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Tightening the link between employee wellbeing at work and performance: A new dimension for HRM

Nicole Renee Baptiste (Graduate Business School, Manchester Metropolitan University, Manchester, UK)

Management Decision

ISSN: 0025-1747

Article publication date: 7 March 2008




The purpose of the paper is to show that, though essential, the achievement of business‐oriented performance outcomes has obscured the importance of employee wellbeing at work, which is a neglected area of inquiry within the field of human resource management. Instead the emphasis typically placed on the business case for HRM suggests a one‐sided focus on organisational outcomes at the expense of employees. With this in mind, this paper seeks to examine the effects of HRM practices on employee wellbeing and performance.


Data were collected from a public sector (local government) organisation to identify the link between HRM practices, employee wellbeing at work, and performance. A preliminary staff survey of employees provides a brief overview of the link between HRM practices, employee wellbeing at work and performance.


HRM practices adopted have a significant impact on employee wellbeing at work and tend to be more positive than negative. Overall a consistent result in the study was that management relationship behaviour in the form of support and development of trust, promoted employee wellbeing at work amongst workers. In general, the findings will prove helpful to human resource practitioners, management, policy makers and business practice.

Research limitations/implications

HRM practices that help to maximise employee wellbeing at work are not necessarily the same as those that make up “high performance” HR practices. Moreover, the promotion of wellbeing at work is not likely to be a result of the HRM practices but can be linked to line management leadership and relationships.

Practical implications

The importance of management relationships, support and employees' trust was found to predict wellbeing at work. The decision by management to embrace the business case for employee wellbeing at work is likely to complement more conventional methods of improving employee attitudes and productivity, which in turn can enhance organisational effectiveness and decision making.


This paper builds on existing work within HRM and provides a framework for establishing the linkage between HRM practices, employee wellbeing at work and performance in the public sector that it is suggested could improve individual and organisational outcomes through enhanced efficiency and productivity.



Renee Baptiste, N. (2008), "Tightening the link between employee wellbeing at work and performance: A new dimension for HRM", Management Decision, Vol. 46 No. 2, pp. 284-309.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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