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Why the well-being of your employees really matters to your organisation


According to Tom Rath and Jim Harter of Forbes.com, your well-being and that of your employees is a serious business matter as it affects both profits and productivity – for better or worse.

They say the well-being of workers is in fact a "quantifiable and manageable lever" which affects an organisation's bottom line.

Rath and Harter, both at Gallup, conducted research in partnership with "leading economists, psychologists, sociologists, physicians and other scientists, and various in-depth analyses" and identified "five universal, interconnected elements that represent what people across nationalities, faiths and cultures look for in life and what causes them to thrive". These are:

Career well-being (enjoying daily work); social well-being (good relationships, love); financial well-being (security and effective money management); physical well-being (good health and sufficient energy); community well-being (sense of local engagement and involvement).


The authors say people with high levels of well-being in all of these categories thrive, whereas low levels in just one area can cause personal suffering – and that means their organisation also suffers.

They explain: "When organisations invest in their employees' well-being they reap significant reductions in costs and increases in value over time.

"Our data proves that people who have thriving well-being take significantly fewer sick days, and their lost productivity cost is a relatively low $840 per person, as compared with $28,800 per person a year for employees with very low levels of well-being."

What's more, employees with high levels of well-being tend to have more engagement with their workplaces, and as a result are "more productive and cost-effective".

Unfortunately, just 8% of employees strongly agree that they have higher overall well-being because of their employers. The vast majority, say the authors, "think their job is a detriment to their overall well-being."

Therefore, managers must take action to improve their employees lives in the five identified areas. Rath and Harter suggest ways in which this can be done.

Mentoring programmes, development opportunities and charitable initiatives can foster an environment to stimulate community and social well-being.

Also: "Successful money management and a feeling of financial security have nearly twice the impact of income alone on an employee's overall well-being," say the authors.

So financial well-being can be improved through education on ways to save money and minimise financial risk and stress.

Healthy lifestyles should be incentivised to improve physical well-being, and in order to address career well-being Rath and Harter advise you to "connect your people to their work, focus on their strengths and recognise their accomplishments".

Your Well-Being Is A Serious Business Matter
Tom Rath and Jim Harter