Skip to main content
Press Release

‘Employee stress’ leading concern for employers in India: Willis Towers Watson Study finds

N/A
N/A

February 20, 2019

The lack of employees’ physical activity (62%) and stress (55%) are the top lifestyle risk factors identified by employers in India, according to the India Health and Wellbeing Study by Willis Towers Watson
  • 89% of employers say ‘identifying and managing stress and behavioural health issues across the workforce’ is a top priority
  • 80% have taken at least one action to manage employee stress and mental health in 2018

NEW DELHI, 19 February 2019 — The lack of employees’ physical activity (62%) and stress (55%) are the top lifestyle risk factors identified by employers in India, according to the India Health and Wellbeing Study by Willis Towers Watson (NASDAQ: WLTW), the leading global advisory, broking and solutions company. The other top concerns were obesity (43%), followed by poor financial wellbeing (27%) and tobacco use (25%).

Combating employee stress appears to be a key focus area for employers in India, reveals the study. A vast majority, 80% of the organisations, have taken at least one action to manage employee stress and mental health in 2018 and 89% selected “identify and manage stress and behavioural health issues across the workforce” as a top priority.

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

Steps organisations have taken to manage employee stress and mental health:

Offered in 2018 Planning for 2019 Considering for 2020 or 2021
Provide flexible working options 68% 8% 9%
Offer onsite stress management interventions 46% 18% 18%
Promote the EAP 40% 18% 15%
Offer stress management and resilience training 38% 29% 18%
Offer employee education and training 38% 27% 19%
Offer manager training and coaching to line managers and senior executives 33% 27% 21%
Develop a stress or mental health strategy/action plan 29% 37% 17%
Calibrate jobs to enhance employee control, autonomy in making decisions 26% 21% 19%
Have guidelines for email/voicemail blackout times 21% 21% 14%
Use risk assessments/stress audits 9% 29% 27%
Offer programmes to support chronic behavioural health conditions 8% 29% 30%

Sudesh Shetty, Head of Health & Benefits, Willis Towers Watson India Insurance Brokers, explains, “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% 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.”

Rohit Jain, Head of India, Willis Towers Watson, says, “It is immensely encouraging to observe this increased focus on employee health and wellness. However, to translate this into all-round wellbeing, enhanced productivity and ultimately improved financial performance, companies must develop a coherent and holistic health and wellness strategy encompassing all four aspects – physical, emotional, financial, and family.”

Drawing attention to another interesting finding, Mr Jain adds, “The number of employers recognising the role of family in the overall wellbeing of an employee and in turn their productivity, is noteworthy. It is heartening to see that almost one in four organisations are beginning to engage the employees’ family in one way or another.”

The study also highlighted that although tobacco use was identified as one of the top five lifestyle concerns by 25% of the companies, only 8% currently offer tobacco cessation programmes; and additional 15% are considering that following suite in 2021. 44% of the organisations have taken at least one action on tobacco use in 2018.

Steps organisations have taken on curbing tobacco use:

Which specific actions has your organisation taken on tobacco use? Offered in 2018 Planning for 2019 Considering for 2020 or 2021
Company bans the use of tobacco on the entire campus including outside buildings 35% 16% 7%
Expand and communicate tobacco policies to include vapes and e-cigarettes 16% 21% 7%
Use self-attestation protocols for tobacco use 10% 21% 11%
Offer full coverage for tobacco-cessation programmes 8% 14% 14%
Use validated testing approach 7% 17% 13%

About the survey

Willis Towers Watson India conducted the India Health and Wellbeing study with an aim to explore the strategies and tactics used by organisations in India to address employee health and wellbeing. The study was conducted during June to August 2018 and polled over 100 organisations and senior HR leaders from multiple sectors.

About Willis Towers Watson

Willis Towers Watson (NASDAQ: WLTW) is a leading global advisory, broking and solutions company that helps clients around the world turn risk into a path for gth. With roots dating to 1828, Willis Towers Watson has 45,000 employees serving more than 140 countries and markets. We design and deliver solutions that manage risk, optimize benefits, cultivate talent, and expand the power of capital to protect and strengthen institutions and individuals. Our unique perspective allows us to see the critical intersections between talent, assets and ideas — the dynamic formula that drives business performance. Together, we unlock potential.

Related content tags, list of links Press Release India
Contact Us