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Over half of Indian companies expect negative biz impact in next 6 months: Survey

Over half of Indian companies expect negative biz impact in next 6 months: Survey

MUMBAI: Over half of companies in India or about 57% expect moderate to large negative business impact in the next six months due to COVID-19 outbreak, according to a Willis Towers Watson survey.

The survey showed 46% of the organisations expect this to last over a 12-month period, while 19% expect such an adverse impact to last over a two-year period. Only 5% of organisations expect a positive business impact within the next 12 to 24 months.

“The tough economic conditions and anticipated business impact could drive organisations to consider workforce optimisation,” said Rohit Jain, Head of India, Willis Towers Watson.

“Employers should take an emphatic and considerate approach and evaluate options such as staff redeployment, reduced working hours/days, long service leave, sabbatical, furlough, hiring freeze and voluntary pay cuts, before any serious consideration of a workforce reduction,” Jain said in a press statement.

In a post-COVID-19 world, some companies may need to re-hire and potential employees will factor in the consideration of organisational culture and how companies have treated their employees during the crisis, he added.

A total of 103 organisations in India participated in the “COVID-19 India Readiness” survey conducted from March 20 to 31. Data was collected from nearly 417,000 employees working across sectors such as Financial Services, Healthcare, IT & Telecom, Manufacturing, Public Sector & Education and Wholesale & Retail.

The survey found that 42% of respondents have not taken a decision on salary increment budgets for this year, while 33% indicated that performance appraisals and bonus pay-outs will happen as planned.

“March to April is the performance review period and we’re seeing organisations adopting a wait-and-see approach,” said Rajul Mathur, Consulting Head, Talent and Rewards, Willis Towers Watson, India.

Most organisations are likely to consider the options of selective increments for critical skill staff, defer staff increments by three to six months, or even do away with increments altogether if the adverse circumstances prevail, he added.

Eighty-three percent of organisations plan to review their work-from-home policy, and 46% indicated that they would reimburse employees the expenses incurred for setting up their home internet for work purposes.

“The rate at which corporates and employees have adopted technology in the last couple of weeks is truly remarkable. This combined with large number of employees working remotely, also leaves organisations vulnerable to cyber-attacks. It is therefore important for organisations to also invest in employee awareness and education while reviewing cyber insurance adequacy,” added Jain.

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