Wellbeing will be the Key Driver of Workplace Culture and Employee Engagement in 2017

January 25, 20178:08 am4707 views

Organizations around the world are increasingly recognizing the critical role employee wellbeing plays in engaging employees and cultivating strong workplace cultures that drive business performance.

Engagement has been elusive for most companies, with Gallup reporting global employee engagement at 13 percent. Forward-thinking organisations are well aware that employee engagement is heavily influenced by employee wellbeing and workplace cultures.

How do organizations know when their employees are engaged? In general, employees feel engaged when they are invested in their company’s future and culture, feel like their jobs give them a sense of purpose and have great relationships with their co-workers.

Health and wellbeing – physical, mental, financial and emotional also affect employee engagement, and the majority of organisations realize that connection. High stress levels, both at home and in the office, financial concerns, poor physical health and demands for greater levels of productivity, can all adversely affect employee engagement.

Virgin Pulse, the leading global provider of employee wellbeing software that drives engagement, culture and productivity, announced the results of its annual State of the Industry Survey, unveiling key relationships between wellbeing, culture and engagement, the three main drivers of positive employee experiences.

This year’s survey asked over 600 HR and benefits leaders at global organizations to weigh in on how employee wellbeing, workplace culture and employee engagement are connected and the role they play in driving employee satisfaction, retention and performance within their organizations.


  • 78 percent of organizations view employee wellbeing as a critical component of their business strategy.
  • 74 percent of employers with strategic, holistic wellbeing programs saw improvements in employee satisfaction and 65 percent saw improvements in organisational culture.


  • 95 percent of organizations view culture as important for driving business outcomes.
  • 80 percent organizations plan to improve corporate culture in the coming year.

See: Top Priority in HR Benefits: Financial Wellbeing of Employees


  • Engagement investments have a strong impact on business results. 56 percent of companies saw improvements in employee satisfaction, 40 percent reported enhanced company culture, and 14 percent saw revenue growth as a result of employee engagement programs.
  • Improving employee engagement remains a key organizational focus, with 88 percent respondents calling it a top priority. The survey also includes insights into the internal and interpersonal factors that affect employee engagement, key drivers of organisational culture, and the relationship between employee wellbeing and engagement.

One in five workers report feeling extremely stressed, mostly due to work or finances. These employees are more than four times as likely to suffer from symptoms of fatigue, headaches, depression or other ailments – and twice as likely to report poor overall health, leading to increased absenteeism and decreased productivity.

What is preventing organizations from ultimately increasing employee engagement? For many, the current workplace culture is resistant to change, while others struggle to boost adoption or participation in initiatives designed to increase employee engagement. Some don’t yet have senior leadership buy-in, while others don’t have the budget they need.

Participation is another challenge to improvements. Incentivizing employees to join engagement programs is one way to increase participation. While incentives can either be rewards for joining or punishments for non-participation, incentives are currently trending more towards carrot than stick, as organizations find that rewards drive participation more than punishments do. Note, incentives alone do not increase employee engagement. Instead, they are a tool to drive participation in engagement programs.

Chris Boyce, CEO, Virgin Pulse believes building daily habits centred around healthy behaviours is the key to driving success at the individual and organizational level. This survey shows that organizations are recognizing this – with 97 percent of respondents reporting that employee wellbeing impacts engagement.

As more organizations focus on individual wellbeing as positive a driver of company culture, they are going to see happier, healthier, more engaged employees and better business results, across the board. In 2017, organisations that put employee health and wellbeing at the core of their workplace cultures will continue to enjoy a significant competitive advantage in terms of higher employee engagement, increased productivity and stronger business performance.

Employee engagement relies on having an inclusive work culture and positive approaches to employee wellbeing. Wellbeing depends on high levels of employee engagement and a work culture that respects work-life balance. Positive work culture depends on committed and healthy employees.

Also read: 27 Cool Employee Engagement Ideas for a Productive Workforce

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