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How to Measure Workplace Wellbeing and Use Data for Positive Change

Person happy at work - because we measured workplace wellbeing to understand how to help our people
Happy at work
‘What is measured gets done!’ - Peter Drucker

Workplace well-being has become an increasingly important aspect of creating a healthy and productive work environment. At our recent meet-up one audience member, Alex, shared their experience that improving employees' well-being can also improve their performance. Keep reading to see what we discussed on how to measure workplace wellbeing for positive change!

"Helping people improve their well-being helps them perform better. Helping improve their performance improves their well-being"

A growing body of research suggests that employee well-being is linked to productivity, engagement, and job satisfaction.This is vital to helping companies better understand the needs of their workforce and design interventions that support their well-being. We welcomed Ivor Colson co-founder of OMNIFIA, of Omifia and Dr Sridevi Kalidindi clinical psychiatrist and founder of Klip at our Measuring Workplace Well-being event. Both speakers shared a common belief that 'what gets tracked gets cracked,' implying that by measuring and monitoring workplace well-being, organisations are better equipped to take action and improve the health and productivity of their workforce. Ivor expressed that it would be great to shift well-being from being the individual's responsibility and ambition to one shared with organisation and supported by policy. It’s in everyone's interest to have healthier and happier people.

"Work is intertwined with well-being." - Ivor Colson

Why is it important to measure workplace wellbeing?

Measuring workplace well-being is important for several reasons:

  • It helps organisations understand the needs of their workforce: By measuring employee well-being, organisations can identify areas where their employees may be struggling and design interventions that can support them. If an employee is experiencing high levels of stress at work, the organisation can implement interventions to help them.

  • It can improve productivity: Research shows that when employees are happy and healthy, they are more productive. Measuring employee well-being can help organisations identify areas where they can support their employees and improve their productivity.

  • It can improve employee retention: When employees feel valued and supported, they are more likely to stay with an organisation. By measuring employee well-being and designing interventions to support their well-being, organisations can improve employee retention. Wellbeing is cited as a top priority for Gen Z employees, with 83 per cent saying it’s on a par with salary.

What type of measures can you collect?

There are several measures that organisations can collect to assess employee well-being. Measures that most of us get can start with today include

  • Absenteeism: How often employees are absent from work due to illness or other reasons.

  • Turnover: The rate at which employees leave the organisation.

  • Presenteeism: The extent to which employees are present at work but not fully productive.

  • Job satisfaction: How satisfied employees are with their job and the organisation.

Measures that will take more time to implement and understand are

Ivor mentioned that using surveys to measure workplace well-being has its challenges, one being that it only captures that one moment in time. A survey response in the morning could differ drastically to how they would answer in the afternoon. The key risk to surveys are that those who are most disengaged are often the ones who do not respond, leading to an unreliable picture.

  • Burnout is a complex phenomenon that can be difficult to measure and diagnose, as it involves a combination of emotional exhaustion, depersonalisation, and reduced personal accomplishment. Many of the measures used to assess burnout rely on self-reported data, which may not always be reliable or accurate.

  • Work-life balance is influenced by a range of factors, including workload, job demands, and personal circumstances. It can be difficult to get an accurate picture of an individual's work-life balance through surveys or other quantitative measures alone, as individuals may be reluctant to share personal information or may not be aware of their own work-life balance.

  • Social connectedness involves subjective experiences such as feelings of belonging, social support, and social integration. It can be difficult to get an accurate and reliable picture of an individual's social connectedness through surveys or other quantitative measures alone, as individuals may not be aware of their own social connectedness or may not be willing to share personal information.

  • Physical health also involves collecting physical health data that requires specialised equipment or expertise to collect and understand. It is often met with hesitation from the individual to volunteer this data to their organisations.

Tips on how to use these measures for positive change and how to avoid negative actions

It's important for organisations to use employee well-being measures in a positive way that benefits their employees and the organisation as a whole. Here are some tips on how to do this:

  • Use data analysis for improvement: Analysing employee well-being data can identify areas of struggle and support interventions. Focus on finding the root cause rather than patching symptoms.

  • Involve employees in the process: It's important to involve employees in the design and implementation of well-being interventions. This can help to ensure that the interventions are effective and well-received.

  • Communicate the purpose of the data: It's important to communicate to employees why the organisation is collecting well-being data and how it will be used. This can help to build trust and encourage employees to be honest in their responses.

  • Protect employee privacy: It's important to ensure that employee data is anonymised and protected to avoid negative actions such as discrimination or retaliation.

  • Avoid one size fits all: Keep in mind that not all employees will respond to the same interventions. Use the data to identify which interventions would be most effective given context. People's experiences that contributed to the data pool will all be different.

  • Use the data to create a positive work environment: By using employee well-being data to design interventions that support their well-being, organisations can create a positive work environment that benefits both employees and the organisation.

  • Track progress: Continue to collect data and track progress over time. Whatever you measure it is the trend of the data that matters more than the actual numbers. Are you improving?

Measuring employee well-being is an important step towards creating a healthy and productive work environment. By collecting and using well-being data in a positive way, organisations can support their employees and improve their productivity, engagement, and job satisfaction.

What is the overall goal?

"Wouldn’t it be great if work was a place you came to get healthier?" - Dr Sridevi Kalidindi

Most importantly, is the data there to help us achieve our goals? What are your organisation's goals? How are you getting there? As summed up by Dr. Sridevi Kalidindi, - We want to achieve a point where, for staff, organisations and society, we get to a point where the evidence and practice are good enough so we are protecting our people and keeping them well.

Join us at our next event and explore how you can improve workplace well-being in your organisation!


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