stressed employee sitting in front of a laptop

Over the past 10 years, the relationship between employee well-being and business productivity has been the subject of much research. A study of almost 2 million employees, spanning 83,000 business units across 50 industries demonstrated a substantial positive correlation between employees’ satisfaction with their organization and productivity.

A strong negative correlation between employees’ satisfaction and employee turnover was also highlighted. Employees that report a higher sense of well-being were:

    1. More productive at work
    2. Less likely to leave the company
    3. Less costly to manage

The question of the day is: If employee health and well-being are pivotal to productivity, how do employers know if their staff has what they need in a time of unprecedented uncertainty?

According to current findings, they don’t.

What is the Stress/Burnout/Profit Connection?

Thriving employees lead to a thriving business. And workplace stress leads to an increase of almost 50% in voluntary turnover.

Queens School of Business showed that disengaged workers have 37% higher absenteeism, 49% more accidents and 60% more errors and defects. High performer turnover is one of the biggest concerns of business leaders as it only has negative effects on key business metrics.

Turnover is costly for the company that has to find a suitable replacement and train them to do the job correctly, while attending to the clients left waiting. Healthier employees outperform those who work in organizations that do not foster a culture of health and well-being, and they also stay longer.

Advocates of mental health, such as the American Psychological Association (APA), push for the worthwhile investment of corporate health programs. APA estimates that more than $500 billion is drawn off from the US economy due to workplace stress and with that, 550 million working days are lost each year because of stress on the job. That was pre-COVID.

Post-COVID, well-being plummeted. While initially paused, voluntary turnover is rising again. Recruiting activity is rising as well. 

According to Carrie Corbin, Talent Acquisition Consultant, the employer brand is reflected through the perception of an audience that is both internal and external. This stems from the idea that employees can be organic brand ambassadors to an organization. We now know that healthy employees are more likely to organically promote the organization leading to many advantages like employee referrals, community awareness, and social media engagement.

So while “Burnout” is a multifaceted experience incorporating workload, compensation, overtime, and work-life balance, the absence of burnout has measurable benefits. Burnout greatly affects the bottom line: 95% of HR leaders cited burnout as a driving factor for turnover (that was PRE-COVID!), has direct costs of higher absenteeism, lower quality of work, and shorter tenure.

How Can I Reduce Employee Stress and Burnout with my Team?

Creating a wellness environment starts with the promotion of work as exciting and engaging and also enjoyable. Promoting these values will allow an organization to remain competitive and survive.

Through open dialogue, active support, teamwork and feedback, a positive work climate is created. To diffuse stress and unearth sources of burnout, hard-working staff (the ones you want to keep) often need a reminder to engage in stress-reducing activities. Invite your managers (or you can) to ask their direct reports 3 questions:

  1. How do you destress?
  2. What would you do if you had a great day off? (Then pick a day for them to take it)
  3. What is one thing I can do to make your life easier?

Following the above path, employees will feel the psychological safety to initiate healthy actions to self-manage stress. Invite them to SHARE what they do on their day off with you, and their colleagues. (If they do not have an answer to #1, that’s your signal they need more guidance and support right now).

Ultimately, engaged employee ambassadors are more likely to improve the organic social reach, the trust factor, the company culture and also, attract new talent. These factors operate in such a way that first, employees have much more connections on social media than the organization’s brand alone. The reach is then much wider. Second, consumers are more likely to trust employees than they are to trust C- suite, creating a channel of wellness experiences.

Retensa, Leading Advocate For Employees’ Wellbeing

The employee retention experts at Retensa are strong advocates for workforce well-being. Following the COVID-19 outbreak, this employee experience company was the first company to develop a free employee wellness survey for companies to address the concerns, needs and expectations of their workforce. The survey provides the tool to understand employee stressors, get a sense of their mental well-being, and capture their concerns and ways in which an employer can provide assistance and support.


Establishing a positive workplace has long term positive consequences on the company. A healthy and supported workforce is more effective, innovative and loyal. Consequently, this strengthens the employees’ relationship with one another while bolstering creativity and performance. This makes the workforce more resilient when facing challenges in the workplace and makes it more loyal to the organization as a whole. Simple actions to reduce stress are possible by direct line managers. Start by inviting direct reports to offer one way that you can help make their life easier. Then guide them to self-manage via avenues of de-stress that most refuel them. And provide the means (or time) for them to do it. One way you can do so is by offering stipends through the benefits packages offered to employees that can be used flexibly for wellness.

Author Bio: Corinne Ghorayeb is a Senior Talent Management Associate at Retensa, the employee retention experts. Her work focuses on improving the workforce experience for the clients she is assigned on, through the development of employee wellness surveys, engagement surveys and leadership reports that capture the companies’ pulse. Off work, Corinne is pursuing her M.A in Social Organizational Psychology at Columbia University, Teachers College.

Employee Retention Idea #55:

Balanced employees are more productive, accurate, safe, and likely to promote the organization. Stay connected with employees and address their concerns and needs with a free employee wellness toolkit.

We hope you found this blog post Employee Wellness, Burnout, and the Bottom Line useful. Be sure to check out our post 12 Office Design Ideas That Will Inspire Your Employees for more great tips!


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