Putting Wellbeing into Numbers: 6 Wellness Metrics HR Should Be Measuring


HR Insights for ProfessionalsThe latest thought leadership for HR pros

Monday, November 7, 2022

Ready to take a data-driven approach to workforce wellbeing? Track these metrics to build a picture of wellness in your organization.

Article 4 Minutes
Putting Wellbeing into Numbers: 6 Wellness Metrics HR Should Be Measuring

The mental and physical wellbeing of your employees are crucial factors in the performance of your business. After all, you can't expect people to do their best work and deliver results for the company if they're not feeling well.

On this basis, the health of your workforce is just as important to measure and understand as any other key element of how your company functions, from the amount you spend on overheads to the revenue coming in from your customers.

For your approach to wellbeing management to be truly effective, you need to be prepared with the right metrics.

1. Wellness program participation

Workplace wellness programs come in many shapes and sizes, all with different potential benefits for your employees and financial considerations for the business.

Some of the world's most successful and influential corporations - Google, Microsoft and Accenture, to name just three - have seen positive results from provisions including:

  • Private on-site healthcare services
  • Dedicated assistance programs offering support with issues like stress, anxiety, depression and substance abuse
  • Discounted gym membership
  • Online fitness programs
  • Education and resources for smoking cessation and weight management
  • Personal and family counseling

Whatever form your wellness initiatives take, it's crucial to ensure you're collecting data on employee uptake and participation. This will help you to draw conclusions about which benefits are proving most attractive to your staff and potential barriers to adoption.

2. Absenteeism and sick leave

The amount of time your employees are taking off work due to ill health is one of the clearest and most important metrics you can track to gain data on workforce wellness and how it's impacting the company.

There are various ways to approach measuring absence. Your 'lost time' rate, for example, will show you the percentage of overall working time you've lost due to absence. This is calculated by taking the total absences (in hours or days) over a given time period, dividing that by the overall working time available in the same period and multiplying by 100.

Your frequency rate shows the average number of absences per employee as a percentage, but doesn't give an indication of length of absence or people who are off for more than one spell. It's worked out by dividing the number of spells of absence in a period by the number of employees and multiplying by 100.

Applying calculations like these to different departments will give you a data-driven idea of your biggest areas of concern. This will help you decide how to tailor your wellbeing programs for the best results.

3. Productivity

Many factors come together to influence and dictate workforce productivity, but wellbeing is undoubtedly one of the most important.

Taking mental health as an example, research conducted at the University of Warwick in the UK showed that feelings of happiness made people approximately 12% more productive. The findings suggested that workers in a more positive state of mind tend to use their time more efficiently, meaning they can work at a higher pace without sacrificing quality.

"This research will provide some guidance for management in all kinds of organizations; they should strive to make their workplaces emotionally healthy for their workforce." - Dr Eugenio Proto, Department of Economics at the University of Warwick


At times of diminishing productivity in your business, be sure to ask whether workforce wellbeing and morale are contributing factors.

4. Working times

Heavy and unsustainable workloads are a common cause of ill health among employees, greatly increasing the risk of work-related stress and burnout.

Make sure you're collecting data on how much time people are spending at work and whether they're regularly exceeding their contracted hours. If this is becoming increasingly common, try to identify the root causes of the problem, which could be anything from insufficient training to employees not having the right tools and technologies to work efficiently.

5. Staff satisfaction

Employee satisfaction naturally feeds into overall wellbeing, because if people feel happy and fulfilled in their jobs, they'll be in a better position to maintain high standards of health in other areas of life as well.

You can acquire data on how positive your employees feel through methods such as:

  • Collecting and analyzing employee net promoter scores
  • Conducting regular staff surveys
  • Creating a safe and welcoming environment for people to provide feedback
  • Holding exit interviews with outgoing members of staff

These methods could shed light on common causes of dissatisfaction in your organization that you can address through health and wellbeing initiatives.

6. Employee turnover

HR departments should always be on the lookout for significant increases in employee turnover, not only because of potential disruption to the business, but also because it could be a sign of dissatisfaction and problems in the workforce.

High turnover and low wellbeing standards can become a vicious circle that severely hinders the company. As unhappy employees leave in growing numbers, remaining workers could start to question their own position and whether they feel properly looked after and valued by the business.

It's vital to conduct regular analyses of your turnover figures to track trends and spot anomalies that could pose a threat to productivity and performance. This data will also help you gauge the effectiveness of your wellbeing programs in building long-term engagement and loyalty in the workforce.

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