The study revealed that while extensive communication helped increase awareness around COVID protection, telemedicine brought healthcare services to the employee’s phone.

70 of India Inc feels COVID will increase focus on employee well-being SurveyImage for representation
Money Coronavirus Monday, May 18, 2020 - 19:05

Widely considered as a black swan event, the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted businesses all over the globe. A recent study by AI-driven health benefits platform ekincare that provides solutions for corporates, has unveiled interesting insights, trends to understand the situation across corporates in India, its impact on employees, and their benefits. 

Most organisations offer adequate health benefits to their employees which includes – health insurance, annual health checks, EAP (employee assistance programme), etc. But with the COVID-19 pandemic bringing in a new normal of work, only half of the organisations felt that their existing health benefits helped them during this crisis. 

As the COVID-19 pandemic impacted businesses in an unprecedented way, many organisations opted for cost-cutting measures and the impact on employee benefits and human capital functions was imperative. While these cost-cutting initiatives are affecting various human capital functions, the impact on employee engagement and wellbeing programs are majorly positive. Over 70% respondents felt COVID will have a positive impact on the health and wellbeing activities and employee engagement at their organisation.

With the lockdown enforced pan India, organisations had to adapt new ways of working that urged employees to work from home. While extensive communication helped increase awareness around COVID protection, telemedicine brought healthcare services to the employee’s phone. Engagement activities helped keep employees mentally and physically fit during these tough times.

This study covered the following: Steps to tackle the COVID crisis, impact on business and employee benefits, and post-COVID situation analysis. 

The study took into account insights from over 100 organisations across industries like OpenText, LinkedIn, Ecom Express, Grofers, United Breweries Limited, Aditya Birla Group, Mahindra Finance, and many more.

Post COVID-19 as India Inc plans to get back to work, it is mandatory for organisations to ensure proper sanitisation of workplaces, physical distancing, protection gear, and thermal screening for all employees, the study notes.

75% of respondents feel that businesses will be back to normal in Q3 of 2020.

COVID-19 impact has exposed an open hole in the potential of organisations to help keep their employees healthy and ensure business continuity. While 88% of respondents expect employee wellbeing budgets to stay the same or increase, 83% of respondents feel that they may have to re-evaluate their employee wellbeing strategy.

When employers were asked about what their company would do about the health benefits budget, 48% said it will need to stay the same, 40% will increase the budget, while 12% will cut down the existing budget. 

On whether their company will re-evaluate the employee well-being strategy, 36% employers said Yes, 46% said Maybe and 17% said No.

Some of the key takeaways were as follows: 

> Employee wellbeing is more important than ever: With its long-lasting impact, COVID-19 has exposed gaps in India Inc’s most valuable resource, its human capital.

> Traditional health benefits do not cut it: With traditional programs being reactive in nature, more new-age proactive solutions are the need of the hour.

> Execute back-to-work precautions post lockdown: Post lockdown, follow all mandatory requirements to ensure a safe and healthy workplace.

> Relook at employee wellbeing strategy: Incorporate out-patient health benefits like telemedicine, mental wellbeing programs (EAP), etc. to keep employees healthy.

Kiran Kalakuntla, CEO and Founder, ekincare, said, “It’s interesting to note the importance that employers are looking to spend on the health benefits of their employees. This trend has definitely come into existence only because of the COVID-19 pandemic. This is definitely a positive outcome during these trying times – by establishing this; employees will also understand that their employers are investing in their health. At ekincare, we strongly believe that corporates benefit from having healthy employees and this is a trend to stay.”