Viewing archives for Dr. George Ward

Why are workers so sad? These researchers offer clues – and recommendations

Fast Company

Layard cites his research, along with studies by George Ward, an economics research fellow at Oxford University, and Jan-Emmanuel De Neve, a professor of economics and behavioral science at Oxford’s Saïd Business School, which demonstrates the impact of worker well-being on individual- and firm-level performance. 

While more conservative economists prioritize quantifiable measures like income, rather than subjective emotions like happiness, Layard says “we should be measuring the benefit of a policy not by its effect on income, but by its overall effect on well-being.” The professor cheekily rejects the idea that studying wellness is not a hard science. “We are the hard-headed ones and they are the softies,” he argues. 

Working nine to thrive: How to improve employee health and productivity

McKinsey Health Institute

Previously, researchers at the University of Oxford’s Wellbeing Research Centre analyzed data from more than 15 million employees on their well-being and the underlying workplace factors driving it. The researchers identified and tested 11 factors, including compensation, flexibility, purpose, inclusion, achievement, support, trust, belonging, management, and learning. The three top factors for the companies that scored best on well-being were feeling energized, belonging, and trust. Interestingly, they are different from the top drivers that employees think will make them happy and drive well-being at work: pay and flexibility.

Who was the best CEO of 2023?

The Economist

How, then, to choose? One way is to listen to the underlings. After all, a chief executive that hoists the share price but enrages staff is unlikely to succeed for long. We gathered figures from Glassdoor, an employee-review website, on how workers at the five companies felt about their chief executives and their companies more broadly.

When purpose meets beauty: the power of art in the post-pandemic office


The Wellbeing Research Centre of the University of Oxford conducted a study in 2019 that analysed data from 230 independent organisations across 49 industries. The findings suggest that employees’ satisfaction with their company strongly correlated with employee productivity.

Merit-based flexibility could be the future of work as return-to-office mandates fail to prop up productivity


Additionally, hybrid work is the equivalent of an 8% salary increase in terms of employee satisfaction, as Bloom’s findings suggest. An Oxford-Saïd Business School and BT study takes this further, quantifying happiness and its impact on productivity among content workers: a 13% increase in performance.

Execs call for mandatory reporting of employee well-being metrics

Investment News

Though companies like Amazon.com Inc. and Walmart Inc. are facing pressure to report their well-being metrics, not many others have fully embraced the practice. But some research organizations, including Gallup and the Wellbeing Research Centre, are already refining methods of evaluating wellness information.

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Happiest companies better in multiple measures of firm performance

  • Firm value, return on assets and profits all higher for companies with higher workplace wellbeing scores
  • Top 100 ‘happiest’ companies outperform S&P 500 and Dow Jones by 20% since 2021
  • Researchers analyse data from more than 1,600 US companies and 15 million employee surveys in partnership with jobs site Indeed

Companies with higher employee wellbeing scores outperform their counterparts in multiple traditional measures of firm performance, new research has found.

Investment in the top 100 US workplaces ranked by employee wellbeing would have returned 20% more than the same investment in the S&P 500 or Dow Jones over the same two-year period.

The findings are published in the most comprehensive study to date linking employee wellbeing to financial and stock market performance, led by researchers from the Wellbeing Research Centre at the University of Oxford and Harvard University.

They worked in partnership with the jobs site Indeed, whose Workplace Wellbeing Score is the largest survey of employee wellbeing anywhere in the world with more than 15 million responses collected since its launch in 2019.

The researchers analysed data from more than 1,600 US listed companies whose employees reported anonymously on four key measures: Job satisfaction; Purpose; Happiness; and Stress1, and compared this against publicly available annual accounting data. They found that, on average, higher levels of employee wellbeing were associated with increased firm value, higher return on assets, and higher profits. Pre-pandemic measures of workplace wellbeing also subsequently predicted higher levels of firm performance following the Covid-19 outbreak.

In a separate analysis, the researchers also ranked the top 100 firms by employee wellbeing scores. Starting on January 1, 2021, they ‘invested’ a hypothetical $1,000 dollars into this new wellbeing-oriented portfolio and saw a greater return than equivalent investments in the main US stock indices.

This higher performance held true in both the so-called bull market of sustained growth through much of 2021 and the bear market of prolonged decline in 2022.

Workplace Wellbeing and Firm Performance’ is open access and available as part of the Wellbeing Research Centre’s Working Paper Series.

  1. https://wellbeing.hmc.ox.ac.uk/article/wp-2303-measuring-workplace-wellbeing

Happy staff often make for satisfied shareholders, study finds

Financial Times

The analysis showed that the wellbeing index not only correlates with gains in company performance, but is also predictive: investing $1,000 in companies with higher staff wellbeing scores in January 2021 would have generated a return of about $1,300 by the start of March 2023, compared with a return of roughly $1,100 from the S&P 500 stock index.

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The business case for investing in employee wellbeing

Fast Company

While most companies say some version of “our people are our most important asset,” they clearly do not prioritize it: only 29% of people are thriving at work, and only one third of managers have any strategy for work wellbeing. This “wellbeing deficit” clearly takes an enormous toll on people, affecting hundreds of millions of lives, but also creates a giant economic loss: companies with higher wellbeing scores generate significantly better profit, command higher valuations, and outperform the stock market.

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Research shows happiness is the new performance indicator. This is how managers can support it

Fast Company

The Saïd Business School study Does Happiness Improve Worker Productivity? found that happiness can have a significant impact on productivity. Results showed that happier workers were 12% more productive than their unhappy counterparts. This boost in productivity can be attributed to various factors, such as increased motivation, engagement, and creativity.

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