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The Five Essential Elements of WELLBEING and Worforce Development


The Five Essential Elements

According to a new book, Wellbeing: The Five Essential Elements, released by Tom Rath, a NY Times bestselling author and Jim Harter, there are five essential elements of life that transcend countries, faiths and cultures.  Rath and Harter completed a study of more than 150 countries whose combined populations account for over 98% of the world's population.

Their study discovered what many of us business and career coaches already know, that much of what we think will improve our wellbeing is either misguided or just plain wrong.  They write: "Contrary to what many believe, wellbeing isn't just about being seemingly happy, nor is it about being wealthy and successful.  And, it's certainly not limited to physical health and wellness.  In fact, focusing on any of these elements in isolation could drive us to feelings of frustration and even failure."

The Five Elements are:

  • Career Wellbeing: How you occupy your time/enjoying what you do each day
  • Social Wellbeing: The quality of relationships and love in your life
  • Financial Wellbeing:  Managing your economic life to reduce stress and increase security
  • Physical Wellbeing: Good health and enough energy to get things done on a daily basis
  • Community Wellbeing: Engagement and involvement in the community where you live

Acting on these elements will enable you to enjoy each day and get more out of your life, while boosting the wellbeing of friends, family members, colleagues and others in your community.

These elements are also important to your organization, as when they are in balance, your  employees will be more engaged, healthier and much more productive.  When the leaders in your organization embrace the importance of these key elements, they create a more engaging place to work, resulting in greater returns for the organization.  When leaders ignore or dismiss these elements, they risk eroding the confidence of those that follow them and can severely limit their organization's ability to grow.

Strong leaders understand that each workers wellbeing and those of their family is largely dependent on their ability to lead and manage effectively.  When managers and leaders invest in their employee's well being, they foster a culture of communications and trust, thus creating a more efficient and higher performing organization.

Remember, an employee's effectiveness and level of engagement is typically a direct reflection of their relationship with their immediate supervisor.  When employees were questioned as to "whether or not their leadership cared about them as a person", the findings indicate that those that agreed to this statement :

  • are more likely to be top performers
  • produce higher quality work
  • are less likely to be sick
  • are less likely to change jobs
  • are less likely to get injured on the job

The most progressive leaders not only understand that they are in the business of boosting their employee's wellbeing, but they also use this knowledge as a competitive advantage to recruit and retain top employees.  Attracting top talent is easier if they can show a prospective employee how working for the organization  will translate into better relationships, more financial security, improved physical health, and more involvement in the community.  Just as the most successful organizations have worked systematically to optimize their levels of employee engagement, they are now paying much closer attention to employee wellbeing as a way to gain emotional, financial and competitive advantage.

MOTIVATORS “Lack of advancement negates professional development”-NOW I HAVE HEARD EVERYTHING



University of Iowa study finds employee training might actually increase turnover-

--“Lack of advancement opportunities negates benefits of professional development programs.”

Please follow the hyperlink to an article referring to a study from June 2011 at the University of Iowa.  Just when you thought you heard everything…  Although it is true that if an employee does not see any career advancement opportunities in the organization, and the market place for new employees changes dramatically from the buyer’s market it is today, then employees will start picking their heads up and testing the marketplace.  However in this marketplace, not many are looking to be the new person on the bottom rung in an organization. 

When the economy shifts, any training, development and learning that employees received will be remembered and appreciated and should create new opportunities in the existing organization which ideally lines up with the newly acquired skills and better developed employees.  

First of all, let us not forget that it was not employees who started the unbelievable lack of loyalty to their employers, it was the other was around.  Call it right sizing, off-shoring, outsourcing, laying off…whatever you want.  To me it is a lack of company loyalty and employees paying for bad business decisions made by employers.  One of the fantastic changes that is coming out of this development, the genx ers and a lousy economy is that diversity, learning and development are really becoming important components of our compensations plans.  This is fantastic. 

To say that people would leave because they have no career opportunities is not a stretch at all, as a matter of fact, it is so obvious I am not sure why we call it a “finding in a study”.  Aren’t the professional development programs designed to, among other things, provide new opportunities for growth within companies and organizations.

Furthermore, please let’s not forget that I can find studies that I would actually call “studies” that prove GenY ers are more motivated by learning and professional development that from Salary.  They still will need opportunity for growth of course.  That takes care of itself.  The motivated GenX ers, while they are seeking work and life balance, will develop and market their growing value propositions to the existing companies.  Employees who did not grow and develop and take advantage of company offerings will lose opportunity and attrition out.  Wallah-growth opportunities for fully developed genx ers who are familiar with and comfortable with their changing and growing value proposition.  Who benefits?  The company, the employees, the customers, the vendors and the shareholders.  Who loses? The companies that do not pay for learning and development and the employees too lazy to take advantage of these offerings.

It has been proven that professional development costs usually return something like 500% ROI.  I guess that is only if you do NOT work at University of Iowa.

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