Wellbeing can be defined as a sense of overall happiness, physical health and mental health. It is “the scientific study of what makes life most worth living”. Economists and National Leaders are beginning to recognise the impact wellbeing has on a country’s status and the bottom line.

Theories on wellbeing suggest that in order to flourish in our lives we need to experience positive emotion, engagement, healthy relationships, meaning in our lives and a sense of accomplishment. This can be applied directly to the workplace and our careers.

A rapidly increasing body of research is examining the impact an individual’s wellbeing on a range of organisational outcomes. Findings suggest that employee wellbeing is positively correlated with organisational outcomes such as rates of absenteeism and organisational performance.

Statistics from the UK Department of Work and Pensions suggest that the cost of wellbeing related issues on the economy equates to employee absenteeism of 10 days per year on average per employee. Lower levels of wellbeing is reported to increase the rates of incapacity benefits, increase the prevalence of stress and mental health conditions, and it is now the number one cause of absenteeism.

Research also suggests that a Leader’s own levels of stress and wellbeing are positively correlated with employees’ stress and wellbeing. Leadership behaviour, specifically a Leader’s support, consideration and empowerment of employees, as well as the quality of the relationships they have with employees, can impact on employees’ levels of stress and their overall wellbeing. Further research suggests that trust from Leaders promotes perceptions of fairness and equity in the workplace and also has a positive impact on employee wellbeing.

So what can an organisation do to assist its employees and in turn improve performance? Many organisations have moved beyond merely acknowledging the importance of employee wellbeing and have begun including wellness policies and practices in their organisations. Corporate wellbeing programs are at the centre of initiatives to increase wellbeing in the workplace. Such programs include gym and exercise incentives, “flex-time”, health and nutrition education, and several types of group and individual counselling. Research suggests that the use of customised wellbeing programs, such as individual counselling programs, creates a greater reduction in health cost (absenteeism, compensation costs, disability costs and direct health costs) and larger improvements to employee wellbeing than other programs. Further, it has been suggested that health and wellbeing programs lead to an average reduction in health costs of 25% (for absenteeism, workers compensation and disability claims).

At Ferris, we recognise the importance of wellbeing for the individual and the organisation. Based on this research suggesting that customised wellbeing programs are the most effective, we offer tailored wellbeing solutions to meet the individual and organisational needs.

Further information on how we can assist you is available on our Workshops page.

References:

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Chapman, L. (2007). Meta-Evaluation of Worksite Health Promotion Economic Return Studies.  Art of Health Promotion Newsletter, 6, 1 – 23.

Currie, D. (2001). Managing Employee Well-Being, Chandos Publishing Limited, Oxford.

Department for Work and Pensions (2005), Exploring How General Practitioners Work with Patients on Sick Leave, Research Report 257, June, Department of Works and Pensions, London.

Department for Work and Pensions (2006), A New Deal for Welfare: Empowering People at Work, CM 6730, Stationery Office, London, available at: www.dwp.gov.uk/welfarereform/docs/A_new_deal_for_welfare-Empowering_people_to_work-Full_Document.pdf

Harvard Business Review. (2012). The Economics of Well-being. Retrieved from http://hbr.org/2012/01/the-economics-of-well-being/ar/1

Keller, P. A., Lehmann, D. R., & Milligan, K. J. (2009).  Effectiveness of corporate well-being programs: A meta-analysis. Journal of Macromarketing, 29, 279 – 302.

Lawson, K. J.,  Noblet, A. J., & Rodwell, J. J. (2009). Promoting employee wellbeing: the relevance of work characteristics and organizational justice. Health Promotion International, 24, 223 – 233.

Seligman, M. (2011). Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-being, Free Press, New York.

Skakon, J., Nielsen, K., Borg. V., & and Guzman, J. (2010) Are leaders’ well-being, behaviours and style associated with the affective well-being of their employees? A systematic review of three decades of research. Work & Stress, 24, 107 – 139.

Van De Voorde,K., Paauwe, J., & Van Veldhoven, M. (2012). EmployeeWell-being and the HRM–Organizational Performance Relationship: A Review of Quantitative Studies. International Journal of Management Reviews, 14, 391–407.