Forget Wellness…How is Your Personal Life?

May 4, 2012 at 11:40 am
Filed under: employee well-being, ROI

Many organizations are embracing the paradigm of well-being as a useful way to bring previously disparate efforts together in one place, and to understand where there may be weak places in the organizations’ people support strategy.

While a model of well-being will vary from one workforce to the next, it is safe to say that satisfaction with personal life is a large part of well-being for all of us. In fact, satisfaction with personal life makes up 54% of well-being for a nationally representative group of full-time workers. Compare that with just 8% for health and wellness.

What is an employer to do about this?

For years we have gone after job satisfaction and engagement, tried to improve health and wellness, created savings vehicles for employees’ retirement, but their personal lives?? Haven’t we steered clear of this on purpose?

Not really. Top employers have stepped into the realm of family by providing dependent care supports, offering flexible work, and encouraging use of EAP’s for life issues. We’re already there, and the data suggests that we should continue to be there if we want to support the well-being of our employees holistically.

What’s in it for us?

Compared with people with low personal satisfaction scores (rate their satisfaction 1-3 on a ten point scale), those with high scores (rate themselves 8-10):

  • Have higher job satisfactions
  • Are more resilient
  • Are more likely to feel on top of their work load
  • Are more likely to feel inspired, creative and innovative
  • Have less depression
  • Are less likely to report feeling that their current lifestyle is unhealthy
  • And are more likely to stay with their employer.

These are the employees we all want, right? So does the issue of personal satisfaction for our employees warrant our attention? It does. Can we support employees in an appropriate (not big brother) way? We can. Programs that support employees’ family care needs and encourage community involvement are two powerful ways. Training managers to understand and respect that most employees’ highest priorities are outside of work is another.

There are a lot of aspects of life that make up overall well-being. Progressive employers are not shying away from hard questions about how to support people to be at their best both at work and at home.


On May 15, you can hear Lucy, along with Andrea Wicks Bowles, discuss the critical role that assessing employee well-being plays in ROI of HR strategies, on this upcoming webinar sponsored by


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