For many companies, their bottom line is--well--the bottom line, and rightfully so, especially during this pandemic. But what research shows us is that there is tremendous value in ensuring employees are well supported throughout challenging times, and it's not just about good benefits.
Gallup research has found that people thriving in the five elements of wellbeing--career, social, financial, physical, and community--are better employees. Career wellbeing is defined as liking what you do each day and being motivated to achieve your goals; physical wellbeing comprises having good health and enough energy to get things done daily; social wellbeing means having supportive relationships and love in your life; community wellbeing is liking where you live, feeling safe and having pride in your community; and financial wellbeing centers on managing your economic life to reduce stress and increase security.
Gallup's research has established that wellbeing is about much more than just physical wellness or happiness. Here are four ways employees thriving in all five elements of wellbeing demonstrate better performance.
They Rebound Better Following Adversity
Employees whose wellbeing is properly maintained are 36 percent more likely to report a full recovery after an illness, injury, or hardship. According to the American Psychiatric Association, "resilience is a key strategy that helps employees tackle stress, a competitive job market, workplace conflicts, and address challenges on the job." Supporting, motivating, and equipping workers with the tools they need goes a long way to help them overcome obstacles.
They Are More Adaptable
Employees who are satisfied across the wellness spectrum are more than twice as likely to say they always adapt well to change. Adaptability is a skill that has no limits in terms of workplace application. Some of the benefits it entails include overcoming challenges by embracing them, becoming a thought leader by leaning into change, and always staying relevant by being willing to experiment.
They Miss Less Work
Employees whose wellness tanks are full miss 41 percent less work as a result of poor health. The financial implications associated with this factor, at least through the physical wellbeing filter, are staggering.
A 2018 report from the Integrated Benefits Institute (IBI), a nonprofit health and productivity research organization, found that lost productivity due to illness cost employers an additional $530 billion per year on top of the nearly $880 billion they already paid toward health care benefits for employees and dependents. According to IBI President Thomas Parry, PhD, "These results demonstrate the need for a more holistic, integrated strategy when it comes to managing health." In short, a healthy workforce brings organizations closer to a healthy bottom line.
They Are More Loyal
Employees whose wellbeing is tended to are 81 percent less likely to seek out a new employer in the next year. Not only does research show that happy workers are more productive, but the cost of finding, recruiting, onboarding, and training a new employee to replace a vacant role is considerable. In fact, according to Bersin by Deloitte, the average cost per hire is almost $4,000.
Employers should regularly evaluate resources that accommodate the broad spectrum of wellbeing for employees, such as Employee Assistances Programs (EAPs). But you don't need to subscribe to a formal program to be effective. Consider value-adds such as providing additional PTO to allow people to deal with personal needs or granting remote employees a modest stipend so they can spruce up their home office.
An employee's wellbeing is not just a personal issue; how he or she rates the "wellbeing five" is directly tied to business health. Creating a culture and environment that fosters employee wellbeing can pay dividends for employers.