The Ultimate Guide to Measuring Employee Wellbeing: 6 Key Metrics to Track
Assessing the success of your wellbeing initiatives is crucial to meeting your goals. Here are the metrics to monitor.
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Operations, skills, automation—the list of things that organizations should invest in is as long as it is expensive. So, why add employee wellbeing to the list?
This guide discusses the benefits of committing to keeping your people healthy and tips for doing so. Most importantly, we also provide details of how to measure employee wellbeing, including six key metrics to track:
Here’s why investing in employee wellbeing is a business imperative:
Employee turnover rates are expected to rise to 41.4% in 2023, with poor work-life balance and personal circumstances among the highest causes of people quitting their jobs. This rate has increased significantly from the average turnover rate of 30.3% in 2019.
Unsurprisingly, office-based roles have higher churn than hybrid or remote roles, which offer more flexibility for employees. This is a huge indicator that companies willing to provide a greater work-life balance for their team members will be rewarded with loyalty. And this lower turnover directly reduces recruitment costs, which is a win for businesses trying to keep costs down.
Holistic health refers to the physical, mental, and social aspects of wellbeing. It’s the ultimate goal for any employer that wants to keep their team happy and fulfilled in life and work. Employers can’t control employees’ lifestyles outside of work hours, but they can focus on creating a healthy working environment that keeps morale and motivation high.
MetLife research finds that when employees feel holistically healthy, they’re 74% more likely to be satisfied at work, 59% more likely to be engaged, and 53% more likely to be productive—all benefits for companies to enjoy.
Company culture is your organization’s heartbeat—the rhythm that defines how people interact, feel, and thrive at work. In terms of wellbeing, company culture can be the secret sauce that reduces stress, boosts job satisfaction, and turns your workplace into a wellbeing haven. Black and White Zebra’s Senior Editor Trish Sammer discussed the role that company culture has played on her wellbeing in different roles, including how it has impacted her motivation at work:
“I got laid off from what I thought was my dream job earlier this year. The job before that was so toxic and stressful I wondered if I’d been unwittingly cast in Game of Thrones. So when I started my current job, I told myself I was going to get real about boundaries. No more giving my ‘whole self’ to a job. I could do good work and have nice relationships with my coworkers, but work was going to stay neatly tucked inside the ‘work’ compartment of my brain. Then our whole company went to Mexico for a week and I accidentally fell in love with everyone. I think a lot of people WANT to be passionate about work. We don’t want to hold ourselves back. We want to dive in. Just treat us well and give us a reason. This doesn’t have to be hard.”
The key to improving employee wellbeing is to examine the whole person, not just the aspects of wellness that relate directly to the workplace. Here are five areas to focus on:
Career wellbeing refers to employees’ feelings about their current job and future prospects. It considers factors such as job satisfaction, workplace relationships, growth opportunities, and work-life balance. Although we always urge you to look beyond professional wellness, it’s an important starting point for measuring overall wellbeing. If your employees can’t see a future with your company, they won’t hang around.
Social wellbeing is an employee’s sense of belonging, connection, and support system. It can be influenced by personal connections within the workplace, along with friendships, family relationships, romantic partnerships, and other connections outside of work.
Humans thrive on social connections, so a lack of them can negatively affect our wellbeing. But, MetLife research reveals that employers are in the dark about how connected their employees are. 86% of employees state that their employees are socially healthy, but only 67% of workers confirm this is true.
According to MetLife, 55% of employees work paycheck to paycheck, with a whopping 90% concerned about inflationary pressures and the wider economic crisis. Financial stress is prevalent, with employees experiencing concerns about their ability to:
MetLife reveals a 28% gap between the percentage of employers who believe their staff are financially healthy (83%) compared to the employees (55%) who agree they are. But it’s vital that companies face up to the reality of their workers’ financial circumstances. Employees struggling to live within their budget may become distracted at work and will likely seek a higher-paying job elsewhere.
Physical wellbeing focuses on the body, specifically general health, energy levels, ability to manage stress, and resistance to illness. Employers can support employees by:
Psychological wellbeing is the state of an employee’s mental and emotional health. It encompasses positive emotions (such as happiness, contentment, and fulfillment) and negative emotions (like stress, anxiety, and depression). Employers can support employees by creating a safe, positive workplace culture that includes open channels for communication and resources for mental health support. Offering employee wellness programs and stress management workshops can also promote psychological wellbeing.
Track the success of your wellbeing initiatives using the following measuring methods:
If you want a high-level overview of employee health or want to analyze the success of a particular wellbeing strategy, surveying your workforce with a mix of questions is a great starting point.
1:1 interviews between managers and direct reports are an opportunity to measure wellbeing. Use them as a forum to address any concerns, provide support and guidance, and track progress over time. Encourage managers to listen actively to their employees’ responses and suggest ways to improve employee engagement and satisfaction levels, which are key wellbeing indicators.
Tracking employee wellbeing doesn’t need to be expensive, especially if you already have existing data collection methods. For example, you might repurpose data from:
To do so, take historical data from the past few months or even 1-2 years and use these valuable insights as a benchmark of employee wellbeing to improve on.
Now you have some data collection methods up your sleeve; the next step is determining the specific metrics you need to track. As a best practice, avoid tracking all the metrics; instead, select a handful related to the wellness goals you want to achieve. Start by benchmarking your metrics in all cases so you have a useful comparison point to refer back to as you progress with your wellbeing initiatives.
Tracking participation rates in your wellbeing programs and initiatives can reveal how invested your staff is in their own health and wellness. If participation is low, it may be a sign that better communication or incentives are needed to encourage engagement.
If turnover rates are high, this usually indicates that staff morale is low; if morale is low, it is likely that employee wellbeing isn’t where it should be. Employees who feel supported and valued are more likely to stay with a company long-term, so tracking turnover rates can give insight into how well your employees are thriving within the organization.
Absenteeism is an appropriate metric if your employee wellbeing goal is to understand the link between sick days and productivity. Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics reveals that 7.8 million workers were absent from work due to sickness in January 2022, up 110% from 3.7 million the year before. This astonishing leap suggests that employees have lower wellbeing than previously. Senior Brand & Marketing Manager George Bell describes how people may have different attitudes toward illness since the pandemic:
“It does amaze me how we used to go into work with stonking colds, our bodies screaming out for rest, and us knowingly infecting everyone on our trains and in our office, and thinking that was the right thing to do to both ourselves and others.”
Collecting demographic data, such as age, gender, sexual orientation, parental status, and more, can help you understand if certain categories of people are struggling with wellbeing. If you discover that working moms are leaving your organization in droves, this could signal they’re not receiving the help they need. Use the data to improve the situation for current employees in at-risk categories.
Employee satisfaction is an easy metric to track using regular surveys with Likert scale questions. Ask questions related to wellbeing, workloads, work-life balance, stress, career aspirations, and more to understand how satisfied your employees are in their current roles.
Measuring productivity in your organization will depend on the type of work your employees do. For example, you might measure manual work in terms of tasks completed per day, or customer service work in terms of response times and customer satisfaction ratings. Use qualitative data to identify any trends or patterns that may indicate a connection between employee wellbeing and fluctuating productivity levels.
If your metrics don’t tell a pretty story, consider how to improve your employee wellbeing initiatives with four tips to get things back on track:
Work-life balance is exactly what it says on the tin. It’s about finding the sweet spot between work and personal life, which is a balance that can quickly get out of whack. If your employees work more than their contracted hours, check their emails on the weekend, or struggle to switch off from work, this will undoubtedly impact their personal lives. Support your employees in building better boundaries by:
Mental health conditions are common, with 1 in 5 Americans living with a mental illness. Your organization must support both employees with active conditions and all other employees with maintaining their mental health. To do so:
Employees who feel heard and valued are more likely to have better wellbeing. Being transparent about company decisions, goals, and expectations creates a sense of trust and belonging among employees. To foster transparency and communication:
Offering flexible work arrangements can greatly improve employee wellbeing by allowing them to balance their personal and professional lives more effectively. Consider implementing:
By prioritizing employee wellbeing, organizations can create a positive work culture that supports their employees’ physical and mental health.
Our Benepass platform is designed to help companies optimize their employee benefits. We offer the following programs to support your wellbeing initiatives:
With our platform, companies can track their employees’ benefits utilization and gain in-depth insights into their employees' engagement levels and wellbeing. Our platform also enables administrators to drill down into employee spending and identify trends, allowing them to tailor benefits programs to better meet their employees’ unique needs over time. By leveraging the insights provided by our platform, companies can create top-notch benefits programs that promote employee satisfaction, engagement, and wellbeing.