High levels of employee well-being are associated with higher levels of productivity, innovation and engagement. Lower levels of employee well-being can lead to more missed work and turnover. Gallup research shows that employees with fair or poor mental health notch almost 12 days of unplanned absences annually compared to 2.5 days for all other workers. The research organization estimates that this missed work, generalized across the entire workforce, costs the U.S. economy $47.6 billion in lost productivity each year. To put that in the context of the tax department, Gallup estimates the cost of a missed work day to be $340 per day for full-time employees.
The focus on managing employee well-being has intensified in recent years; investments also have increased. Deloitte estimates that large organizations spend an average of approximately $10.5 million each year on well-being programs. But the consulting firm’s survey research also finds that leaders and employees differ in their assessments of well- being: 72% of executives report that they share well-being information about their emotional states with employees, but only 16% of employees say that they see this level of transparency in their leaders.
This disconnect points to the need for a cohesive well-being strategy, according to Deloitte, which also suggests that finance executives explore the following questions when formulating that strategy (addressing these focal points can also help tax leaders better manage well-being in their departments):
- “How are employees doing their work?” Unhealthy schedules and unwieldy workloads can go undetected, until it’s too late. These problems often can be mitigated by building more flexibility into work schedules.
- “What on earth can we do about meetings?” Most organizations (and tax departments) would benefit by reducing the number of meetings employees attend. Scrutinize the value of a meeting to determine whether it is necessary – and whether the invite list can be shortened.
- “How many vacation days aren’t employees taking?” Unused vacation time can be a financial liability as well as a sign of unhealthy work practices. “The company should signal that taking vacation time—truly away from the business—is essential,” according to Deloitte, which also points to the value of delegating vacationing employee’s work ahead of time (and refraining from emailing vacationing employees).
- “What can we do to promote a sense of belonging?” When well-being strategies and programs fall short, it can indicate that employees do not feel a sense of belonging in the organizational culture. The establishment of employee resource groups can help address this shortcoming, as can making well-being a focal point in the onboarding process.
Given well-being’s impacts on productivity, retention and the bottom line, it makes sense for tax leaders to address the issue in a systematic way.
Please remember that the Tax Matters provides information for educational purposes, not specific tax or legal advice. Always consult a qualified tax or legal advisor before taking any action based on this information. The views and opinions expressed in Tax Matters are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy, position, or opinion of Vertex Inc.