: human resource, employee stress, indian employees