The Five Metrics that Help Track Employee Wellbeing
Updated: May 29
Burnout in the workplace is just about everywhere. Have you noticed any coworkers who seem aimless or talk about how they no longer enjoy their job lately? Odds are you have, and you’re not alone!
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A recent Gallup report based on pre-pandemic surveys found that nearly 76% of all employees experience burnout at work. To bring that home, if you’re sitting in a meeting with nine other colleagues, seven or eight of them are experiencing some form of employee burnout.
Contrary to popular belief, burnout doesn’t stem from working hard or putting in too many hours. The survey found that employees who were working toward something that they believed in could increase their hours without losing their sense of well-being.
Rather, it was employees who felt they were treated unfairly, were given unmanageable workloads with unreasonable time constraints, or felt their managers either didn’t communicate effectively or provide support that were most likely to report feeling burnt out.
Burnout isn’t a medical condition, but it does have a serious impact on mental health. Employees who are burnt out miss more days of work, are less productive when sitting at their desk, and are more likely to look for a new position.
There are a lot of contributing factors to what’s being called the Great Resignation, which has seen over 34 million Americans resign from their jobs. Certainly, living under the pall of a pandemic has changed the priorities of many workers. Limeade, an organization focused on employee well-being, recently released a study of 1,000 employees who started a new job in 2021, and asked them why they left their previous position. The number one response, cited by 40% of those surveyed, was burnout.
In response, many employers are taking a fresh look at employee wellbeing. They are starting to recognize that the health of their organization begins with their employees and understand that investing in wellbeing initiatives presents them with a competitive advantage.
Launching a Successful Employee Wellbeing Program
Like any corporate initiative, success starts with executive buy-in. It requires a corporate culture that is open toward listening to employees and meeting their needs.
Before diving in and creating programming, conduct surveys to understand your employees’ needs and what they expect from you. Start with straightforward questions that can be answered in a few words or on a scale.
Based on the feedback you receive from the survey, you should have a good idea of how to begin.
For example, if results show a lack of social connection, efforts should be made to create team-building activities.
If employees indicate they are feeling stress, perhaps it is time to introduce some mental-health activities to enable better coping skills.
Once the program is built, you need to define goals and develop ways to measure success. So without further ado, here are five important metrics to help you track employee wellbeing and measure the results of your efforts.
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Metrics to Measure Employee Wellbeing
#1 Employee Ratings
Your employees should be your first stop when trying to determine and measure wellness. After all, they are the most qualified to explain how they feel. Start with anonymous employee surveys to develop a wellness baseline.
Your questions should be easy to answer, either through a scale, yes/no questions, multiple-choice questions, or very short answers. For one thing, these questions won't take up very much of your employee's valuable time, but more importantly, they are easy to look back on to see how the employees’ wellbeing experience has changed.
Your survey should include several types of questions, including:
Emotional wellbeing questions
Physical wellbeing questions
Social wellbeing questions
In addition, be sure to include some demographic questions, which you can use to better understand survey results and use as a guide in developing targeted wellbeing programs.
After establishing baseline answers with your first survey, you can measure changes through annual or semi-annual follow-up surveys.
Your results will show whether your employees’ wellbeing has improved or deteriorated over time, and help you gauge the success of any wellbeing initiatives that have been launched.
#2 Productivity Levels
A 2019 UK research report found that “wellbeing is linked to higher levels of productivity.” It makes sense. Employees who have a strong sense of purpose tend to put forth greater effort than those who simply show up to work and go through the motions.
A Forbes article echoed that point when it reported that disengaged employees cost US companies over $550 billion a year, while employee satisfaction leads to increased productivity and reduced staff turnover.
It stands to reason that measuring employee productivity levels is a strong indicator of wellbeing. However, measuring productivity is different for every employee.
The simplest way to measure productivity is to have managers define expected work outputs for every role. There are multiple outputs for each position, so a salesperson might be measured based on number of sales calls, number of sales, and value of sales, while a warehouse worker's productivity can be based on the number of orders processed and order accuracy.
Once those outputs are defined by managers, they can be tracked and be compared to industry benchmarks or, over time, the company’s historical data. Tracking employee changes in productivity helps management understand the overall wellbeing of its workforce.
#3 Sick Days
Employees use sick days when they’re feeling under the weather or need a mental health day. Either way, tracking changes in the number of sick days employees take provides a key metric in understanding worker wellbeing.
Rising sick days across an organization can point to companies not providing their employees with adequate preventive health care, less than ideal working conditions, or employees feeling disengaged from their work.
When team members spend too much time working, it upsets the work-life balance companies work to achieve. In addition to pointing out that employees may be spending too much time at the office, it may be highlighting additional wellbeing issues.
Overtime is often indicative of an overloaded workforce that is unable to complete the tasks at hand within the typical work week. It highlights deadlines that are too tight, priorities which are misaligned, or poor time-management skills.
Each of these issues can lead to deteriorating wellbeing among employees, who may feel that the extra hours are taking them away from doing the things they enjoy.
#5 Employee Turnover Rate
There are many reasons why employees leave companies, but burnout and lack of job satisfaction are high on the list. Employees who don't feel well taken care of or cared for by their employers look outside to other positions to find a place they feel they belong.
Monitoring your company’s turnover rate can be a good indicator of employee wellbeing. While some turnover is important and helps introduce fresh ideas into companies, high turnover rates lead to expensive hires and dips in productivity as new employees are hired and brought up to speed. It also forces organizations to pay out unused vacation days that accrue over time, and adds an additional hit to a company’s bottom line.
The Power of Well Being
Engaged employees show up every day to work with passion and purpose. They interact with their managers and coworkers, are less likely to look for a new job, and are highly productive.
Using the metrics in this post, employers get a data-based understanding of wellbeing within their company and can take steps toward improving their employee’s experience.
With Sorbet, companies have the opportunity to empower their employees to take the necessary time off to rest and recharge, and doing so is highly beneficial for both the company and its employees. Not only do breaks reduce the risk of burnout, but they also promote a better work-life balance, increase productivity and help with retention.
Even though it’s not going to happen overnight, and reinvesting in employee wellness takes time, trust us, everyone (including your company) will thank you for it.
Want to predict and reduce your employees’ accrued time-off payouts while offering innovative cash-out benefits?
Sorbet’s complimentary Health Check uncovers the economics behind your Paid Time Off Policy ensuring you get a clear picture of actionable data with a simple, guided process. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to get in touch and coordinate your free Health Check.