Strategic Management of well-being at work
15th of September 2015
Did you know that just in Finland, 25 billion euro is lost every year due to lost work ability. That´s a big sum. Even though companies invest 1,8 billion euros every year in employee well-being, it doesn’t seem to be enough.By managing it properly, personnel well-being is both possible and highly economically feasible. By promoting strategic well-being and managing it strategically, it reduces personnel related costs and increases labor productivity.
So how can you build a strong management of strategic well-being at your workplace?
The following is Professor Guy Ahonen´s view on the subject. Based to his, Dr. Ossi Aura´s, Professor Juhani Ilmarinen´s and Dr. Tomi Hussi´s recent research.
What is strategic well-being?
The term was coined in 2009 when the first “The state of strategic well-being in Finland“ – survey was conducted. We wanted to find out how work-wellbeing was managed at Finnish workplaces.
In order to do that we used almost a hundred years of experience in the field to construct the best possible research framework. Instead of talking about work well-being we used the term management of strategic well-being (MSW).
“By strategic well-being we mean all those aspects of employee well-being which affect company performance.”
The framework includes four basic elements:
- The strategic base of employee well-being (responsibilities, measurements, reports, investments)
- Management practices (content, goals, strategic practices)
- Foreman and HR-practices (foreman responsibilities, HR-practices)
- Well-being support functions (occupational health services, labour protection, life-style, etc.)
All elements are measured by a survey which gives maximally 100 index points (MSWI). Using a stratified randomized survey directed to all relevant branches of industry of all company sizes in Finland. We contacted over 800 companies and got a nearly 50 % response rate.
The findings about strategic well-being
After having completed the survey, now five times 2009-2014, we know that the average MSWI score has improved from 45 to 51, which is far from perfect. We also know that companies invest about 800 € per person per year in strategic well-being. The total annual investment in employee well-being is about 1,8 billion euro each year. The sum is big, but perhaps not big enough compared to the 25 billion euro which is lost every year in Finland due to lost work ability.
The sum has slightly decreased over the years. Also the structure of SW-investments have changed. More money is now spent on occupational health services and less on training and education than previously.
The Management of Strategic Well-being
To make sense of the massive data that we have collected, Ossi Aura and myself decided to compile it all into a book. The Management of Strategic Well-being will appear in Finnish in January 2016, published by Talentum Publishing Company.
In the book we elaborate on the theoretical foundations of MSW, present empirical trends, demonstrate various relationships and present practical hints on how to build a strong management of strategic well-being at the workplace.
During the writing process we have become more aware than in the beginning of our journey, about the dual nature of productivity enhancing aspects of MSW.
- Firstly, promotion of strategic well-being reduces personnel related costs.
- Secondly, and more importantly, promotion of SW increases labour productivity.
Our data shows that the emphasis has been on the first aspect, whereas it should be on the second in order to be efficient. By presenting a coherent framework of the management of strategic well-being, we try to demonstrate that managed properly; personnel well-being is both possible and economically highly feasible.
Want to learn more?
- Strategic well-being means all the aspects of employee well-being which affect company performance
- In Finland the total annual investment in employee well-being is about 1, 8 billion euro each year, 25 billion euro is lost every year in Finland due to lost work ability
- Research shows that personnel well-being is both possible and economically highly feasible when managed properly
- Promotion of strategic well-being reduces personnel related costs
- Promotion of strategic well-being increases labor productivity