How to Promote Employee Well-being in the Workplace: Global Study

CLAIRE HASTWELL AND MARCUS ERB

Author

Researchers at Great Place to Work and Johns Hopkins University Partner on Study that Reveals Key Insights in Promoting Employee Well-being

What is employee well-being? How can leaders create a company culture that nurtures employee well-being? Leaders are asking these questions because not knowing the answers means missing out on a key driver of effective teams and a thriving business.

At Great Place to Work®, we partnered with researchers at Johns Hopkins University’s Carey Business School to engage in a special employee well-being study.

What is employee well-being in the workplace?

Promoting employee well-being in the workplace means looking beyond people’s physical health and type of work they do.

These two dimensions are important yet only part of the complex blend of experiences shaping people’s well-being at work. When employees consistently have positive experiences across areas that contribute to a high level of well-being, they can flourish inside and outside of work.

Methodology

We surveyed over 14,000 people from 37 countries to better understand factors in the average worker’s day-to-day that contribute to employee well-being in the workplace. We then contrasted those findings with Great Place to Work’s global database of millions of employee surveys to identify drivers and practices used by Best Workplaces™ worldwide to improve employee well-being.

Four out of five employees are not flourishing at work.

“Employee well-being was important before the pandemic,” says Michael Bush, CEO of Great Place to Work. “These past two years further revealed how essential it is, firmly placing employee well-being as an essential element of the new world of work.”

Because of the potential impact on the future workplace, there is a growing urgency to address employee well-being. This has inspired leading companies to develop better approaches for understanding and improving employee well-being.

To attract, retain and sustain great talent, HR leaders now focus on supporting holistic well-being at work, including:

•  Mental/emotional support

•  Financial health

•  A sense of purpose

•  Personal support

•  Meaningful connections

How are most companies doing in these efforts? Not great. Overall, we find that four out of five employees are not flourishing at work.

“The global data shows us that only 17% of workers are in a high state of well-being, what we would call flourishing,” states Professor Richard Smith at Johns Hopkins University. “Unfortunately, nearly as many, 14%, are in a low state of well-being.”

While experiences of well-being vary slightly between geographical regions, the benchmark remains low worldwide.

The same is true across industries. Even industries where employees return the most positive results – such as in financial services where one in five employees are flourishing – the vast majority still report a workplace climate that does not allow well-being to thrive.

Why are employees not flourishing in the workplace?

The reasons behind these low results go beyond the impacts of the pandemic. Employees worldwide consistently experience serious gaps in purpose and connections, two core aspects of employee well-being.

In our study, a clear deficit of purpose at work emerged. Many workers lack the experiences of meaning, fulfillment and progress needed to flourish. Among respondents, 42% reported not finding meaning in their work, while 37% indicated they felt their work does not make a difference.

Our study also revealed another barrier to higher levels of well-being: a pervasive absence of authentic and caring connections at work. Around the world, 25% of employees feel lonely at work. Another 32% do not feel they belong.

And it’s even tougher for employees from marginalized communities. Employees are 9% more likely to feel lonely at work if they identify as part of a marginalized group based on their ethnic origin, race, color, religious beliefs or place of birth.

Key Aspects of Employee Well-being at Work

While there are many considerations that can lead to creating a climate of well-being in the workplace, our study centered on five broad areas of employee experiences:

  • Mental & Emotional Support – Working in an environment that builds and sustains positive mental energy
  • Sense of Purpose – Experiencing a sense of fulfilment, meaning and progress at work
  • Personal Support – Working in an atmosphere that feels safe and respectful, particularly in the amount of flexibility, control and support provided in accomplishing goals
  • Financial Health – Believing work is fairly compensated and supports financial security and freedom of choice
  • Meaningful Connections – An environment characterized by authentic and caring relationships between employees

Employee well-being benchmark in the Philippines

These patterns all held true in the Philippines. Among local survey respondents:

Only 22%
report experiencing a high-level of well-being at work

Many lack meaningful connections:

Few consistently find purpose in their work:

There is hope

Experiences of well-being are much better at the World’s Best Workplaces. Across the globe, 61% of Best Workplaces employees consistently experience well-being. These companies thrive as a result. When employees work in a climate of well-being, they are:

•  three times more likely to intend to stay with their employer

•  three times more likely to recommend their employer to others

These are two essential advantages for attracting and keeping great talent.

What are these great companies doing? Our research identified several emerging trends in practices these workplaces are using to drive higher levels of well-being at work.

“There is a significant body of scientific research behind the measures of well-being and the psychological constructs,” says Smith. “At the same time, there is a bit of ‘art’ in the way that managers and employers can address the collective and individual needs in the workplace.”

Want to measure your own company’s well-being?

Great Place to Work® is the global authority in workplace culture. With our Trust Index survey , you can measure your workplace against industry leaders like the Philippines Best Workplaces and Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For®. Get in touch with us to survey your employees, benchmark your company culture and improve your employee experience.

CLAIRE HASTWELL AND MARCUS ERB

Author

Great Place To Work identifies Best Workplaces™ in Asia by surveying over 1 million employees in Asia and the Middle East about the key factors that create great workplaces for all and analyzing company workplace programs impacting over 4.7 million employees in the region.

To be considered, companies must first be identified as outstanding in their local region by appearing on one or more of our Best Workplaces lists in Greater China (including China, Hong Kong and Taiwan), India, Indonesia, Japan, Kuwait, Philippines, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, UAE, Vietnam during 2021 or early 2022.

Companies rank in three size categories: Small and Medium (10-499 employees); Large (500+); and Multinational. Multinational organizations are also assessed on their efforts to create great workplaces across multiple countries in the region. They must appear on at least two national lists in Asia and the Middle East and have at least 1,000 employees worldwide with at least 40% (or 5,000) of those employees located outside the headquarters country.

Great Place To Work identifies Best Workplaces in Asia™ by surveying 2.1 million employees in Asia and the Middle East about the key factors that create great workplaces for all and analyzing company workplace programs impacting 5.9 million employees in the region.

To be considered, companies must first be identified as outstanding in their local region by appearing on one or more of our Best Workplaces lists in Bahrain, Greater China (including China, Hong Kong and Taiwan), India, Indonesia, Japan, Kuwait, Oman, Philippines, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, UAE, Vietnam during 2022 or early 2023.

Companies rank in three size categories: Small and Medium (10-499 employees); Large (500+); and Multinational. Multinational organizations are also assessed on their efforts to create great workplaces across multiple countries in the region. They must appear on at least two national lists in Asia and the Middle East and have at least 1,000 employees worldwide with at least 40% (or 5,000+) of those employees located outside the headquarters country.

For All™ Methodology

Great Place To Work, the global authority on workplace culture, determined the Philippines Best Workplaces™ 2023 List by conducting annual workforce studies through our Trust Index Survey™ and Culture Management platform Emprising®, representing the voices of over 450,000 employees across the Philippines.

Employees responded to over 60 survey questions describing the extent to which their organization creates a great place to work For All™, meaning that the company empowers all individuals to reach their full human potential. Eighty-five percent of the evaluation is based on what employees report about their experiences of trust and reaching their full human potential as part of their organization, no matter who they are or what they do. We analyze these experiences relative to each organization’s size, workforce makeup, and what’s typical in their industry and region. The remainder of the evaluation is an assessment of all employees’ daily experiences of the company’s values, people’s ability to contribute new ideas, and the effectiveness of their leaders to ensure they’re consistently experienced.

To ensure surveys truly represent all employees, we require enough people in each organization to respond that results are accurate to a 95% confidence level and 5% margin of error or better. We review any anomalies in survey responses, news, and financial performance to ensure there aren’t any extraordinary reasons to believe we couldn’t trust a company’s survey results.

For All™ Methodology

Great Place to Work, the global authority on workplace culture, determined the Philippines Best Workplaces™ 2022 List by conducting annual workforce studies through our Trust Index Survey™ and Culture Management platform Emprising®, representing the voices of over 130,000 employees across the Philippines.

Employees responded to over 60 survey questions describing the extent to which their organization creates a great place to work For All™, meaning that the company empowers all individuals to reach their full human potential. Eighty-five percent of the evaluation is based on what employees report about their experiences of trust and reaching their full human potential as part of their organization, no matter who they are or what they do. We analyze these experiences relative to each organization’s size, workforce makeup, and what’s typical in their industry and region. The remainder of the evaluation is an assessment of all employees’ daily experiences of the company’s values, people’s ability to contribute new ideas, and the effectiveness of their leaders to ensure they’re consistently experienced.

To ensure surveys truly represent all employees, we require enough people in each organization to respond that results are accurate to a 95% confidence level and 5% margin of error or better. We review any anomalies in survey responses, news, and financial performance to ensure there aren’t any extraordinary reasons to believe we couldn’t trust a company’s survey results.

Categories:
These organizations’ assessment is based 100% on employee responses to the Trust Index survey.

  • Small 10-99 Employees

For larger organizations with more than 100 employees, we also use our Culture Audit™ tool, asking organizations to share with us their practices, policies, and programs to create a great workplace For All™ and evaluate the approach they take.

  • Medium 100-999 Employees
  • Large 1000+ Employees

Why do you say in one place your national list scoring is based on 85%/15% and in another place that it is 75%/25%?

We are explaining two different things:
1.  The criteria we evaluate

  •  85% concerned with Trust and Maximizing Human Potential and
  • 15% concerned with everything else

2.  Where the data comes from

  • 100% Trust Index for organizations with less than 100 employees
  • 75% based on the Trust Index survey analytics and 25% based on responses to the Culture Audit for organizations with more than 100 employees.
For All™ Methodology

Great Place To Work, the global authority on workplace culture, determined the Philippines Best Workplaces™ 2023 List by conducting annual workforce studies through our Trust Index Survey™ and Culture Management platform Emprising®, representing the voices of over 450,000 employees across the Philippines.

Employees responded to over 60 survey questions describing the extent to which their organization creates a great place to work For All™, meaning that the company empowers all individuals to reach their full human potential. Eighty-five percent of the evaluation is based on what employees report about their experiences of trust and reaching their full human potential as part of their organization, no matter who they are or what they do. We analyze these experiences relative to each organization’s size, workforce makeup, and what’s typical in their industry and region. The remainder of the evaluation is an assessment of all employees’ daily experiences of the company’s values, people’s ability to contribute new ideas, and the effectiveness of their leaders to ensure they’re consistently experienced.

To ensure surveys truly represent all employees, we require enough people in each organization to respond that results are accurate to a 95% confidence level and 5% margin of error or better. We review any anomalies in survey responses, news, and financial performance to ensure there aren’t any extraordinary reasons to believe we couldn’t trust a company’s survey results.

Categories:
These organizations’ assessment is based 100% on employee responses to the Trust Index survey.

  • Small 10-99 Employees

For larger organizations with more than 100 employees, we also use our Culture Audit™ tool, asking organizations to share with us their practices, policies, and programs to create a great workplace For All™ and evaluate the approach they take.

  • Medium 100-999 Employees
  • Large 1000+ Employees