Two major factors influence employee performance, Gallup has found: engagement and well-being.
Gallup measures engagement for employees through the Q12 survey, which consists of 12 actionable items with proven links to performance outcomes. And with Healthways, Gallup measures well-being through five elements that are crucial to a life well-lived.
Now, many organizations measure and evaluate their employees' engagement, while others focus on improving their workers' well-being. But what happens when companies try to improve both? Does strong well-being take a highly engaged workforce and make it even better? And how can each one be applied to enhance the other?
Based on employees' responses to the Q12 items, Gallup groups workers into one of three categories: engaged, not engaged or actively disengaged. Just 32% of U.S. workers are engaged in their jobs, setting them apart from other workers in terms of their attendance, performance, service quality, safety and likelihood to stay with their current company, among other factors.
Similarly, Gallup and Healthways have developed a comprehensive, research-based definition of well-being that encompasses five interrelated and essential elements: purpose, social, financial, community and physical. Together, these elements provide key insights into individuals' sense of purpose, social relationships, financial security, relationship to their community and physical health.
The five essential elements of the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index:
Purpose: Liking what you do each day and being motivated to achieve your goals
Social: Having supportive relationships and love in your life
Financial: Managing your economic life to reduce stress and increase security
Community: Liking where you live, feeling safe and have pride in your community
Physical: Having good health and enough energy to get things done daily
Respondents can be classified as thriving, struggling and suffering in each element according to how they rate that particular facet of well-being in their lives:
- Thriving: well-being that is strong, consistent and progressing in a particular element
- Struggling: well-being that is moderate or inconsistent in a particular element
- Suffering: well-being that is low and at high risk in a particular element
In the U.S., 28% of adults aged 18 and older are not thriving in any element, while just 19% are thriving in at least four of the five.
For every two U.S. adults who are exhibiting high levels of well-being across most or all elements, there are three who have significant room for improvement across them all.
The question researchers have explored is: How do employees who are engaged and who exhibit high well-being in at least four of the five elements fare compared with engaged workers who have high well-being in only three or fewer elements? Does adding high well-being to high engagement have a beneficial effect on key outcomes?
Compared with employees who have high engagement but otherwise exhibit low levels of well-being, those who are engaged and who have high well-being in at least four of the five elements are 30% more likely not to miss any workdays because of poor health in any given month.
They also miss 70% fewer workdays because of poor health over the course of a year.
In addition, employees who are engaged and have high well-being are:
- 42% more likely to evaluate their overall lives highly
- 27% more likely to report "excellent" performance in their own job at work
- 27% more likely to report "excellent" performance by their organization
- 45% more likely to report high levels of adaptability in the presence of change
- 37% more likely to report always recovering "fully" after illness, injury or hardship
- 59% less likely to look for a job with a different organization in the next 12 months
- 18% less likely to change employers in a 12-month period
- 19% more likely to volunteer their time in the past month