3 Surprising Ways to Measure Employee Well-Being
Cold season may be coming to an end, but that doesn’t mean corporate wellness initiatives should. To keep employees healthy throughout the year, employers need to step up their health and wellness game. To do that, first measure employee well-being -- are employees engaged and healthy? What needs to be improved to keep them that way?
Employee well-being encompasses many factors, so how can it be measured accurately? Employers who focus on sick days and other health-specific data are missing the point -- well-being runs deeper.
In 2006, Limeade launched the first well-being assessment that measures the factors that most impact individual well-being -- like sleep, nutrition, stress, resilience, mindfulness, work meaning and more. When employees have high well-being, companies perform better. But, beyond a literal assessment of well-being, here are three surprising business metrics that link directly to it:
Although nutrition and exercise are most commonly associated with wellness, energy and engagement are just as important. When employees feel healthy and happy, they're more likely to be engaged in their work, the Workplace Well-Being study by Quantum Workplace and my company, Limeade, suggests.
In the study, respondents were 38 percent more engaged and 18 percent more likely to go the extra mile when they felt their employers cared about their well-being.
And the more engaged employees are, the better equipped they are to fight off colds and other illnesses. According to a 2015 Gallup survey on employee well-being and engagement, employees who are engaged at work and report good well-being are 30 percent less likely to miss work.
Over the course of a year, these employees miss 70 percent fewer workdays due to poor health than those who aren’t engaged and don’t have high well-being.
How to measure: Check in with employees regularly to gauge their engagement. Ask about their personal career goals -- do they have any? How are they working toward achieving them?
In addition, ask employees about their relationships with their managers and co-workers. Do they know what is expected of them? Do they feel like someone is inspiring and encouraging their development? Do they have opportunities to grow?
Regularly conduct surveys, like the simple weekly surveys offered by TINY pulse, and meet with employees one-on-one to learn how they’re doing and if they need to be reenergized.
When employees aren’t feeling their best -- when they lack energy and feel overwhelmed or stressed out -- they don’t turn in their best work. But when employees feel great, it shows in their performance. The Gallup study found that those who were engaged and reported good well-being were 27 percent more likely to report that their performance at work was excellent.
Healthy employees complete consistent, high-quality work. A study published in the January issue of the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine tracked the stock performance of 45 publicly-traded companies that earned top scores on employee health and wellness scorecards. The study found the high scorers outperformed the 500 largest U.S. companies listed on the S&P 500 index by 235 percent over a six-year period. The results suggest that investing in and measuring employee health can have a positive impact on company success.
How to measure: Track employee performance regularly -- not just once a year. Use employee goals as a way to track progress and performance. Are employees taking the steps they need to meet their goals? Are they hitting major checkpoints and achieving smaller objectives along the way?
Turn to business analytics to uncover the trends and correlations between your well-being data and your business goals. Are in-store sales higher in locations with employees who report a higher well-being? Look for inconsistencies and dips in productivity and quality of work. For instance, if there’s a serious drop in performance during the winter, when compared with other months, employee well-being is most likely the culprit.
Employee well-being plays a bigger role in keeping top talent than employers may think. After all, employees who are engaged and report high well-being are 59 percent less likely to look for another job in the next year, the Gallup survey found.
When employees are healthy and happy, they’re less likely to look for other opportunities and more likely to stick around.
How to measure: Most employers already measure employee retention, but these measurements don’t focus on employee well-being. When employees leave, ask about their well-being in the exit interview. How much did stress, their health, or company culture factor into their decision?
Looking at the relationship between employee well-being and retention can help employers find ways to better support their team and keep their best workers in it for the long-haul.
How do you measure employee well-being? Share in the comments below!
Henry Albrecht is the founder and CEO of Limeade, the corporate wellness technology company that measurably improves employee health well-being and performance. Connect with Henry and the Limeade team Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin.