Leadership Support Linked To Workplace Well-Being

Although around two-thirds of employees (68%) say they are satisfied with their employer’s health and safety practices, just four in 10 (41%) say they believe their employer helps workers develop and maintain a healthy lifestyle. These are among the findings of the 2016 Work and Well-Being Survey by the American Psychological Association (APA).

workplace wellness
(Source: 2016 Work and Well-Being Survey, American Psychological Association)

And, despite the prevalence of workplace wellness efforts, only one-third of American workers say they regularly participate in the health promotion programs provided by their employer, according to the survey.

Less than half of working Americans (44%) say the climate in their organization supports employee well-being, and 1 in 3 reports being chronically stressed on the job.

The survey suggests a key part of the solution is senior leadership support. Nearly three-fourths (73%) of employees with senior managers who show support through involvement and commitment to well-being initiatives said their organization helps employees develop a healthy lifestyle, compared with just 11 percent who work in an organization without that leadership support.

The survey, conducted online by Harris Poll among more than 1,500 U.S. adults in March, found widespread links between support from senior leaders and a variety of employee and organizational outcomes, with more than nine in 10 workers saying they feel motivated to do their best (91% vs. 38% of those without leadership support), are satisfied with their job (91% vs. 30%) and have a positive relationship with supervisors (91% vs. 54%) and coworkers (93% vs. 72%). These employees are also more likely to recommend their company as a good place to work (89% vs. 17%), and fewer said they intend to leave their job in the next year (25% vs. 51%).

Among all employees surveyed, 33 percent said they typically feel tense or stressed out during the workday, an increase in the percentage of those reporting chronic job stress for the first time in three years.

“Many employers say they focus on workplace wellness, but what is put into place is too often individual programs or policies that aren’t supported by the organization’s culture,” said Ballard. “Employers who truly embrace well-being as part of how they do business create a workplace where both employees and the organization thrive.”