How to measure wellbeing at work: Pick the KPIs that matter

Written by Investors In People

How to measure wellbeing at work: Pick the KPIs that matter


Fruit bowls. Team days out. Remember when bean bags were scattered all over offices? 

While these are all initiatives that your company can and may have used to promote wellbeing at work, you’ll never know if they’ve made an impact unless you measure the impact your wellbeing initiatives have on your workforce.

There are several reasons that a wellbeing strategy may not work, and not picking the correct KPIs is one of them.

Before you decide what you want to measure, consider the following:

Don’t chase numbers

While KPIs are important, you have to remember not to chase numbers mindlessly; it can have the opposite effect of what you want to achieve. 

A KPI is a measurement, not a target. It intends to tell you how well you are performing so you can create actions to navigate progress against goals.

You’re hiring 50 new staff members, and you want to improve your retention rate so you don’t lose critical team members. 

A staff member hands in a notice, which will ruin your ‘target’. You do everything you can to keep the staff member, worsening their mental health and peers’ mental health, but you get your number.

While you’ve got a number that looks good on a PowerPoint, you’ve destroyed a team’s morale.

Determine your goals and objectives before your metrics

Your wellbeing KPIs need to tie back to your department and business objectives. If they don’t, you could measure something that doesn’t contribute to what you want to achieve.

For example, if your main focus for HR is hiring and onboarding 50 members of staff in the business year, making productivity the driver of your wellbeing strategy wouldn’t make sense. However, measuring retention rates could.

Recommended: How to plan an employee health and wellbeing strategy

Business performance and wellbeing are tightly linked

Organisations can often get so tied up in wellbeing initiatives that they forget about the complimenting factor of performance. 

You can provide the best initiatives and the most support available, but if the company and its employees perform poorly, people’s wellbeing will likely suffer.

Your initiatives have to inspire people to look after their wellbeing, but how your business operates has a substantial contributing factor to your people’s wellbeing.

How to measure wellbeing at work: 6 key measurement areas

If you score high in all these areas, your employees are more likely to be happy and content at the company and within their role. However, don’t think you need to ace all of these areas within 12 months, it can take years for companies to excel in every area.

1. Employee satisfaction: do employees enjoy their role at your company?

Employee satisfaction refers to how much employees enjoy working for your company and how happy they are in their role.

Measuring employee satisfaction is done with eNPS (employee net promoter score) and employee satisfaction surveys. You can then use your data to determine how satisfied your employees are.

Segment your employees

You can then segment your employees into advocates, passives and detractors (although answers must be anonymous). For example, you could ask: How likely are you to recommend us as an excellent place to work?

Anything from 0-4 is a detractor, anything from 5-7 is passive, and anything from 8-10 is an advocate. Your NPS is then calculated by subtracting the percentage of detractors from the percentage of promoters. Passives do not affect your score. 

Consistency is key

To get consistent metrics, you need to undertake surveys throughout the year and use your results to make improvements. You can experiment with different topics and questions to see how well you’re doing in those areas. And although you have to give people anonymity, you can and should involve your people in making improvements whatever way you can.

2. Employee retention: will employees stay with you long-term?

Employee retention refers to whether people are likely to stay with your company. Most companies want high retention as it keeps talent at the business and reduces costs in areas such as the administration of any resignations, recruitment and selection costs, covering the post during the period in which there is a vacancy and induction training for the new employee.

Employee turnover is directly linked to wellbeing in the sense that keeping people happy and looking after their physical, social and psychological wellbeing means they’re more likely to stay at your company. So high retention rates can signify that people are happy in their roles. 

However, it’s important not to get bogged down in the number. People do leave roles they’re happy in; they might want a career change, or they may be moving house. Make sure you get the context in any exit interviews; you may find that even though retention isn’t what you’d hoped for but it may be justified.

At the same time, you need to be honest, and if people are leaving because of a negative experience, it’s something you have to address.

3. Employee motivation: are employees determined to achieve their goals?

How much ambition do you people have to see themselves and the company succeed? Employee motivation is key to helping you achieve your goals and seeing employees thrive in the workplace. 

If employee wellbeing is high, people are more likely to come to work motivated. It’s much harder to focus on doing a good job when feeling down or anxious.

Signs your workforce is low on motivation

  • Decrease in productivity
  • Tardiness or absenteeism
  • Personality or behaviour changes
  • Changes in quality of work
  • High turnover

You can use your NPS surveys to help you determine motivation levels in your company and dig into some of the above metrics to decide whether or not they are linked to motivation.

Wellbeing and work: coming together to increase motivation

You can make personal connections to your employees and invest in their lives, make sure they know you appreciate what they’re doing for the company, and provide a healthy work-life balance to improve motivation.

However, motivation is directly linked to the employee’s role and whether they have the tools to do it properly. If the company doesn’t function well, it can be a struggle to keep people motivated even when you focus on their wellbeing.

4. Management satisfaction: do employees enjoy working with your management team?

Management satisfaction indicates how satisfied an employee is with the choices management make and how they affect their role at the company. 

An employee’s relationship with their manager is crucial to their wellbeing. If you have a positive working relationship with someone, you’re more likely to be happy. There are a suspected 2.4 million accidental managers in the UK alone who have little to no training in management or leadership.

Learn about your management team

The only way to make effective managers is by getting feedback from their teams and training them to improve in their areas of weakness. There’s also a level of self-awareness required from management, where self-reflection, expectation, and the ability to read how people perceive them generally contributes to how successful they are. 

Again, you’ll usually find information about managers in your NPS surveys if things have taken a turn for the worst (which they hopefully they don’t), unofficial or official meetings about management and employee conduct.

5. Peer satisfaction: do your employees get on with each other?

Employee satisfaction refers to how happy your employees are with each other and how well they work together. Ensuring peer satisfaction will build high-performance, compatible and efficient teams and ensure your organisation has high social wellbeing levels.

Keep employees present

You want employees to be physically and mentally present; they’re more likely to do their job well and be happier. It also means they’re in a better position to notice any problems as they’re more aware and focused and to help any of their team with issues.

Building solid values

All great teams share common values. They’re collaborative, trustworthy, honest, fair, and decisive. Maintaining these values is vital to keep employee morale and wellbeing high.

Discover how happy your people are with each other by getting feedback from management and weave some questions about team satisfaction into your NPS surveys.

6. Work environment: do your employees enjoy their working environment?

The work environment relates to how employees feel about where they work. What are their surroundings? Is your workplace too strict or lenient? But most importantly, is your culture toxic or positive. If you don’t know, you need to find out quickly. If you find your workplace unhealthy, your focus should be on improving company culture.

Signs you have a toxic work environment

  • Turnover is the most telling KPI that a workplace is toxic
  • Absenteeism and presenteeism are also indicators
  • You can also look into data such as complaints about management, the number of disciplinary hearings you have or bullying and harassment complaints.

The signs of a positive work environment are positive reflections of the above. Still, you can also look at rewards and recognition data and ask your employees whether they feel empowered in their roles. There’s usually a good feel around places with healthy work culture, and you can generally pick up on it, and it’s the same for toxic places.

Let your data and people lead you

There we have it, the six main areas you must excel in to create a culture of wellbeing at your organisation. Remember to use data and ensure you can measure all your KPIs. Use a mixture of qualitative and quantitative methods to collect your data. That way, you’ll have different datasets and won’t rely on a simple survey. But start small and improve your efforts over time. If employees see you’re trying to make changes, they’re more receptive and patient than if you promise the world and don’t deliver.

How to measure wellbeing at work: Take our company wellbeing strategy assessment

Got 2-minutes? Take our company wellbeing assessment and discover how well you deliver your wellbeing strategy. We’ll also offer you some tips for improvement, and you can speak to one of our team if you want to explore improving your strategy with our help.

About Investors in People

Investors in People have been working with a huge range of big and small organisations from Public Sectors, SMEs, Charities, PLCs and anything in between for over 30 years. We have accredited more than 50,000 organisations and our  accreditation is recognised in 66 countries around the world, making it the global benchmark when it comes to people management. So we know we speak your language and can offer the specific kind of support and guidance your organisation needs.

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14th Nov 2023 | Old Billingsgate, London



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