Report: Holistic Employee Care Boosts Business Performance

Companies can unlock more of their employees’ potential, bolster more trust, and see an increase in business performance by focusing on six fundamental human needs, according to a new report from Accenture, which has offices in Detroit, Livonia, Troy, and Ann Arbor.
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wellness to stress illustration
Companies can improve business performance by boosting employees’ overall well-being, according to Accenture. // Stock photo

Companies can unlock more of their employees’ potential, bolster more trust, and see an increase in business performance by focusing on six fundamental human needs, according to a new report from Accenture, which has offices in Detroit, Livonia, Troy, and Ann Arbor.

“Care to Do Better: Building Trust to Leave Your People and Your Business Net Better Off” is based on surveys of 3,200 C-suite executives and more than 15,000 workers spanning 15 industries and 10 countries.

The research introduces a framework called Net Better Off that centers on six distinct and connected dimensions that leaders must focus on:

  1. Emotional and mental – Feeling positive emotions and maintaining mental wellness such as a sense of accomplishment, compassion, happiness, fulfillment, and optimism;
  2. Relational – Feeling a strong sense of belonging and inclusion and having many strong personal relationships;
  3. Physical – Being in good physical health and equipped to take on normal daily stress;
  4. Financial – Being financially secure without undue economic stress or worry and having equitable opportunity for future economic stability and advancement;
  5. Purposeful – Feeling that one makes a positive difference in the world and that life has meaning and a greater sense of purpose beyond oneself; and
  6. Employable – Having marketable, in-demand capabilities and skills that make it easy to obtain good jobs and equitable career-advancement opportunities.

A key finding shows that 64 percent of people’s potential at work, defined as using and developing skills each day, is influenced by whether or not they feel better off across the six dimensions.

While the emotional, relational, and purposeful dimensions are the strongest drivers of positive employee behavior, most employers focus only on the employable and financial dimensions.

“Providing an environment that inspires both trust and people to work to their full potential lifts both the individual and the business — and this is even more true during times of crisis,” says Ellyn Shook, chief leadership and human resources officer at Accenture.

“Ultimately, the compounding health, economic, and social crises will pass; people will remember how they were treated and make choices about who they want to work for and where they’ll do business. Organizations that recognize this now and help their people become Net Better Off will win in the market of the future.”

Workers are far more likely than C-suite executives to say the responsibility for maintaining the six guidelines lies with the employer – 67 percent versus 35 percent – unveiling a significant gap. However, the gap has shrunk during the pandemic to 78 percent versus 50 percent – indicating that C-suite executives are taking responsibility. They still have work to do to better align with their employees on expectations, the report says.

Accenture’s analysis found that organizations that make their people Net Better Off and implement specific organizational practices could achieve incremental revenue growth of as much as 5 percent, even when GDP growth is weak.

Using statistical testing, Accenture sorted through more than 20 practices that have the potential to help people become Net Better Off and improve business performance and identified five practices that deliver the greatest impact in both areas:

  • Enable continuous learning to ensure a future-ready workforce can shift at scale.
  • Listen to what employees need, empowering them with real-time data.
  • Use technology to enable flexible work arrangements and more creative work for employees that is increasingly dispersed.
  • Champion workforce well-being and equality, as safety and relational needs are more important than ever.
  • Set and share employee metrics. Set accountability for diversity and equality, be transparent, and engage in intentional conversations that matter to employees.

The report also says that to succeed in this new era, chief human resources officers must change the way they think about their own job, championing the practices set forth in the guidelines. These modern HR leaders, as Accenture calls them, works to create experiences grounded in care for people and concern for their communities while accelerating the performance of the business.

“To ensure that their companies continue to thrive, especially during challenging economic and social times, CHROs must return to their most fundamental mission: caring for workers and unlocking their potential,” says David Rodriguez, co-author of the report and global CHRO of Marriott International. “The workplace provides an opportunity for building self-worth and belonging, and the alignment of values and purpose strengthens both the person and the organization.”

The full report is available here.

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