Investing in wellbeing:
benefits for one and all

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‘Unproductive’ workers are more likely to score lower in wellbeing measures and generally have lower levels of mental and physical health.

The EY Australian Productivity Pulse™ profiled workers into 4 groups according to their wellbeing scores. The survey revealed that one third of workers in Australia have low or moderate wellbeing and identified a link between the wellbeing of workers and their capacity to be productive in the workplace.

On average, people who scored low on their wellbeing rating experienced a loss of almost a third of their potential productivity (27%), those who score moderately lose 12%, while those in the higher category lose only 4%.

Employee wellbeing paramount to a productive workplace

The relationship between lower wellbeing scores and productivity lends further proof to the premise that employee wellbeing is paramount to an engaged, efficient and productive workplace.

The EY Australian Productivity Pulse™ measures Australian workers’ views about their organisation’s and their own individual productivity and wellbeing. It also profiles Australian workers into four groups from ‘highly productive’ through to ‘unproductive’, with two categories of workers above the national average of 7.28 on a 10-point scale; 1.“Super Achievers” 2. “Solid Contributors”and two below: 3 “Patchy Participants” and 4. “Lost Souls”.

The two groups of workers who fall under the national productivity average –Patchy Participants and Lost Souls - were more likely to suffer from lower wellbeing scores and take more sick days per year.

The EY Australian Productivity Pulse™ is a six-monthly survey of more than 2,100 employees spanning seven industries and from all levels within organisations across both the private and public sectors.

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Clear incentive to engage in work-based approaches to wellbeing

Organisations need to understand the wellbeing profile of their people, as well as equip them to actively manage their wellbeing at work. There is also a clear incentive for individuals to engage in work-based approaches to wellbeing as the 70% of workers who rank lower in wellbeing scores are at risk of being forced to leave work over the next decade due to wellbeing factors.

For a long time health factors were the main focus of employers considering the wellbeing of their people. Today we know that a broad range of factors such as capability, values, work factors and family and community interact with health factors resulting in the state of wellbeing for workers.

Employers who intervened to improve wellbeing rankings and help move people from a low rating to moderate or moderate to good could deliver significant productivity improvement across workplaces.

Our research shows us that organisations can achieve this in a two-year period with the right evidence base and a targeted plan. We are seeing more and more organisations introducing a broad range of initiatives with a focus on flexibility in response to a more competitive labour market and the changing needs and expectations of their people.

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Well being benefits far and wide

As growth of the labour force slows due to a declining working age population, keeping employees productive in the workplace for longer will be a priority.

Effectively supporting people’s wellbeing at work not only increases productivity, reduces costs and improves brand dividends, it also benefits:

  • The individual by reducing their risk of being onein three Australians who leave work early due to a wellbeing issue. It also gives them the opportunity to work for longer if they choose and the likelihood of living a longer, healthier and more independent life in retirement.
  • The nation by increasing the contribution to the national labour supply at a time when labour growth is slowing. Healthier and more independent older age also reduces the increasing pressure of an ageing Australia on health and social services.

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For further information please see The EY Australian Productivity Pulse™.