Initiatives By Tech Firms On Employee Mental Health In India

Tech companies have introduced initiatives and implemented programmes to ensure that employees’ mental health is cared for.

COVID-19 has been challenging for almost everyone across the globe. With people being stuck inside the four walls of their houses and remote work becoming a way of life, employees’ mental health has taken a toll, especially for those whose only escape from problematic homes was work. Alternatively, many complained about burnout and long hours at work.

Unfortunately, the World Health Organisation (WHO) reported that the COVID-19 pandemic had disrupted and even halted critical mental health services in up to 93 per cent of countries across the globe at a time when its need was the maximum.

However, mental health goes a long way when it comes to maintaining consistency and productivity at work. In line with this, tech companies have introduced initiatives and implemented programmes to ensure that employees’ mental health is taken care of.

We, at Analytics India Magazine, have curated a list of tech firms in India that have taken initiatives on employee mental wellness.

CSS Corp

CSS Corp has a slew of initiatives to leverage technology towards the advancement of mental well-being. It has round-the-clock employee assistance that provides counselling and aid to its employees. Additionally, the HR chatbots automate responses to questions, accelerating resolutions. The tech company has also been conducting virtual mindfulness sessions and digital detox to enable work-life balance.

Satyanarayanan Visvanathan, SVP and Head HR (Global) and Head of Corporate Quality at CSS Corp, said that while the organisation could march ahead with lots of accomplishments and milestones, the health and well-being of employees is absolutely vital.

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Mental Health Day 2021: What Tech Leaders Are Saying?

The challenges and trauma associated with Covid-19 have put mental health front-and-center for employers like never before. According to research, 42% of global employees have experienced a decline in mental health since the pandemic began. Mental health no doubt has proved a hot topic across the tech sector, with research conducted by Harvey Nash earlier this year revealing that concerns among tech workers increased by 75% during the pandemic. Symptoms of burnout are also increasing among employees and leaders alike.

Good news is that addressing mental health and well-being in the workplace can truly make a difference to an individual and the collective workforce – helping them determine how to handle stress, relate to others, and make choices. Moreover, there is strong evidence that workplaces with high levels of mental wellbeing are more productive.

However, there’s still a long way to go! That’s an obvious reason why World Mental Health Day is celebrated every year on October 10. First recognized by the World Federation for Mental Health in 1992, it aims to raise awareness about the importance of mental health and wellbeing, and advocate against social stigma around the subject.

With this in mind, we take a look at how tech companies have been dealing with the matter of mental health, and the challenges that they are looking to overcome.

“Workplace technology and corporate culture are intertwined, and their impact on employee mental health and wellbeing continues to evolve. We, as an organization, have always been mindful of the mental well-being of our employees. Therefore, we have launched a slew of initiatives to leverage technology towards advancing mental health and wellbeing. Our 24/7 employee assistance provides counseling and aid to employees, and HR chatbots automate responses to queries, leading to faster issue resolutions. Additionally, we have been conducting virtual mindfulness sessions and digital detox (digital quarantine) to enable employees to find the right balance amid their hectic schedules. We believe that while the organization could march ahead with lots of accomplishments and milestones, the health and wellbeing of the employees are vital. Technology alone does not help as it cannot replicate the human touch and reassurance, it is important to provide the experience. Sometimes, a simple pat on the back can be good enough to alleviate stress and anxiety. During times of uncertainty, it is crucial to lead with empathy. CSS Corp tracks the health status of employees constantly. Since the onset of the pandemic, I have personally spoken with more than 90% of the Covid-affected employees. This conveyed the support and reassurance to the employees in a direct personal way apart from ensuring a thorough understanding of the ground-level challenges they face. We also aim to proactively neutralize burnout, anxiety, stress, and the problems that emerge from working virtually over an extended time,” – Satyanarayanan Visvanathan, SVP and Head – HR (Global) and Head of Corporate Quality, CSS Corp

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CSS Corp looking at tuck-in acquisitions to enhance offerings: CEO

Global customer experience and technology services provider CSS Corp is exploring making some tuck-in acquisitions to enhance its offerings and reach new customers, its CEO Sunil Mittal said.

A tuck-in acquisition refers to a larger company absorbing another organisation, which is usually smaller in size, and integrating it into its own platform.

CSS Corp, which is looking at going in for an IPO towards the end of 2023 as a standalone business, counts India among its largest talent base with a headcount of about 6,000 employees.

Speaking to PTI, CSS Corp Chief Executive Officer Sunil Mittal said the company is keen on inorganic growth options and is looking at tuck-in acquisitions to enhance its offerings and get to new customers.

“We”re looking at companies with revenues of anywhere between USD 30 to 80 million in terms of revenue ticket size and we”re looking at maybe a couple of them, tuck-in acquisitions at various service lines. If you look at our strategy in the digital engineering space or in the cloud and data center space or in the customer experience space, these are the three focus areas,” he explained.

Mittal said these acquisitions should either build competency for CSS Corp or help it get exposure to a newer sector like healthcare.

“We are not looking at acquisitions just to increase our revenue or margins. Our organic growth is already very industry-leading…the focus (for acquisitions) is in terms of can we create another engine of growth, which gives us more capability and/or exposure to new sectors,” he added.

Mittal said e-commerce will also be an area of focus.

“The other sector that we want to focus on is this whole e-commerce, internet-based business model companies, SaaS. That”s where the future is. We want to get exposure to sectors which are growing, and which are the future,” he added.

The company is looking at hiring about 1,300 people in India from various campuses in the coming year, in line with the strong growth momentum being experienced by it. Out of its 10,000 employee base, around 6,000 are in India.

In February this year, Capital Square Partners (CSP) – a Singapore-based private equity Fund Manager and Startek”s majority shareholder – had acquired a controlling stake in CSS.

At that time, Startek – which competes with CSS Corp – had said it has participated in this transaction by contributing total USD 30 million in a limited partnership managed by CSP to acquire both an indirect beneficial interest of approximately 26 per cent in CSS, as well as an option to acquire a controlling stake.

CSS Corp grew at 25 per cent in FY21, and expects to do better than that in FY22.

Mittal said the company is well-positioned for growth in the coming years.

“…we have enough bookings and deal wins which makes us confident that we can continue with this momentum in the coming quarters…We will end this year at around a USD 225 million annual run rate,” he said. PTI SR ANU

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#WorldMentalHealthDay: How tech companies are helping techies combat mental health issues

After COVID-19, most organisations took initiatives to support employees and their mental well being. While some announced mental health breaks, others started various programs to get in touch with employees in person.

If you are a tech professional, find out what tech organisations are doing to help their workforce to combat mental health issues:

Lakshmi C, Managing Director and Lead – Human Resources, Accenture in India
“At Accenture, we believe that mental wellbeing is critical to one’s overall wellbeing and has been a big focus for us, for some years now. We have been running extensive internal campaigns to create an environment where our people feel comfortable about having open and honest conversations about mental health. We have a dedicated mental wellness portal where we share advice on developing mental resilience. On our internal social media platform, our people share their own stories and self-hacks so that others may benefit from them.”

Tina Vinod, Global Head of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Thoughtworks
“At Thoughtworks, we have an ongoing commitment to educating, raising awareness and advocating against the social stigma related to mental health. We continue our efforts to build a culture and environment where people feel safe to speak up about mental health and wellbeing and comfortable to ask for help when needed. The pandemic and further reiterated the importance of this. We offer employees augmented support, and through it have realised the support needs to be customised to individuals’ personal contexts and the role they play at the organisation, and in their personal capacity. This further needs to be strengthened by having an empathetic leadership, inclusive work environment and the right support.”

Jharna Thammaiah K, Director and India Site People & Places Leader, Intuit
“At Intuit, we are prioritising holistic well-being and encouraging our employees to invest in themselves by providing necessary well-being offerings and resources that can help them handle life’s challenges, build resilience and manage stress. Through our ’Well-Minds’ benefits our employees have access to a digital mindfulness platform comprising over a 1000 self-paced tools and sessions to cater to individual needs. Our Employee Assistance Program (EAP) has become our employees’ go-to for one-on-one counseling with qualified experts to help them navigate through challenges.”

Sindhu Gangadharan, SVP and MD, SAP Labs India
“At SAP, we are committed to fostering a culture of inclusion and have removed the stigma surrounding mental health disorders in the workplace. We have made sure that our employees can initiate dialogues around mental health without any fear of judgement. Our Employee Care Cycle aims to de-stigmatise mental health issues by outlining the cycle of support from prevention to cure. Our employee assistance program offers 24*7 free, professional, and confidential counselling. A recent initiative we rolled out provides a safe space for our colleagues to share and talk about their grief in the presence of others with similar experiences.”

Pranali Save, Senior Vice President & Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO), Icertis
“We believe taking care of oneself is the first essential step to personal fulfilment. As a team, we are only as strong as our individual members, and we encourage every employee to first and foremost look after their own health and well-being while at work and in their personal lives. Our commitment to supporting employees is represented in the Icertis “Four Rings of Responsibility,” which is rooted in our FORTE values. The framework encourages employees to Take care of themselves, Take care of family, Take care of the community and Take care of business – in that order.”

Satyanarayanan Visvanathan, SVP and Head – HR (Global) and Head of Corporate Quality, CSS Corp

“During times of uncertainty, it is crucial to lead with empathy. CSS Corp tracks the health status of employees constantly. Since the onset of the pandemic, I have personally spoken with more than 90% of the Covid-affected employees. This conveyed the support and reassurance to the employees in a direct personal way apart from ensuring a thorough understanding of the ground-level challenges they face. We also aim to proactively neutralise burnout, anxiety, stress, and the problems that emerge from working virtually over an extended time.”

READ MORE…

#WorldMentalHealthDay: How India Inc. is helping its workforce to combat mental health issues

After COVID-19, most organisations took initiatives to support employees and their mental well being. While some announced mental health breaks, others started various programs to get in touch with employees in person.

If you are wondering how India Inc. is helping it’s workforce to combat mental health issues, here are their responses:

Lakshmi C, Managing Director and Lead – Human Resources, Accenture in India

“At Accenture, we believe that mental wellbeing is critical to one’s overall wellbeing and has been a big focus for us, for some years now. We have been running extensive internal campaigns to create an environment where our people feel comfortable about having open and honest conversations about mental health. We have a dedicated mental wellness portal where we share advice on developing mental resilience. On our internal social media platform, our people share their own stories and self-hacks so that others may benefit from them.”

Sahil Mathur, CHRO, InMobi Group
“At InMobi, we encouraged employees to work in a distributed environment long before the pandemic struck. However, the remote work environment has given rise to challenges, and it has led us to make conscious efforts for our employees’ well-being, in all aspects. Being cognizant of the new models of working and the exhaustion plus stress due to that, we have introduced 21 additional days of well-being related leaves which the employees can avail at any time during the year. These can be used as a pit-stop, rejuvenation, self-car and/or recouping days.”

R Nanda, Chief of Human Resources and CSR, Tata Chemicals
“At Tata Chemicals, we have always believed in the overall well-being of our employees including their mental and physical health. This World Mental Health Day, in collaboration with “1to1 Help” our Employee Assistance Program (EAP) service provider, we held a special webinar for our employees to understand the kind of help and support they need to go through emotional distress. It is important to provide a platform at the enterprise level for enabling the workforce to engage in activities, awareness and discussion surrounding the importance of mental health within the workplace. This not only helps to encourage our employees to maximise their potential at work but also builds resilience and improves the overall quality of their life both at work and at home.”

Tina Vinod, Global Head of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Thoughtworks
“At Thoughtworks, we have an ongoing commitment to educating, raising awareness and advocating against the social stigma related to mental health. We continue our efforts to build a culture and environment where people feel safe to speak up about mental health and wellbeing and comfortable to ask for help when needed. The pandemic and further reiterated the importance of this. We offer employees augmented support, and through it have realised the support needs to be customised to individuals’ personal contexts and the role they play at the organisation, and in their personal capacity. This further needs to be strengthened by having an empathetic leadership, inclusive work environment and the right support.”

Jharna Thammaiah K, Director and India Site People & Places Leader, Intuit
“At Intuit, we are prioritising holistic well-being and encouraging our employees to invest in themselves by providing necessary well-being offerings and resources that can help them handle life’s challenges, build resilience and manage stress. Through our ’Well-Minds’ benefits our employees have access to a digital mindfulness platform comprising over a 1000 self-paced tools and sessions to cater to individual needs. Our Employee Assistance Program (EAP) has become our employees’ go-to for one-on-one counseling with qualified experts to help them navigate through challenges.”

Sindhu Gangadharan, SVP and MD, SAP Labs India
“At SAP, we are committed to fostering a culture of inclusion and have removed the stigma surrounding mental health disorders in the workplace. We have made sure that our employees can initiate dialogues around mental health without any fear of judgement. Our Employee Care Cycle aims to de-stigmatise mental health issues by outlining the cycle of support from prevention to cure. Our employee assistance program offers 24*7 free, professional, and confidential counselling. A recent initiative we rolled out provides a safe space for our colleagues to share and talk about their grief in the presence of others with similar experiences.”

Arun Dinakar Rao, Chief People Officer, Birlasoft
“Employees continue to face challenges in striking the right balance between their personal and professional lives in the wake of the pandemic which perhaps is the root cause of mental health issues. We put together an Internal Task Force which has led the response strategies. They have expanded the scope and reach of our EAP (Employee Assistance Program) and helped set up a 24×7 counselling helpline. We have also set-up online self-help resources, self-assessments, and workshops ensuring mental well-being. We strongly believe that healthy minds lead to healthy bodies which are table-stakes for sustained organisational productivity.”

Prakriti Poddar, Global Head for Mental Health and Wellbeing, RoundGlass
“Today’s workforce needs to be cognitively well, mentally resilient, and adaptive to be able to live and work in this disruptive environment. To equip the workforce to deal with these challenges, we need to focus on restoring and enhancing their Brain Capital – a combination of brain health and brain skills – which is extremely important in our complex and fragile world economy. And the way to do this is by supporting the mental health, brain health, and emotional health of employees – only possible when corporations take charge of the Wholistic Wellbeing of their employee”

Pranali Save, Senior Vice President & Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO), Icertis
“We believe taking care of oneself is the first essential step to personal fulfilment. As a team, we are only as strong as our individual members, and we encourage every employee to first and foremost look after their own health and well-being while at work and in their personal lives. Our commitment to supporting employees is represented in the Icertis “Four Rings of Responsibility,” which is rooted in our FORTE values. The framework encourages employees to Take care of themselves, Take care of family, Take care of the community and Take care of business – in that order.”

Satyanarayanan Visvanathan, SVP and Head – HR (Global) and Head of Corporate Quality, CSS Corp
“During times of uncertainty, it is crucial to lead with empathy. CSS Corp tracks the health status of employees constantly. Since the onset of the pandemic, I have personally spoken with more than 90% of the Covid-affected employees. This conveyed the support and reassurance to the employees in a direct personal way apart from ensuring a thorough understanding of the ground-level challenges they face. We also aim to proactively neutralise burnout, anxiety, stress, and the problems that emerge from working virtually over an extended time.”

Sankalp Saxena, SVP and MD-Operations, India, Nutanix
“At Nutanix, the safety and mental health of our people is our main priority. We have always championed remote and hybrid work options. These tailored employee-driven modes of working helps ensure our team members have the time to balance work and their personal lives. This also includes encouraging team members to have virtual, non-work related catch-ups, as well, so they can stay motivated, connected and engaged with the help of colleagues.”

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Corporates reach out with digital detox, voice-out forums, HR chatbots

The pandemic and the lockdowns have left a trail of loss and grief and it becomes imperative, now more than ever, to scale up quality mental health services at all levels. This is what countries across the globe felt the need for at the World Health Assembly in May 2021.
Accordingly, corporates close to home are already adapting to the post-pandemic setting and doing their bit to raise awareness and destigmatise mental health issues. Read on…

‘Okay to not be okay’

While employee mental wellbeing was always a topic of discussion, the pandemic and the subsequent lockdown brought the issue to the fore with corporates aligning their goals in this direction.

“Owing to the challenges of the pandemic, several of our employees shared how they were experiencing feelings of isolation and burnout and their inability to use the pre-pandemic informal networks and support systems such as friends or co-workers. Many employees were hesitant about sharing these emotions and were unsure about where they should seek support. Against this background, it was important to assure our employees that ‘It is okay to not be okay’,” says Neerja Bhardwaj – HR Business Partner, India Technology Centre, GE

“We acknowledge the ills of the ‘daily grind’ and have tried to prioritize a healthy work-life balance for all our employees. In the initial days of remote work, as teams were settling in, we encouraged them to take days off for their ‘mental health.’ We suggested teams keep a few working days call-free or zoom-free, to give them a break from being on video calls. Additionally, we also offered 12 weeks of paid time off from work to employees who have spent a certain number of years with the company and at regular intervals after that, employees are given another six week sabbatical. Also, there isn’t a limit on the number of sick days that an employee can avail if one needs them,” adds Tina Vinod, Global Head of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Thoughtworks.
Katarzyna Kern, global head of HR at ANSR, stresses that it is essential to encourage employees to explore their emotions and discuss how they are feeling at work. “It’s also crucial to have a working culture that encourages employees to talk about their personal problems,” she adds.
Buddy system at work

Lending a helping hand to fellow employees are mental health advocates within the organisation. “Advocacy plays a key role in driving positive change and we have developed a voluntary network of more than 1,600 mental health advocates who regularly reach out to their colleagues so that everyone can have a colleague who is ready to listen and discuss mental health issues, and we can proactively provide support where needed,” says Lakshmi C, managing director and lead, human resources, Accenture, India.

Safe spaces to show we care

Companies have also gone beyond regular workshops and confidential counselling sessions with their employees, Sindhu Gangadharan, senior vice-president and managing director, SAP Labs India, informs, “Our Employee Care Cycle aims to de-stigmatise mental health issues by outlining the cycle of support from prevention to cure.”

A recent initiative they rolled out aims at providing a safe space for colleagues to share and talk about their grief in the presence of others with similar experiences.

“Voice-out forums and safe spaces for employees to freely share their experiences with their colleagues did help us in helping out our employees at India Technology Centre,” says Neerja, adding that they also have Wellness Day offs for employees to rejuvenate.
Lakshmi adds that earlier this year, Accenture had upgraded their medical insurance policy to include mental health consultancy reimbursements for dependent family members.

Technology to drive change

While technology has received the short end of the stick, companies across the country have tried to use it to reach out to employees. Satyanarayanan Visvanathan, SVP and head – HR (global) and head of corporate quality, CSS Corp, says, “Our 24/7 employee assistance provides counselling and aid to employees, and HR chatbots automate responses to queries, leading to faster issue resolutions. Additionally, we have been conducting virtual mindfulness sessions and digital detox (digital quarantine) to enable employees to find the right balance amid their hectic schedules.”
Sudeep Ralhan, vice-president of people, Walmart Global Tech India, adds that they have leveraged technology to ensure a wider range of personalised options for each employee. “And now that organisations and people have had a taste of the many benefits of tech-enabled focus on mental wellbeing, I see the adoption increasing substantially over the next few years,” he adds.

READ MORE…

Corporates reach out with digital detox, voice-out forums, HR chatbots

Accordingly, corporates close to home are already adapting to the post-pandemic setting and doing their bit to raise awareness and destigmatise mental health issues.

The pandemic and the lockdowns have left a trail of loss and grief and it becomes imperative, now more than ever, to scale up quality mental health services at all levels. This is what countries across the globe felt the need for at the World Health Assembly in May 2021.

Accordingly, corporates close to home are already adapting to the post-pandemic setting and doing their bit to raise awareness and destigmatise mental health issues. Read on…

‘Okay to not be okay’
While employee mental wellbeing was always a topic of discussion, the pandemic and the subsequent lockdown brought the issue to the fore with corporates aligning their goals in this direction.

Technology to drive change
While technology has received the short end of the stick, companies across the country have tried to use it to reach out to employees. Satyanarayanan Visvanathan, SVP and head – HR (global) and head of corporate quality, CSS Corp, says, “Our 24/7 employee assistance provides counselling and aid to employees, and HR chatbots automate responses to queries, leading to faster issue resolutions. Additionally, we have been conducting virtual mindfulness sessions and digital detox (digital quarantine) to enable employees to find the right balance amid their hectic schedules.”

READ MORE…

CSS Corp to hire 1,300 people from campuses, plans IPO by 2023-end

The company is also looking at going in for an IPO towards the end of 2023 as a standalone business

CSS Corp is looking at hiring about 1,300 people in India from various campuses in the coming year, in line with the strong growth momentum being experienced by the customer experience and technology services provider, its Chief Executive Officer Sunil Mittal said.

The company, which has about 6,000 employees in India, is also looking at going in for an IPO towards the end of 2023 as a standalone business.

Speaking to PTI, CSS Corp Chief Executive Officer Sunil Mittal said the company has recently crossed the 10,000-employee mark globally and India accounts for a significant portion of its headcount.

“We have doubled our headcount in 2.5 years…Out of 10,000, we have, around 6000 are in India. Costa Rica has almost 1,000 people now and it will go to 1,500 people in the next year. We are well-positioned to double the headcount (overall) again in three years,” he added.

Mittal noted that the company is planning to hire 3,000 employees to net globally this year, of which 1,800 have already been added.

Talking about campus hiring, the executive said the company plans to hire 1,300 in India through its campus recruitment programme.

CSS Corp C2C program (Campus to Career) has been launched, which will engage students/engineers while they are in college through paid internships. Also, it will enable them on specific deep courses required while working with the clients.

“We have also invested in cloud labs for students to get hands-on training in different programmes/products. A lot of the focus is on how do we get the right talent in the system, how do we retain and mentor the talent. We are fairly confident that we will be able to maintain this kind of growth trajectory for the coming quarters,” he stated.

CSS Corp is also undertaking an initiative to hire 100 ex-Armed Forces Service personnel in India. Mittal pointed out that there is a special emphasis on increasing the women ratio across the company as well, and the company wants to expand the ratio of women staff from 36 per cent currently to 50 per cent in the next two years.

The executive stated that the company grew at 25 per cent in FY21, and expects to do better than that in FY22, and is well-positioned for growth in the coming years. “…we have enough bookings and deal wins which makes us confident that we can continue with this momentum in the coming quarters…We will end this year at around a 225 million USD annual run rate,” he added.

In February this year, Capital Square Partners (CSP) – a Singapore-based private equity Fund Manager and Startek’s majority shareholder – had acquired a controlling stake in CSS. At that time, Startek – which competes with CSS Corp – had said it has participated in this transaction by contributing a total of USD 30 million in a limited partnership managed by CSP to acquire both an indirect beneficial interest of approximately 26 per cent in CSS, as well as an option to acquire a controlling stake.

Asked if the company was looking at an IPO, Mittal said the company is looking to go public towards the end of 2023 as a standalone business.

He added that while it is too early to talk about the size of the offer, the company hopes to be around USD 350 to 400 million USD from a top-line perspective by the time it goes public.

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Workplace Wellness: Physical, mental, social and financial

The Covid-19 pandemic has taught a lesson or two to both employers and employees on the importance, attention, and focus needed to be given to the overall wellness of people at workplaces, where they spend a major portion of their working lives.

The pandemic has disrupted the way the world lived and worked. It has caused a lot of mental, physical, and emotional stress to everyone.

Adapting to a new working culture has also added extra fatigue to the lives of employees. It has been over a year into the pandemic and HR leaders across the world have taken different initiatives to maintain the wellbeing of their employees.

The pandemic has really brought employee wellbeing onto the centre stage. Companies realize that employees are their valuable assets, and in difficult times like the pandemic, companies have to make extra efforts to ensure the safety and wellbeing of their employees.

Employee wellbeing is often misunderstood to be only confined to physical wellbeing, whereas it is a wide term that encompasses an employee’s physical, mental, psychological, social, and financial wellbeing.

Moderating a panel discussion at the Phoenix CXO Virtual Summit 2021, organized by ETHRWorld on September 30, Yuvraj Srivastava, Group CHRO, MakeMyTrip, said, “There is more consciousness about health and wellbeing in the minds of the employer as well as the employees, because of the pandemic. It has now struck everyone that they have to be far more careful about their health and wellbeing.”

Why should organizations invest in employee wellbeing?

“People are critical, as they are the key to the success and survival of the business and from there stems the need of investing in wellness,” said Anjali Rao, HR Leader and Senior Director, Intel India.

Employee wellbeing is extremely important for Employer Value Proposition and from the standpoint of the business because employees are the building blocks of a company. Organizations work hard to acquire the people with very niche technical skills and these are the skills that are built after investing a lot of time and effort. Employee wellbeing thus becomes very important for retaining the talent and building it further by investing in it.

“Employees’ health, psychological and emotional wellbeing is no longer a question of whether or not, it’s about how now,” said Chitresh Sharma, Co-founder and CEO, Refyne.

Employee wellbeing is very important for any organization and it is not a new concept. It has been there for a long time, but it is critical to get it right otherwise it is of no use for both the employer and the employee. The need is to come up with a programme that is relevant to the needs of the employees at that point in time and constantly evolving to keep up with the changes.

Mental and emotional wellbeing of employees

Talking about the increased interest and awareness about employee wellbeing, Namrata Gill, VP – Corporate HR, Dr Reddy’s, pointed out that earlier employees took wellness programmes as something that was thrust upon them by the management, but ever since the pandemic hit, there has been a positive shift in the attitude of the employees towards these programmes.

HR leaders believe that there is a need for a well-rounded and holistic approach to designing employee wellbeing programmes. Satyanarayanan Visvanathan, SVP and Head – HR (Global) and Head of Corporate Quality, CSS Corp, said, “The answer when we try to define workforce wellbeing is lifestyle wellbeing.” He further stated that every organization believes in a set of values, and the core values within an organization should be, respect for individuals because no one is going to stay for long if they are not respected.

Talking about emotional wellbeing, Visvanathan further said, “Instead of just putting money in their pocket, we also need to put an arm around them.” He suggested that having the resources to come out of a situation really helps the employees but knowing that their organization is there with them in their tough times gives them a sense of both financial and emotional security. “Personal support and providing solace to people that we as an organization are there for them has a huge impact on the morale of an individual and also overall wellbeing,” he added.

Financial wellbeing of the employees

The financial wellbeing of an employee is extremely important and probably is the area where the least innovation is done to date. Chitresh Sharma, Co-founder and CEO, Refyne, pointed out that a major chunk of a person’s time is spent in education and another major chunk in the organization they work for, but no one actually makes an effort to teach them how to manage their personal finances.

Sharma further suggested that organizations need to take a step towards helping their employees in maintaining their personal finances by redesigning the payroll models, for example commencing the salaries on a more regular basis, say weekly or biweekly. He also suggested that this change has to be brought through automated technology because finances are very individualistic in nature.

Adding to this, Vishwanathan said, “We need to ensure that financial complexities are not running in the minds of our people. Giving people a salary is also not enough. We also need to help them learn the art of creating wealth.”

Commenting on Sharma’s suggestion to commence salaries on a more regular basis like weekly or biweekly, Vishwanathan said water needs to be judged before jumping in.

Namrata Gill and Anjali also echoed Vishwanathan and said that Indians culturally operate in a way where we clear all our bills in the beginning of the month, so, for a change like this the entire ecosystem has to be changed and this process would take time although this could be a reality in the future.

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CSS Corp is looking at IPO in late 2023 for its standalone business: CEO

Company’s CEO says firm is working with business process management (BPM) company Startek on opportunities where they can add value

Customer experience and technology services provider CSS Corp’s chief executive officer (CEO) Sunil Mittal said the company is looking at an initial public offering (IPO) in late 2023 for its standalone business.

Mittal also said the firm is working with business process management (BPM) company Startek on opportunities where they can add value, but has had no conversations with regard to increasing the minority stake of Startek in CSS.

Whenever a private equity deal happens, there is a fund that gets created. There are multiple investors in that fund. The Startek Investment Fund is an indirect investment into that fund that is managed by Capital Square Partners. From a Startek perspective, I don’t have conversations with them on these aspects. We work at arm’s length distance, (unless there’s an opportunity). The way forward is for us to be independent, continue with the momentum and create value for our investors through an IPO,” he said.

He said the firm plans to go public as a standalone business in late 2023.

Startek’s chief financial officer (CFO) Vikash Sureka had told Business Standard that it expects to increase its minority stake in CSS Corp to give it access to a larger market.

Startek announced a strategic investment worth $30 million in CSS Corp in March. The investment was made in a limited partnership managed by Startek’s majority shareholder, Capital Square Partners.

Mittal, who took over as CEO in May, said CSS is also looking at expanding to new geographies and eyeing acquisitions in areas such as healthcare.

“We have plans to take in 3,000 people and we have already hired 1,800 net positions this year,” said Mittal.

The Texas-headquartered company crossed the 10,000 employee-mark in August, and 6,000 of these employees are based in India.

“Last (financial) year, we grew by 25 per cent, and this year also we will grow more than 25 per cent. Based on the trajectory we’re seeing, we should be able to maintain that momentum for the next few years as well,” Mittal added.

The firm has presence in the US, Costa Rica, Manila, India, Colombia, and will expand to Romania from next month.

Around 80-85 per cent of CSS’ business comes from the technology and telecom sector, while 5-8 per cent is from retail consumer packaged goods. It plans to up its focus on retail consumer-packaged goods and healthcare through acquisitions.

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