How We Can Foster Human Flourishing at Work

October 30th, 2017

Every resident of planet earth has responsibility to foster human flourishing. God even called the Jewish exiles to seek the wellbeing of their enemies.

Seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf; for in its welfare you will have welfare. Jeremiah 29:7

If you serve in a leadership role -- whether you manage a handful, a large work group, or run an entire company -- you are responsible for employee wellbeing. According to Gallup research, employee wellbeing is every leader’s business, and it directly affects the bottom line. 

Every day in your organization, some employees don’t show up, don’t give their best effort, erode your productivity, and cost you millions of dollars because they are struggling or suffering in important areas of their lives. Other employees engage their colleagues and customers, generate new ideas, and save your organization thousands of dollars in healthcare costs because they take responsibility for their health and overall wellbeing. 

In their report, “The Economics of Wellbeing,” Gallup researchers identified five core elements of wellbeing that are essential to most people’s sense of flourishing. 

  • Career Wellbeing: how you occupy your time and liking what you do each day 
  • Social Wellbeing: having strong relationships and love in your life
  • Financial Wellbeing: effectively managing your economic life to reduce stress and increase security 
  • Physical Wellbeing: having good health and enough energy to get things done on a daily basis 
  • Community Wellbeing: the sense of engagement and involvement you have with the area where you live

Some important findings:

Those who are engaged in their work (employees love their jobs and make their organization better every day) are more than three times as likely as those who are disengaged to be thriving in their overall lives.

People in disengaged workgroups (employees just show up and do the minimum to stay employed) are nearly twice as likely to be diagnosed with depression and have higher stress levels and are at greater risk for heart disease. And as we age, the impact of low Career Wellbeing on sick days continues to increase.

Having a job that is disengaging is, in many ways, worse psychologically than having no job at all.

Health-related costs for a 60-year-old with high wellbeing are actually lower than those for a 30-year-old with low wellbeing.

People who have high-quality friendships on the job are seven times as likely to be engaged in their work.

Having employees who are thriving in Community Wellbeing improves an organization’s image and increases its positive effect on the community.

Sadly, Gallup research found that only 12% of employees strongly agree that they have substantially higher overall wellbeing because of their employer, and the vast majority clearly think that their job is a detriment to their overall wellbeing.

Reflection

While affirming the importance of the five elements above, one is missing. We should add spiritual wellbeing to this list. Because God is the ultimate and only true source of good in our world,1 we flourish, enjoy life, and are truly happy only when we center our lives on Him. In that sense, our wellbeing isn't dependent on how much a leader or organization cares about our flourishing. Rather than gaining our sense of wellbeing from our work, we can bring meaning to it.

When we pray, Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven, we are declaring that our workplace, among other places ...

is not fully aligned with God’s rule. We are declaring that we have a different vision of what the world should be like. ... we are calling God’s reality down to our everyday existence.2 

We are affirming our obligation to bring God's reality of human flourishing to as many people as possible--spiritually, vocationally, socially, financially and physically. When we do, it's likely they will spell the fragrant aroma of heaven and want to know where it came from.

Read more about this study in the Gallup Business Journal. Download the wellness report at Gallup.com.

1. Psalm 16:2

2. From the London Institute of Contemporary Christianity