Wellbeing At Work – Eight Key Concepts to Transform Your Organisational Wellbeing in 2017

In this post I outline eight key concepts you can’t ignore as a leader, to foster Wellbeing in your organisation.

  1. Happier employees support more organisational success.

Regardless of your business, a wealth of data confirms the most important investment any organisation can make is in its people.

Wellbeing in the workplace impacts on overall life satisfaction, just as overall happiness and satisfaction in life tends to spill over to enhance wellbeing at work.

And happier workers are more engaged and more successful by whatever means you want to define success.

  1. ‘Knowledge is Power’ – Know the Numbers.

The results from the American Psychological Association Work and Wellbeing Survey 2016 :

only 41% employees believe their employer supports them in developing and maintaining a healthy lifestyle

(2/3 employees satisfied with employers health and safety practices)

less than half of working Americans ( 44%) say the culture in their organisation supports employee wellbeing.


only 1 in 3 employees regularly participate in health promotion programs provided by employer 


-1 in 3 employees reports being chronically stressed on the job(an increase this year for first time in past 3 years)

3.Heart Matters

We are all human beings, not human doings! Doing relates to the rational thinking brain (traditional intelligence or IQ) which speaks to the head. Whereas  ‘Being’ , is intuitive, the emotional brain (emotional intelligence) which speaks to the heart. And while both IQ and EQ have a role to play, the evidence shows that EQ is much more important than IQ for long term success, both for individuals and organisations. By this I mean our human need to feel engaged and connected to something bigger than ourselves; knowing that our organisation has values, has ‘soul.’

  1. Leadership support for wellbeing matters!

Any mention of work place wellbeing has to start with the wellbeing of the leadership team. And because of the highly contagious nature of both positive and negative emotion, leadership culture and style can impact significantly on the wellbeing of the entire organisation.

Overall there are widespread links between leadership support and a variety of organisational outcomes that support the employee and support the organisation to thrive and flourish.




Employee Leadership Support

Present v’s Absent


Motivated to do their best 91% v’s 38%
Job Satisfaction 91% v’s 30%
Positive relationship with colleagues 93% v’s 72%
Recommend their company as a good place to work. 89% v’s 17%
Intending to leave job in next year 25% v’s 51%




So if you want to be the leader of a more dynamic engaged productive organisation where your people are resourceful, resilient, engaged and highly productive, then YOU need to be the change! (To paraphrase Gandhi – Be the change you want to see in the world.)


  1. ‘Everything is Connected’


At an individual level what you choose to focus your attention on and the emotions you choose to feel impact on who you are and who you become.

At an organisational level actions speak louder than words. If you value ‘wellbeing’ then it will be part of your cultural value system and expressed through a multiplicity of initiatives.

By that I mean that wellbeing is more than simply physical wellness – it also incorporates psychological fitness, emotional vitality and relational wellbeing.

Feeling valued and supported at work with strong work relationships are key factors in employee satisfaction; not surprising given that positive psychology has found that robust relationships are a major part of your overall wellbeing.

Given the highly interdependent nature of modern work places, looking on your work relationships as real investments can reap significant dividends, not just for your individual happiness, but for the overall success and wellbeing of the organisation.

My philosophy of four highly integrated and interconnected pillars of wellbeing( physical, psychological, emotional, spiritual) is underscored  by these compelling numbers from Forbes :

On a 10 Point Scale employees with excellent wellness attributes have the following overall wellbeing scores.


Excellent        Overall Wellbeing Score

Physical wellness        6.66

Relational wellness.    7.21

Mental wellness.         7.76



In all 3 areas.              8.14

In no area.                   5.74


This highlights the critical importance of considering an integrated approach to all aspects of wellbeing when considering new and existing wellbeing initiatives rather than a simple and traditional physical wellness approach.



  1. Recognition Matters


This same research also highlighted the importance of incorporating a practice and program of recognition and regular appreciation for your teams and employees.

Here’s how recognition and appreciation in the workplace showed up on the numbers for overall wellbeing.

Overall Wellbeing Score

Recognised or

Appreciated often           7.2

Rarely or never

recognised at work.       5.36


Perhaps it is less important to do different things than it is to do things differently. Everything is connected and applying that principle in your corporate wellbeing strategy can pay real dividends.


  1. The degree of positivity within an organisation also matters, big time!

Research has found that organisations which flourish have a tipping point of positivity to negativity of at least 3:1.

As described further in my book ‘A Prescription for Happiness’, once this ratio was reached, key performance indicators in organisations from profitability to customer satisfaction and employee engagement improved.

A phrase commonly used by people in the wellbeing space is the expression ‘work-life balance’; to me this makes little sense given the tremendous potential health and happiness benefits of meaningful work. And the key word here is ‘perceive’; no matter what your job, how you choose to perceive it – is up to you!

For me the balance that matters most is the balance between positive and negative emotion for you as a person; as well as in your organisation – to support you and your workplace in flourishing and being at their best.


  1. Wellbeing Works

A recent article in Forbes ( April 2016 – Sturt and Nordstrom) gives some compelling statistics about the return  for focusing on holistic wellbeing.


-Job Satisfaction doubles with increased wellbeing

( 89% of those with excellent wellbeing express job satisfaction vs 44% of employees with poor wellbeing)


-Productivity rises almost 20% from individuals

( 83% of possible work output from employees with excellent wellbeing vs 64% from those with poor wellbeing)


– Team Productivity also rises from 61% to 81% as team wellbeing goes from poor to excellent.


-Workers with excellent wellbeing outperform their peers at every task needed to deliver innovative, great work that matters including :

-more resourceful and resilient;

-higher job engagement;

-less burnout and fewer sick days;

-tend to have higher quality of work and boost productivity;

-tend to form better more sociable relationships, with less interpersonal work conflict,  and have higher emotional intelligence.

-Better Retention:

employees with good or excellent wellbeing plan to stay with their organisations for 2 years longer than those with poor or average wellbeing.


Wellbeing is a measure of overall life satisfaction, not simply what happens in the workplace.

Therefore forward thinking organisations will consider how their wellbeing initiatives impact overall employee wellbeing, both at home and at work.
Secondly, rather than simple short term box ticking initiatives, they will focus their energy more on transformational change that is systemic and leads to sustainable improvements in organisational wellbeing over time. And in this rapidly changing fast paced ‘always on’ corporate world, those organisations that embrace these ideas and place wellbeing at the starting point rather than the finishing line will reap the rewards of enhanced levels of success.