Many employers are investing time, money and effort in workplace wellness programs, however only one-third of workers say they regularly participate in the programs provided by their employer, according to a new survey by the American Psychological Association.
Additionally, less than half of working Americans (44 percent) say the climate in their organization supports employee well-being, and 1 in 3 reports being chronically stressed on the job. The APA survey suggests a key part of the solution is senior leadership support.
Nearly three-fourths (73 percent) 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, according to APA’s 2016 Work and Well-Being Survey. It was conducted online by Harris Poll among more than 1,500 U.S. adults in March.
The survey found widespread links between support from senior leaders and a variety of employee and organizational outcomes, with more than 9 in 10 workers saying they feel motivated to do their best (91 percent vs. 38 percent of those without leadership support), are satisfied with their job (91 percent vs. 30 percent) and have a positive relationship with supervisors (91 percent vs. 54 percent) and coworkers (93 percent vs. 72 percent). These employees are also more likely to recommend their company as a good place to work (89 percent vs. 17 percent) and fewer said they intend to leave their job in the next year (25 percent vs. 51 percent).
“Promoting employee well-being isn’t a singular activity, but is instead set up in a climate that is cultivated, embraced and supported by high-level leaders and managers,” said David W. Ballard, PsyD, MBA, director of APA’s Center for Organizational Excellence. “When supervisors’ actions match their words, employees notice.”
Overall, only about half of employed adults said they feel valued by their employer (53 percent) and that the rewards and recognition they receive reflect the effort they put into their work (50 percent). Even fewer said the recognition they receive reflects their contributions to the organization (47 percent) and is based on a fair performance evaluation system (47 percent).
“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,” Ballard said. “Employers who truly embrace well-being as part of how they do business create a workplace where both employees and the organization thrive.”