Stress takes a huge toll on people in their personal and work lives. And C-suite leaders have been battling the pandemic and the Great Resignation to keep their companies and employees healthy and happy. But the past two years have taken a toll on them. In fact, a new study found that 70% of C-suite executives are seriously considering quitting to find a job that better supports their well-being.
The study, a collaboration between Deloitte and Workplace Intelligence, surveyed 2,100 employees and C-level executives in the U.S., U.K., Canada and Australia.
It would appear that employees and C-suite leaders are both having a difficult time prioritizing their well-being. And according to the findings, it’s all because of work!
C-suite leaders have a disconnect
Unfortunately, 80% of the executives believe their people are doing great with their physical and mental well-being. However, that’s not true.
Maybe employees are putting on a happy face and powering through their work. But a happy face doesn’t make for a happy employee. That’s why it’s so important to ask employees how they’re doing. Because what you see isn’t always what you get.
Take, for example, when asked about their physical, mental, social and financial well-being, the number of employees who picked “excellent” or “good” was way below how the C-suite executives assessed their employees’ well-being. To put the assessments more into focus, 65% of employees said their physical well-being was “excellent” or “good”, but C-suites said 89% of their employees would pick “excellent” or “good”. As for mental well-being, 59% picked the top categories, and 84% of C-suites said their employees would pick the top categories.
It shouldn’t be a surprise then that mental and behavioral health is the number one clinical area employers said they’ll focus on over the next few years to improve employees’ health, according to WTW’s (formerly Willis Towers Watson) 2021 Best Practices in Health Care Employer Survey.
And in WTW’s 2022 Global Benefits Attitude Survey, one of the top three issues employees most want their employer to focus on was helping them manage their emotional health. A few options employees want are:
- Mental health days (53%)
- Stress and resilience management activities (40%), and
- Better coverage of mental health services and medications (39%).
As for physical health, employees want:
- More generous healthcare plans (46%)
- Health screenings and risk assessments (42%), and
- Better dental plans (37%).
C-suite leaders and employees both believe that improving their well-being is more important than advancing their careers. But to do that they pointed to a few things standing in their way – mostly related to work. The top two were heavy workload or stressful job (30%) and not having enough time because of long work hours (27%).
Sixty-three percent of employees and 73% of C-suite executives reported they can’t disconnect from work because they can’t take time off. Reasons for not taking time off were:
- too much work to do (24%)
- showing people they’re dedicated to their job (22%), and
- no one to cover for them while they’re away (22%).
Twenty-five percent of executives said, if they disconnected from work when they got back their workload would be unmanageable, and 24% are afraid they’d miss out on important correspondence.
Despite all of this, executives recognize they need to take ownership of their employees’ well-being … with the help of HR of course.
But being responsible for employees’ and their own well-being isn’t the same as taking accountability for it. Executives must learn to be health-savvy execs. That means appreciating the decisions related to well-being and the impact they can have on their organization’s culture.
Ninety-four percent of executives agree it’s important for them to be health-savvy. That’s why 90% indicated they’re already acting by:
- defining their ambition around health (88%)
- designing their personal learning strategy around health matters (87%)
- leveraging their organization’s understanding of workforce drivers of health (87%), and
- ensuring a systemic approach around health (86%).
Amping up benefits
Guess how many executives are taking the concept of health-savvy leadership and turning it into concrete action?
If you said benefits, you’re right. Most are starting by amping up their benefits. Eighty-three percent said that over the next few years, they plan to up their game when it comes to well-being benefits.
But the benefits must be more than just a wellness stipend and a health promotion program. What employees want is a company that supports their holistic health and challenges societal norms. They also want their firm to help incorporate well-being into the flow of their daily work and activities. Not an easy undertaking.
Incorporating this new way of running a company and being a health-savvy leader won’t be a small undertaking, but it’ll be one that’ll benefit C-suite executives, their employees and the company as a whole.