Good-To-Have to Must-Have: Why Employee Health Benefits Is a Necessity for Companies Today

Practo with its corporate health and wellness plans has impacted the lives of 1.5 million employees and 3 million lives in total, including their families. And what’s even better is that these packages don’t only take human dependents into account but also the fur-companions of employees, providing an array of veterinary services.

Did you know that, on an average, a person spends 90,000 hours at work, over a lifetime? This means, spending almost one-third of one’s entire life at work!

While this point has always been true, irrespective of the industry one was working in, it is the pandemic that changed the employees’ outlook towards it.

Be it the heightened stress of health concerns, adapting to a new remote working style or the cracks in employee work-life balance, employee outlook across the globe underwent a sea-change during the pandemic that had a disproportionate impact on every industry. Instead of better salary packages and career opportunities being the primary motivators for employees, health and employee well-being has become a priority now. 

“India’s workforce has been collectively grappling to adapt to a new working style and with the added stress of rising health concerns, employee wellness is gaining importance among employers. With regular hurdles being replaced with unscheduled calls, the boundaries between work and home were blurred. This in turn had a big impact on the overall well-being of employees. This ‘new normal’ in workplaces prompted corporates to look beyond regular leave policies and go the extra mile to ensure a healthy workplace with employee well-being at the centre.Employee wellness has transcended from being just an additional bundle of benefits to becoming a key business priority for companies since it has a direct correlation with employee performance,” says Shikha Saxena, chief business officer, Corporate Health Benefits, Practo. 

She adds that there is enough evidence from the past two years, to support that businesses perform better when they are built on people and their well-being. 

Employee wellness- A key must-have

According to a Redseer report, out of the 477 million employees in the organised and unorganised sectors in India, only 15 per cent, which is 72 million employees, have access to corporate wellness benefits. This means that 405 million employees across India are still not part of any health and well-being program from their companies– a gap that was further highlighted due to the fading work-life balance post-pandemic. 

Realising its negative impact and the fact that health, efficiency, productivity and profitability of a business are directly linked, employers are now motivated to re-strategize and promote new wellness schemes and an employee-first approach. And hence, improved focus on employee well-being now serves as a differentiator for organisations that plan to stay ahead of the curve and has become a game-changer ushering better productivity, output and lower attrition rates. These companies are now among the top choices for candidates and have experienced a positive impact on business growth and profitability even in these trying times. 

According to a research by Willis Towers Watson (WTW), a clear majority of 85 per cent of Indian employers plan to use improved well-being programs as differentiators in three years, compared to only 18 per cent of the employers today. 

Companies that have refrained or are yet to evolve to the changing needs of employees are facing challenges like higher attrition rates, low productivity and low talent retention, among others. Because, at the end of the day, employee satisfaction is a key contributor to a company’s growth, as stated in this report by The Week. It is no longer a good-to-have strategy but a must-have for all employers. 

Mental Well-being Equals Improved Productivity

Since 2016, the global economy has lost $1 trillion each year due to employees’ poor mental health, as stated in a WHO report. Largely shrouded in social stigma, people’s mental health has always been an extremely underrated area that has often faced neglect from both employees and employers. 

However, the chaos caused by the pandemic and the multitude of challenges it brought in its wake, contributed to the deteriorating mental health of employees, mental absenteeism, low productivity, burnout and eventually talent migration. 

“Mental health has emerged as one of the top priorities in employee health and well-being and workplace safety. Hence, employees now value a wide range of mental health support which is easily accessible and affordable. According to our report, 60% of employees shared that insurance coverage and programs that reduce cost of mental health treatment would be most valuable along with virtual mental health counselling and therapist sessions,” says Sanjay Kedia, CEO, Marsh. 

Recognising this, many organisations like Marsh, have swiftly adapted and introduced an array of programmes focused on employee health, both physical and mental, deeply emphasising on the need for empathy in the workspace.  

“Organisations that promote a positive work culture have witnessed higher employee retention as compared to organisations that don’t. According to a study by the American Psychological Association, 78 per cent indicated the pandemic was a substantial source of stress, including a lack of separation between work and home, excessive workloads and concerns about job security. Today, it is imperative for organisations to invest in employee well-being as a business mandate, covering aspects such as physical, mental, social, financial and career well-being (sic),” says Dr C Jayakumar, executive VP and head corporate HR (CHRO), L&T

He adds that this is being done with promotion of online medical consultation and assistance, which also extends to free counselling services with confidentiality for both the employee and their family members. 

“According to a Harvard Business Review (HBR) article titled ‘21 HR Jobs of the Future’, a new HR job role has been identified: Director of well-being, who is responsible for strategic management of employee wellness practices to nurture all employees’ emotional, physical, mental, financial, social, and career well-being. We are already seeing some organisations hire for this position, and we anticipate seeing many more in the coming years, as the future of work becomes more focused on employee well-being,” adds Dr Jayakumar.

Most offerings by corporates like L&T include access to mental health counselling services, tie ups with hospitals providing cashless admission, extension of existing healthcare offerings to family members, availability of emergency services like ambulance and emergency paid leave.   

Additionally, access to quarantine centres with proper medical care, awareness campaigns for prevention and control of COVID-19 and financial and career support to the families of the deceased are highly appreciated among employees and their families.

Financial Health as an equal contributor 

A Scripbox survey on Wealth and Well-Being stated financial health to be one of the top stressors for Indian professionals, especially amid COVID-19. With economic anxiety plummeting, the survey found nine out of 10 Indians state that their poor financial health had a profound impact on their overall well-being.

To address this, Kellogg came up with a unique solution called Kellogg’s ‘Kare’ program. 

“Generally looking at the last 2 years, employee well-being- it has been a heightened sense of flight or fight. Getting energy and wellness back and people off stress is a priority. In line with our global standards, we introduced Kellogg’s ‘Kare’ program to assure our people and their families that safety was upfront and never up for debate. Kellogg’s KARE program evolved into ‘Total Health’, which now encapsulates physical, mental, social and financial well-being of an employee and sees every fortnight intervention with employees in India,” says Nimisha Das, director HR, Kellogg Company. 

In addition to providing regular information on financial benefits, the company also conducted educational sessions on personal finance planning with the help of an external financial advisor called Finsafe. 

Embrace change with personalised wellness solutions


From frequent check-ins, curated care packages, access to online pharmacy, to constant support for mental well-being, companies need to adopt creative solutions and tactics to ensure higher employee satisfaction and efficiency, says Saxena. Practo’s Corporate Health Benefits, echoes this thought through its one-stop solution for corporates– a myriad of tailor-made services for employee well-being. 

These include:

  • Online consultations in over 25 specialities guided by highly experienced doctors for effective care around the clock.
  • Group health insurance that includes over 500+ day care procedures covered with a variety of payment options, for employees and family members.
  • Lab tests at home with discounts upto 20 % on NABL-accredited lab tests and at-home tests in multiple cities.
  • 24/7 SOS ambulance services along with equipped medical staff.
  • Cashless OPD services with a network of 7000+ highly qualified doctors.
  • Covid care packages that include online consultations, lab tests, medical equipment, SOS assistance, and home care services
  • Online pharmacy for accessing a substantial inventory of medicines in addition to COVID-19 essentials and self-test kits.
  • Mental wellbeing solutions available with regular informative webinars and constant support.
  • Organisation of webinars and other knowledge-building sessions, peer-group challenges, and other employee engagement activities. 

It is a platform which provides end-to-end service on the overall outpatient journey of employees. One of the fastest growing players in the healthcare industry, Practo with its corporate health and wellness plans has managed to onboard almost 650+ corporate companies in the last 18- 24 months, and has impacted the lives of 1.5 million employees and 3 million lives in total, including their families. And what’s even better is that these packages don’t only take human dependents into account but also the fur-companions of employees, providing an array of veterinary services. 

“Employee wellness is no longer a hygiene check, especially with growing evidence suggesting it to be imperative to positive business growth. So as companies work towards building healthier hybrid workspaces that integrate personalised, consistent and empathic well-being strategies, we at Practo are working to provide the means of achieving this goal through our tailor-made employee-focused health plans,” adds Saxena. 

She adds that, employees of the partner companies which include L&T, Kellogg, Netflix, Zomato, IBM, Redbull, Gucci, Marico, Hexaware Technologies,Tata Realty, Denave India, etc., now have 24X7 access to 25,000+ doctors for instant consultations, across 23+ specialties such as GP, dermatology, gastroenterology, gynaecology, paediatrics, psychiatry, cardiology and even veterinary care. 

Prominent Wellness champions in India, individuals like Saxena, Dr Jayakumar, Tyagi and Das, have been instrumental in ushering this industry-level migration towards employee wellness. Their in-depth insights and recommendations on employee well-being strategies have been documented in an exclusive eBook by Practo and ETHRWorld. You can read the online guidebook here.


Practo is on a mission to make quality healthcare affordable and accessible for over a billion+ Indians. India’s leading integrated healthcare company it connects the entire healthcare ecosystem together – including patients, doctors, surgeons, clinics, hospitals, pharmacies, and diagnostics – to generate exceptional value and service for all, especially the end consumers.

As technology becomes an integral part of healthcare, Practo has also become an essential enabler in helping doctors understand the nuances of managing and securely storing all health data. Practo encrypts all data with 256-bit encryption, uses HIPAA-compliant data centers, and is one of the few healthcare companies to be ISO 27001 certified. Practo is present in 20+ countries, helping over 30 crore patients, by connecting them with 1 lakh+ verified doctor partners.

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