The measures of success – how to prove to your C-suite that wellbeing is pivotal to performance: Key insights from the webinar

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The post-pandemic world of work has seen a surge in rising pressures around costs, productivity, ESG expectations, competition for talent and much more. This, unfortunately, has meant that for some organisations, the health and wellbeing of employees has slipped further down the C-suite agenda.

However, recognising that better wellbeing means better performance, last week’s webinar saw a panel of experts come together to discuss practical ways to accurately measure wellbeing and leverage the results to gain both buy-in from the C-suite and a powerful competitive advantage. 

The webinar ‘The measures of success – how to prove to your C-suite that wellbeing is pivotal to performance’ was chaired by Jonathan Best, Chief Customer Officer at Goodhape, who was joined by Rebecca Eaton, Group Occupational Health and Wellbeing Lead at Mitie, Paul Hendry, Global Vice President for HSE at Jacobs and Luke Woodward, Health and Wellbeing Senior Programme Manager at Heathrow.

Jonathan opened up by sharing some context on the ‘crisis in employee wellbeing’. 

He showed how increases in absence, loss of productivity, a rise in staff turnover and a decline in compliance and liability when it comes to return to work processes are all contributing factors.

Despite a lot of recent investment by employers into wellbeing, research from Mind suggests this has actually ‘peaked and is now in decline’. This could be due to it being hard to evidence returns on investment as it’s difficult to define and measure.

The webinar discussion kicked off with the following questions

  • What are the measures of success within your organisation?
  • How do you measure wellbeing – what metrics do you use and how do you keep that accurate and consistent?
  • Finally, how do you wrap that up in the messaging that you give to senior stakeholders in the business?

Here are some of the key thoughts that emerged from the panel’s discussion.

Measures and metrics

1. Surveys

It was agreed across the panel that surveys comprise a big part of wellbeing measures. Engagement surveys, polls and quick sense checks can all provide data into how employees are thinking and feeling.

However, the panel also discussed some of the limitations of surveys:

  • Survey fatigue – Rebecca suggested people see them as just ‘another task’ or be unwilling to share details.
  • Pressure – there is often pressure to get decent reponse rates
  • Accessibility – Luke shared that at Heathrow, not everyone has access to tech devices to take surveys on, which could skew the results. Sometimes a paper and pen approach is needed, or a ‘listening group’ in order to hear from people who might not access a survey that’s solely online.
  • Data gaps – Rebecca shared that it’s important to look at gaps in the data too and try to understand why people haven’t completed surveys, is there a barrier or are those the people who are really disengaged?
  • Data needs to tell us something – Paul suggested that it’s no good gathering data for data’s sake – we need to know what we are hoping to learn, the data needs to tell us something – targeting surveys around specific issues may help with this.

2. Uptake of provisions

Luke shared that looking at the data showing the uptake of which services are being used by employees is a good way to measure wellbeing. For example, looking at the numbers of colleagues accessing provided GP or mental health services can give an idea of current wellbeing challenges.

3. Attrition

Looking at attrition rates and data is another metric that can be useful. Rebecca suggested using exit interviews to measure and find out why people leave, is it because they’ve progressed and are moving up (a good leaver) or is it because they don’t feel cared for (a bad leaver). If employees find this a great place to work and would recommend others work there, that’s great for the employee brand, which is both good for staff wellbeing and the business.

4. Absence 

Jonathan said that absence is often an ‘underutilised way to measure the health and wellbeing of people at work. The panel were strongly in agreement that absence is a good health and wellbeing indicator, but also agreed that it’s nuanced and hard to articulate the ‘true cost’ and ‘true impact’ as it often ecompasses time and resources as well as money.

However it can give you targets to work towards.

The C suite need more and more convincing

Jonathan suggested that generally it seems the C Suite are needing more and more convincing to invest in wellbeing initiatives, so how do you gain and sustain buy-in?

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1. Show the impact

Rebecca found that finding out and appealing to the impact that leaders want to see is important. She said it’s about ‘understanding the different elements of the business and trying to drill down into what wellbeing is going to give and improve.’ Wellbeing has such a reach over the whole business success.

2 . Bring the facts and figures

For the C-suite, those facts and figures are often needed to get the full buy in. It’s important to show the reasons for what you’re asking for, they want to see the potential return on investment. 

3. Make it person-centric

Bring the people element into it. The panel were in agreement that what ‘wins the hearts and minds of the C-suite’ are those personal, empathetic, relational stories from individuals.

4. Take a holistic approach

The panel concluded by agreeing that wellbeing is everyone’s responsibility.

Wellbeing is far reaching – health and wellbeing outside of work affects health and wellbeing inside work and vice versa so a holistic perspective is needed. 

Ultimately, as Luke put it, ‘happy and healthy people give better service’. 


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