Wellbeing is increasingly seen as an alternative to gross national product (GNP) as a measure of a nation’s progress. In the context of work, wellbeing consists of a person’s assessments of job satisfaction, feelings of motivation, and the relative absence of anxiety, worry, and unease about work. Many people also feel that wellbeing at work translates to productive activity realized through good work performance and infrequent absence from work. Indeed, there is considerable evidence that happier and more satisfied workers can help achieve higher levels of productivity for an organization. In this webinar, I describe research that examines whether workplaces that provide high quality work practices are also characterized by higher levels of wellbeing and better performance outcomes. High quality work practices include reasonable work demands and working hours for staff, clear role descriptions, skills use, variety in tasks, support from co-workers, job security, and opportunity for decision-making. The research uses data from between 135 and 243 National Health Service (NHS) Trusts in England, collected in 2012, 2013 and 2014. The goal is to determine whether we could predict improvements in wellbeing (job satisfaction and worker engagement) and performance (patient satisfaction, sickness absence and patient mortality) from work and employment quality in NHS Trusts. Thus, the research examined whether changes in wellbeing and performance outcomes from 2012 to 2014 were related to the use of high quality work practices in 2013. We can therefore conclude, with some degree of confidence, that the quality of work and employment practices leads to improvements in both wellbeing and performance outcomes.
You will learn:
- Whether workplaces that use high quality work practices show improvements in subsequent levels of worker wellbeing
- Whether workplaces that use high quality work practices show improvements in subsequent indicators of performance
- What specific job characteristics are more important for achieving improvements in both workers’ wellbeing and performance
- Whether workplace actions aimed at improving workers’ wellbeing and performance are mutually compatible
- Workplaces that made the most extensive use of high quality work practices were more likely to have high levels of staff engagement and job satisfaction.
- Workplaces that support workers with access to training and development opportunities were more likely to have higher levels of customer satisfaction and lower levels of sickness absence
- As actions aimed at improving workers’ satisfaction and performance are mutually compatible, wellbeing need not be sacrificed in the pursuit of better levels of performance
- Workplaces should develop high quality jobs that have clear roles for staff, provide opportunities for skills development, and allow staff to have input into decisions about their job.
Chidiebere Ogbonnaya, PhD
Senior Lecturer, Organisational Behaviour/Human Resource Management, University of Sussex Business School
Dr. Chidiebere Ogbonnaya is a Senior Lecturer in Organizational Behaviour/Human Resource Management at University of Sussex Business School. He was previously the Eastern ARC Research Fellow in Quantitative Social Science at the University of East Anglia. Chidiebere is also a co-investigator for the Work, Learning and Wellbeing evidence programme, part of the Economic and Social Research Council funded What Works Centre for Wellbeing. The programme brings together the best evidence on what works to improve the wellbeing of people, workplaces, and communities across Britain. Chidiebere’s research relates to employment relations, high-performance work systems, job quality, employee wellbeing, and organizational performance.