- 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.