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China / Education

Quality of life gains growing importance

By Shi Jing in Shanghai (China Daily) Updated: 2015-08-31 07:49

Improving the quality of life for employees is gaining growing importance among most of China's corporate leaders.

According to a recent poll conducted by Sodexo - a global on-site services, benefits and rewards services provider - a resounding 98 percent of the surveyed Chinese business leaders supervising more than 2,000 employees said it is important to improve the quality of life within their organizations.

The survey of 50 leaders was the first of its kind to examine the impact that the workers' quality of life can have on corporate performance. A total of 780 business leaders and decision-makers in the corporate, healthcare and educational sectors were surveyed in Brazil, China, France, India, the United Kingdom and the United States.

The next generation of China's workforce will be the most important lever in raising the quality of life in the nation's corporations, according to 66 percent of those surveyed.

It also said that 62 percent believe public authorities, laws and regulations will also play an important role.

Seventy percent of the surveyed organizations with initiatives in place have focused on health and nutrition. Seventy-eight percent have a dedicated budget for programs to improve quality of life.

"Our work culture will change with time, so that the cost of implementing improvements will be seen as an investment, rather than an obstacle," said Christophe Solas, CEO of Sodexo in China.

Zhao Jiehan, a manager at a privately owned textile export company in Shaoxing, Zhejiang province, said it had been attaching greater importance to the quality of life of its employees in recent years, by addressing food safety in its canteens, and providing annual medical checks.

"There is no doubt that labor costs have been rising in recent years. But I would like to spend more money on my employees, as I regard this as an investment. It is not at all easy to attract the right talents these days. The job market is quite active in China despite the economic downturn. In this sense, employee loyalty has become ever more important. If we do not try to retain them, the cost of finding new employees will be even higher," he said.

Philippe Estreguil, human resources director for Sodexo in China, said: "These changes in society mean that engagement is not an abstract notion. Put simply, an organization that engages its employees will be more successful and profitable than one that does not. Research has shown that engagement is related to bottom line outcomes such as job performance, client satisfaction and higher financial returns.

"At the same time, fostering engagement helps us to keep our staff. This, too, is closely related to revenue and costs, as a high turnover rate means more money has to be invested to recruit, interview, train and manage new employees. Also, a stable workforce results in a valuable pool of talent that can support business growth," he added.

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