It is not surprising that life altering and, in some cases life threatening, events such as the pandemic, global inflation and the new war in Europe are having profound effects on people in and out of work. What is surprising is the size of the gap in the understanding of these effects on well-being between C-suite executives and their employees. According to a major survey by Deloitte in partnership with Workplace Intelligence, “more than eight out of 10 global executives believe their people are thriving in all aspects of their well-being” whereas employees were reporting levels from just 40% for Financial well-being to 65% for Physical well-being. A more stark finding from the research is that:
“Only 56% of employees think their company’s executives care about their well-being, while 91% of the C-suite think their employees believe they care about it.”
The importance of closing the perception gap
One might ask why this gap in perception is important given that companies have what they likely consider to be existential and immediate problems such as dealing with ever rising costs of energy and materials and trying to recruit suitable staff, for example in the hospitality sector. The answer, again from the study, is that this is important and that “68% of employees and 81% of the C-suite say that improving their well-being is more important than advancing their career.”
On a range of activities to prioritise health, such as getting 7 hours of sleep or working 40 hours or less in a week, employees who reported they often achieved this ranged from 43% to 63% depending on the activity; C-suite executives did better ranging from 65% to 76% depending on the activity. In spite of this, the research found that “while 57% of employees are seriously considering quitting for a more supportive job, nearly seven out of 10 executives are thinking about taking this leap”, perhaps because C-suite executives could spend more time looking for a better position.
The result of this and other studies is that health and well-being is very important, with 96% of executives saying they feel responsible for employees’ well-being, but 68% admitting that they were not taking enough action to safeguard it. One of the reasons is that communication of well-being issues and initiatives needs to be a lot better. While only 33% of workers often share information about well-being with their managers, only 22% of them felt that executives shared well-being information with them. The research found that transparency is key in improving well-being; for transparent executives 72% of employees reported above average well-being compared with only 56% of employees whose managers were less open.
How to close the perception gap
Breaking the ice to allow both executives and employees to open up and be more transparent is difficult, even more so when executives are unaware of a potential problem. One pain-free way of starting the process is to use a tool which collects data digitally, anonymously and in real time, alerting you to any unseen issues which could be impacting well-being. Tensense is an early warning system for your business. You can watch a short video here.