The 5 Dimensions of Employee Well-being

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By creating a climate of mental support, purpose, financial health, and meaningful connections, business leaders can provide a foundation for positive well-being that allows employees to flourish.

Office gyms and meditation breaks are nice, but employee well-being is much more complex than physical fitness and mindfulness.

Great Place to Work® partnered with researchers at Johns Hopkins University in a special study to determine the true sources of employee well-being.

We surveyed over 14,000 people from 37 countries to better understand trends in the average worker’s day-to-day experiences of well-being and their workplace. Employee experience is influenced by many factors, but five are key for creating the climate necessary for positive employee well-being:

1. Mental & emotional support

This relates to the feelings and experiences that build and sustain positive mental energy. When employees have good mental and emotional support, they are more likely to have what psychologists call “positive attribution” or “optimistic attribution” style.

Positive attribution can build optimism, energy, hope, and confidence in people, which builds what is known as psychological capital.

Positive mental energy can greatly influence an individual’s outlook and perception of their surroundings or workplace. An individual who experiences strong mental and emotional support can better manage workplace stress and anxiety.

2. Sense of purpose

A sense of purpose comes from experiencing three things at work:

  • Fulfillment
  • Meaning
  • Progress

Having a strong sense of purpose has been linked to higher resilience and more favorable views of employers.

Aligning an individual’s role with the organization’s mission, or identifying tasks as critical, can foster a higher sense of purpose or fulfillment.

3. Personal support

Working with others – especially managers – who create a safe, trusting, and respectful atmosphere can be an important predictor of employee well-being.

Employees with high levels of workplace flexibility and job control, as well as the resources to accomplish their goals, have evidence of personal support.

Managers can also demonstrate support through employee development and career growth opportunities.

4. Financial health

When employees lack adequate financial resources, anxiety and fear can affect their outlook.

While some might argue that people are never satisfied with their compensation, it is important that employees earn enough to feel financially stable and capable of living freely.

Financial dissatisfaction can also arise when there is inequity in a workplace’s compensation practices. This highlights the importance of equal pay and promotion practices.

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Marcus Erb

Marcus Erb is vice president of data science and innovation at Great Place to Work®. He is a resourceful and collaborative analytics leader with a passion for turning data into actionable insights for executives building high-performing workplaces. Marcus uses Great Place to Work’s global employee survey data to develop leading insights for executives. He has co-authored several research pieces, including Great Place to Work’s Innovation Insights Series and its 2018 book, “A Great Place to Work For All.”

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To be eligible for the World’s Best Workplaces list, a company must apply and be named to a minimum of 5 national Best Workplaces lists within our current 58 countries, have 5,000 employees or more worldwide, and at least 40% of the company’s workforce (or 5,000 employees) must be based outside of the home country. Extra points are given based on the number of countries where a company surveys employees with the Great Place to Work Trust Index©, and the percentage of a company’s workforce represented by all Great Place to Work surveys globally. Candidates for the 2017 Worlds Best Workplaces list will have appeared on national workplaces lists published in September 2016 through August 2017.