I’d like you to think back to your first job. Your first corporate job. What was that job like? I was a clerk, coding premium payments at a life insurance company in Hartford, Connecticut. It wasn’t a very intellectually challenging or stimulating job, but I quickly learned there was something that was really special about this place that I was working.
What I found was, when I wanted to get my teeth cleaned, I just made an appointment and I never left the building! And on my lunch hour, I would go to the bowling alley and there I would bowl with my colleagues. But it was more than just convenient health benefits and fun.
This was very early in my career, and when it came to the big picture of my life, I didn’t know what I wanted my career path to look like. I didn’t even know what my skills were! Yet, through this amazing employer, I had the opportunity to join a Toastmasters group where I first learned to speak. They also arranged for me to do some career testing which provided guidance on what my strengths and skills were. That was really meaningful for me. This organization wasn't just giving me a paycheck and benefits, they were looking after my well-being.
Since it was my first job, I thought that all companies were like this! It wasn’t until later in my career, when I had worked at many types of organizations, that I really came to appreciate how special my first employer was. The leaders really understood the essence of wellbeing, what wellbeing means from a business perspective, and how it translates to business success. They understood the wellbeing imperative.
Today, more organizations are coming to this realization. They’re seeing the connection between the wellbeing of their employees and the profitability of their business. For example, businesses profit from engaged employees. We know this, yet according to Gallup research, a whopping 70% of the workforce is disengaged. Think about what that means in lost productivity and our ability to be able to compete globally! What is your company doing to engage its employees?
Businesses profit from happy employees. When employees are happy they are more likely to stay with the organization. Turnover is very costly, it can cost as much as 150% of a given salary, and even higher at higher levels of the organization. Does your organization have a high turnover rate?
Businesses profit from healthy employees. Health care represents 18% of our gross domestic product. It is a big deal in this country. The model that we use in the United States for health care is an employer funded model. Employers need to be concerned about the health and well-being of their workforce. They’ve got to control those costs. How easy does your workplace make it for employees and their families to stay healthy?
Engagement, employee satisfaction, and employee health are business imperatives. So, what can you do to bring well-being to the forefront and make that connection between wellbeing and profitability? Start with culture. Adopt the belief, behaviors, and policies that show you care about your workforce and know they are important to your ability to be productive and meet your business goals.
My first job was so special for me. My employer made the connection between the engagement of the workforce, the profitability of the workforce, and the success of the business. They believed in and benefitted from the business imperative of well-being, and your organization can, too.