Indian employers are increasingly focusing on health and productivity programmes, which has a direct bearing on the company's financial success, and 3 in every 4 employers expect the focus on their initiatives to grow in the next two years, a report says. Leading the Asia Pacific markets, 44 per cent of the Indian companies plan to put in place a health and wellbeing strategy within the next couple of years, while 48 per cent already have one in place. About 72 per cent of Indian employers, i.e. three in four, believe the focus on such initiatives is likely to grow stronger two years down the line. Globally, companies with the most effective health programmes are more productive and generate 34 per cent higher revenue per employee and such companies enjoy more than 20 percentage points higher market premium. Moreover, the number of leaves taken by employees of these companies goes down for each employee per year. Similarly, employee participation in lifestyle behaviour coaching programmes is higher by 20 percentage points for such companies. "These companies are naturally able to build and sustain better well-being over time and achieve even greater benefits in terms of reduced healthcare costs as well as greater productivity and performance," Anuradha Sriram, Director Benefits, Towers Watson, India said. Around 44 per cent of Indian employers claim to offer health risk assessments, more than 2 in every 5 (42 per cent) of Indian employers in 2013 having instituted work-site diet or exercise activities, almost one in three (32 per cent) have instituted stress or resilience management programmes. According to the Staying@Work Survey Report, conducted by global professional services company Towers Watson, Indian employers' focus on health and productivity programmes is growing and is the highest in the Asia Pacific region. Indian employers are reluctant to offer financial incentives for doing such programmes. While 8 per cent of employers in Asia Pacific offer cash as a financial incentive to encourage programme participation, in India the number drops to 2 per cent. The Towers Watson Staying@Work Survey was fielded across countries in North America, Latin America, Europe and Asia and had a total of 892 participating companies. In Asia, the survey had 372 respondents from China, India, Hong Kong, Malaysia, the Philippines and Singapore.


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GOLD FLAKE BURNS FINGERDiversified group ITC Ltd today said it has increased prices of its Gold Flake cigarette brand by over 7 per cent. The price of Gold Flake Filter pack consisting of 10 cigarettes will now cost Rs 59 from Rs 55 earlier. Likewise, Gold Flake Premium Filter cigarette will cost Rs 58, up from Rs 55 earlier. When contacted, a company spokesperson confirmed the hike in prices. ITC, which is the market leader in cigarettes in India, sells various brands including India Kings, Classic Gold Flake, Navy Cut among others. The company's cigarettes business grew by 11.48 per cent to Rs 3,623.23 crore during the fourth quarter ended March 31, 2013, compared to Rs 3,249.88 crore in the same period of previous fiscal. ITC produces cigarettes at manufacturing plants located in Bengaluru, Munger, Saharanpur, Kolkata and Pune. Besides FMCG, ITC has interests hotels, paperboards and packaging, tobacco products and information technology. Net sales of the company rose to Rs 29,605.58 crore for the year ended March 31, 2013, compared to Rs 24,798.43 crore in the 2011-12 financial year. Shares of ITC today closed at Rs 338.50 on the BSE, up 3.74 per cent from its previous close.


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