The business case for improving employee well-being

With the power to increase productivity and reduce sick days and staff turnover, there is a strong business case for improving employees’ well-being.

Organizations need to be agile and resilient in the face of great business disruption. Employees need support to manage their well-being across their working lives so they remain productive and able to work in later life. Well-being programs are the key to a productive, agile and resilient workforce.

Changing demographics

Organizations are facing increasing health care costs due to the changing demographics of the workforce. Around 20% of employed US workers are above 55 years old and an estimated 10,000 will turn 65 on a daily basis until 2030. The increasing prevalence of major illnesses, such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes, is only compounding this issue for employers. Organizations will need to create long-term, forward-thinking and sustainable plans to manage this reality.

The benefits of well-being

While well-being programs are not free, organizations should recognize they can be a positive sum game for employers and employees alike. There is a clear benefit for organizations that support their employees’ well-being.

Employees with higher levels of well-being are more engaged and have better productivity and performance, while those with low levels can lose more than a quarter of their potential productivity. Furthermore, those with high levels take fewer sick days and are generally less likely to have mental and physical health issues — which extends their working life.

Well-being programs are a clear expression of commitment to your people and they foster goodwill, which strengthens your brand and reputation. By investing in employees’ well-being, organizations can visibly differentiate themselves from competitors to attract the best talent and reduce staff turnover.

Measuring well-being ROI

For well-being programs to be a success for employers and employees alike, there needs to be a clear metric system to measure their effectiveness. However, most currently do not have one, which is often due to a lack of clarity on how to design robust measurement plans. The first step in designing a metric system is determining the desired ROI, which could include:

  • Increasing employee engagement
  • Driving productivity
  • Improving brand image
  • Strengthening their employment value proposition
  • Reducing sick leave or well-being risks

One size does not fit all

Universally desired health and well-being results should not be dictated to all employees. A tailored approach provides better ROI over a generic one which can wrongly assume that each person’s situation and needs are the same.

Employees should be given well-being choices and own the decision making process, as they best understand their specific personal needs and health status. The role of organizations should be to help educate employees so that they make the best decision for their individual well-being.

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