Study Links Wellness and Work/Life Programs to Creativity

By Stephen Miller March 1, 2010

Organizations that promote employee health and well-being, for example through initiatives that support wellness and work/life balance, are 3.5 times more likely than others to encourage creativity and innovation, according to new research.

“We now have persuasive evidence linking health and well-being to greater employee engagement, organizational productivity, talent retention and—of utmost importance in today’s post-recession economy—creativity and innovation,” said Deborah Schroeder-Saulnier, senior vice president for global solutions at talent consultancy Right Management.

The firm surveyed 28,810 employees across 10 industries in 15 countries in late 2009. Participants were asked to self-report on attitudes, performance and conditions directly related to the effectiveness of their organization. A key finding: 72 percent of those who rated their organization highly for actively promoting health and well-being (including work/life balance) also rated it highly for encouraging creativity and innovation. Among those who did not rate their organization’s health and well-being efforts highly, only 2 percent took a favorable view of their organization’s encouragement of creativity and innovation.

Positive Attitudes

A top goal of promoting well-being at work, Schroeder-Saulnier said, is to foster employee attitudes such as:

  • “I work in a safe and healthy environment.”
  • “My organization allows me to maintain a reasonable balance between my family and work life.”
  • “You can balance work and personal interests at my organization and still progress.”
  • “I have an appropriate workload.”
  • “The amount of pressure I experience in my role is reasonable.”

Policies and programs that support these attitudes can raise the level of employee engagement, leading to a more creative workplace, said Schroeder-Saulnier. “Leaders and human resource professionals would do well to implement initiatives that focus more precisely on yielding results that drive individual behaviors essential to improving the effectiveness of the entire organization,” she advised.

Stephen Milleris an online editor/manager for SHRM.

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