How would you score yourself on these questions:

  • I am happy at work most of the time.
  • My work has a clear sense of purpose.
  • Overall, I am completely satisfied with my job.
  • I feel stressed at work most of the time.

How would people on your team or organization answer these questions?

These questions are from the Work Wellbeing Score from “Indeed, a major jobs website, to assess the relationship between workplace wellbeing and firm performance.” Professor Jan-Emmanuel De Neve, Director of the Wellbeing Research Centre at the University of Oxford, led a team of researchers to correlate the answers to the performance of over 1,600 publicly listed U.S. companies.

In their paper, Workplace Wellbeing and Firm Performance, they report, “We find that wellbeing is associated with firm profitability and that companies with the highest levels of wellbeing also subsequently outperform standard benchmarks in the stock market. Overall, these descriptive results show a strong positive relationship between employee wellbeing and firm performance.”

Key Study Points to Ponder

The report is a dense academic analysis full of statistics and charts. Here are a few findings that stand out:

  • A one-point increase in company happiness predicts a 1.7 percentage-point increase in Return-on-Assets.
  • Graphs on firm value, ROA, and profits show a steep rise in all three as well-being scores increase.
  • “Companies with high wellbeing ratings perform strongly in the stock market.”
  • Higher well-being leads to improved relationships and greater social capabilities.
  • Well-being promotes higher creativity with more novel and useful ideas.
  • Well-being is strongly linked to absenteeism.
  • Well-being improves the firm’s ability to attract talented people.
  • Happier and more satisfied workers reduce turnover rates.

The report concludes, “Investing in wellbeing is often seen as a trade-off with other organizational goals. However, contrary to this assumption, the firm-level evidence presented here suggests that there may be strong business-related reasons to invest in employee wellbeing.”

Work Well-Being is Good for People AND Profits

This study is another in decades of research showing the huge impact of an energized, engaged, and people-focused culture on organization results. Everybody wins.

BUT…many senior executives still consider “soft skills” such as emotional intelligence, perceptions, engagement, and the like secondary to “hard decisions” such as strategies, investments, financial systems/analysis, technology, automation, AI, etc.

Reviewing the research, the Indeed Editorial Team notes, “Even though 87% of executives and managers agree that improving work wellbeing gives them a competitive edge, a mere 19% said that wellbeing was a strategic priority in their organization. This gap between thinking and doing partially stems from a fear of what De Neve refers to as ‘fluffiness’…they only want to look at KPIs that they consider objective…self-reports are necessarily subjective, but our research shows that these subjective indicators relate to highly objective outcomes.”

Well-Being Strategies and Resources

The Canadian Positive Psychology Association has been working with Workplace Strategies for Mental Health for the past few years. A key component of that partnership is the annual Canadian Workplace Well-Being Awards.

The Workplace Strategies for Mental Health website is a treasure-trove of free resources. Their four main sections are Organizational Strategies, Approaches for People Leaders, Resources for Employees, and Assessments, Tools, and Workshops.

If you’re looking to increase workplace well-being, here are a few resources that look especially useful:

  • Emotional Intelligence in Organizations — an Emotional Intelligence self-assessment, activities to building stronger, more resilient teams, strategies and tips, and workshop materials.
  • Employee Stress Prevention Process — understanding chronic mental stress, action guide for preventing and managing it, and related assessment tools.
  • Organizational Culture — key questions to ask in identifying organizational strengths, assessing your current culture, and building a stronger culture.
  • Trauma in Organizations — organizational and leader strategies to prevent, recognize, address, and support people experiencing trauma.
  • Union and Management Cooperation — making psychological health and safety a shared objective, psychologically safe collective bargaining, and 20 questions for unions on psychological safety.
  • Approaches for People Leaders — has an index of dozens of topics and actions on concerns, leadership skills, and team building.
  • Resources for Employees — supports for personal and family well-being are available at work, getting help and personal growth.
  • Assessments, Tools, and Workshops — provide free resources such as slide presentations, facilitator guides, and participant handouts.

Other Well-Being Resources

Greater Good magazine is published by the Greater Good Science Center (GGSC) at the University of California, Berkeley. For almost 25 years, they’ve been providing tips, tools, and resources “for a happier life and more compassionate society.” Their Happiness at Work quiz provides 20 questions to assess your level of work well-being and happiness.

The Resources section of our website is a library of free material on Leading Others, General Management and Leadership, Organization Improvement, and Self-Leadership. There’s an index under those categories on the right column of our Resources page.

These blogs might be helpful in your personal or workplace well-being:

Are you Leading the Way to Higher Well-Being?

Are people in your organization leaping out of bed eager to get to work? Or is work a four-letter curse word?

In the most effective organizations, leaders are often “leading in the key of E” by engaging and energizing people. Zenger Folkman’s been tracking the links between leadership and employee engagement for over two decades. Their 360 assessments show that the best leaders have four times higher engagement levels than the worst leaders.

Are you having fun? Do you let your face know about it? Are you energizing your organization? Or are you the boss who energizes the room by leaving it?