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The well-being and productivity link: a significant opportunity for research-into-practice

Jill Miller (Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), London, UK)

Journal of Organizational Effectiveness: People and Performance

ISSN: 2051-6614

Article publication date: 5 September 2016




The purpose of this paper is to position well-being as a necessary component of the productivity debate and highlights the need for a deeper understanding of the nature of such a link. It first considers productivity at the national level in order to show how this affects both the climate and the economic policies within which organisations operate.


The paper presents an overview of current research and practice in the area. It treats the organisation as the primary level of analysis, and before highlights some of the apparent challenges in conceptualising well-being.


The importance of well-being is rising up national and employer agendas. Organisations need people to perform at their best in a sustainable way. The paper argues that an organisation with well-being at its core will reap productivity gains. It supports the view in the literature that improvements at national level can only be made on the back of sophisticated strategies across numerous organisations. However, for this to happen shared actions and understanding of these challenges has first to be created and acted upon across institutions and organisations. There are notable costs of poor well-being to productivity, and identifiable benefits of promoting and supporting employee well-being for productivity.

Practical implications

There is a clear practice implementation gap. Some organisations are embracing the opportunities to invest in their staff, but those who make employee well-being a business priority and a fundamental part of how the organisation operates are in the minority. There is also an ongoing challenge of measuring the impact of well-being programmes which can inform ROI assessments and enable organisations to demonstrate the business benefits of employee well-being.


There remain many unanswered questions about both the nature of the link between well-being and productivity and the economic impact of an association. This paper sparks further interest in expanding the understanding of the well-being and productivity link or peripheral issues.



Miller, J. (2016), "The well-being and productivity link: a significant opportunity for research-into-practice", Journal of Organizational Effectiveness: People and Performance, Vol. 3 No. 3, pp. 289-311.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2016, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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