Employee Well-being: If You Can't Measure It, You Can't Manage It

February 19 2015 / by Mari Ryan

Early in my career, a client taught me “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it”.
That lesson stuck measurewith me as I went on to manage a variety of other business operations. When I came to the field of workplace health promotion, I learned about the best practice of program evaluation. Traditionally, this is based on measuring key statistics such as employee participation, changes in health risk status, and change in health care costs.

As we move to broaden our view to total well-being, not just the traditional wellness program focus on physical health, the question becomes how do we measure the various dimensions of well-being.

Examining each aspect of the dimensions of wellbeing, the following identifies some key measures that can demonstrate the well-being of both employees and the organization.

Career/Purpose Well-being

  • Employee turnover
  • Employee referrals
  • Engagement survey scores
  • Culture survey scores
  • Number of internal promotions
  • Time to promotion
  • Use of continuing education benefits and completion of requirements

Social Connection Well-being

  • Unused paid time off balances
  • Forfeited paid time off balances
  • Attendance at company social events
  • Internal social media usage
  • Mentorship relationship participation

Money Well-being

  • Percent of employees contributing to retirement accounts
  • Percent of employees contributing to health savings accounts (if available)
  • Average percent of contribution to retirement accounts
  • Number of loans against retirement accounts

Energy Well-being

  • Participation in lifestyle classes
  • Worker’s compensation claims
  • Self-report well-being assessment

Emotional Well-being

  • Employee Assistance Program usage rates
  • Self-report well-being energy score
  • Health care claims analysis on behavioral health utilization and pharmacy usage

Community Well-being

  • Percent of employees using volunteer benefit hours
  • Percent of employees participating in charitable giving campaigns, such as United Way.
  • Percent of employees participating in charitable events.

By having a way to monitor these indicators, change over time can be measured as programs are implemented. These indicators can also be used to guide prioritization of program resources for those areas in need of improvement. Combined, these indicators create the dashboard that provides insight to employee well-being, employee engagement and a thriving workplace culture.


View other articles in the Well-being at Work series: worksite culture of wellbeing made easy, worksite culture of well-being, the essence of energy, what is well-being, social well-being, community well-being, purpose well-being, money well-being.

Mari Ryan

Written by Mari Ryan

Mari Ryan is the CEO/founder of AdvancingWellness and is a recognized expert in the field of workplace well-being strategy.