C-suite May Soon Join the Great Resignation, Uncovering Well-being is a Top-Down Organizational Concern

Published: 22 Jun 2022

Deloitte has released a new report in collaboration with independent research firm Workplace Intelligence that explores the C-suite's role in organizational well-being and examines how an overall poor state of health is affecting retention for workers and executives alike.

Across the globe, both employees and executive-level business leaders are struggling to prioritize their well-being — and for most people, work is to blame. The situation is bad enough that 57% of employees and nearly 70% of the C-suite said they are seriously considering quitting for a job that better supports their well-being.

Despite this mutual struggle, the C-suite largely doesn't recognize that workers are struggling with their well-being, and this disconnect has the potential to further feed into The Great Resignation if leaders don't do more to understand the needs of their workers and demonstrate that they truly care about their holistic well-being.

The report, "The C-suite's role in well-being: How health-savvy executives can go beyond workplace wellness to workplace well-being — for themselves and their people," digs into the link between work and well-being, discusses why a strong organizational focus on well-being is critical for employee and executive retention, and outlines how organizations can reimagine well-being at work through an emphasis on broader cultural change and health-savvy leadership.

Key findings from the report include:

-People's jobs are harming their well-being, and many say they will eventually quit as a result. Significantly, 63% of employees and 73% of the C-suite report that their job doesn't allow them to take time off from work and disconnect. Results also show that for 68% of employees and 81% of the C-suite, improving their well-being is more important to them than advancing their career right now.

- The pandemic has worsened everyone's health, but executives don't realize how much their employees are struggling — Around 1 in 3 workers and executives "always" or "often" feel exhausted, stressed, overwhelmed, lonely, or depressed. Despite this, only around half of employees and two-thirds of the C-suite report that they use all their vacation time, take breaks during the day, get enough sleep, and have enough time for friends and family.

- Despite their own struggles with well-being, executives are significantly overestimating how well their employees are doing and how supported they feel by their leaders. For example, only 65% of employees rate their physical health as "excellent" or "good," but 89% of executives believe their workers are thriving. Just 56% of employees think their company's executives care about their well-being, but 91% of the C-suite see themselves as caring leaders.

- The C-suite must take greater ownership and action around matters of health. A whopping 95% of the C-suite agree that they should be responsible for employees' well-being, but at current, these sentiments aren't translating into action — 68% admit that they're not doing enough to safeguard employee and stakeholder health. And because just 31% of employees feel that their leaders are health-savvy, it's evident that they also believe leaders should be taking greater initiative when it comes to matters of health.

Despite work often working against well-being, leaders who are health-savvy have the ability to reimagine well-being for themselves and their workforce — but they need to do more. Well-being is a top priority in today's workplace, but the journey to health-savvy leadership won't be easy. However, executives stand to gain a lot by embracing this new reality. Not only can they become better and more purpose-driven leaders, but they may discover that they're finally able prioritize their "own" well-being — a critical shift that could help them stay the course in their role and become steadfast ambassadors of a better tomorrow.

"While it's promising that so many executives feel they should be responsible for employee well-being, many also feel that they aren't taking enough action," said Jen Fisher, Deloitte's U.S. chief well-being officer. "It's time for the C-suite to become more health-savvy by embracing the expanding focus on well-being in their role. This critical shift will not only benefit their own well-being and the well-being of their people, but also the long-term success of their organizations."

"There's a global imperative for organizations to examine how their day-to-day work experience affects people's well-being," added Dan Schawbel, managing partner at Workplace Intelligence. "The Great Resignation has shown us that employees are no longer willing to tolerate a job that leaves them constantly burned out and exhausted, and our study with Deloitte highlights that executives are also fed up with the current state of affairs."

"To make well-being a reality, leaders need to first look at redesigning the work in their organization," said Steve Hatfield, Deloitte's Global Future of Work leader. "By integrating well-being into the design of work itself, organizations can strengthen the link between employee well-being and organizational performance."

"The pandemic made well-being more vivid for many of us, yet many employees and leaders are struggling to find the organizational support they need to address it," said Paul Silverglate, US Executive Accelerators leader and Deloitte's US Technology Sector vice chair. "It's clear that well-being is a top-down concern, and today's C-suite has a great opportunity to drive organizational change to create a better workplace for all."

Research findings are based on a survey conducted by Deloitte and Workplace Intelligence in February 2022 among more 2,100 employees and C-level executives across the U.S., U.K., Canada and Australia.

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