Aon and Britain’s Healthiest Workplace UK data shows what organisations can learn from leaders’ wellbeing to support other employees
  • Levels of depression are significantly lower among C-Suite than among line managers and employees in non-supervisory roles
  • Leaders are more physically active and achieve better quality sleep
  • However, they are likely to drink more and be less aware of their ‘health numbers’

Analysis of UK employee research from Britain’s Healthiest Workplace, in collaboration with Aon plc (NYSE: AON), shows how the C-Suite can lead the way in employee wellbeing to support organisational goals. Of the 8,500 employees in organisations across the UK who took part in Britain’s Healthiest Workplace Survey, leaders – in comparison to others in the organisation – self reported that they are less likely to feel depression, have more productive time and higher levels of job satisfaction. The survey also highlighted what leaders are likely to be doing differently.

In responding to the survey, organisational leaders showed key differences to managers and those in non-supervisory positions, including:

  • The C-Suite has a lower average amount of productive time lost per individual per year due to absence and presenteeism. C-Suite executives reported losing 36.3 days to absence or presenteeism, while line managers with more than 10 employees say they lost 45.5 days and employees in a non-supervisory role reported they lost the most days at 53.6 days.
  • Levels of depression are significantly lower among C-Suite leaders. No C-Suite respondents self-reported that they suffer from depression, in comparison to 11.9 per cent of non-supervisors and 7.3 per cent for managers.
  • 7 per cent of C-Suite executives say they have experienced burnout, in comparison to 24.5 per cent of managers and 18.7 per cent in non-supervisory roles.
  • Leaders also reported higher levels of job satisfaction. Just 19.7 per cent of the C-Suite are dissatisfied with their roles, while 26.5 per cent of line managers and 30.4 per cent of employees in a non-supervisory role stated this was the case.
Dr. Jeanette Cook, principal strategic consultant for Health Solutions at Aon in the UK, said:

“Companies across the UK are struggling to combat absenteeism and presenteeism, yet, interestingly, data from The Britain’s Healthiest Workplace survey found that days lost to these were much lower among the C-suite in comparison to other groups.

“We looked at this data with a lens of understanding what C-suite executives are doing differently, and whether that provided guidance for organisations to better inform their decisions on the health and wellbeing of their overall employee population.”

The survey also identified what C-Suite leaders are doing differently, including:

  • The C-Suite is more active. Just 28.8 per cent of leaders stated they are physically inactive, defined as less than 150 minutes of activity per week. Line managers, on the other hand, showed that 36.8 per cent are physically inactive, while 39.7 per cent of people in non-supervisory roles said the same. This is also reflected in the percentage of employees who are obese, defined as a body mass index greater than or equal to 30, with 18.2 per cent reported by the C-Suite, compared with 28.0 per cent and 24.8 per cent for line managers with more than 10 employees and those in non-supervisory roles, respectively.
  • Leaders also achieved a better quality of sleep. Only 13.6 per cent of leaders self-reported having problems with their quality of sleep, in comparison to 22.1 per cent of line managers and 23.8 per cent of employees in a non-supervisory role.
  • Increased community/social interactions were reported by 47 per cent of the C-Suite, compared with 24.7 per cent for line managers with more than 10 employees and 19.9 per cent of those in a non-supervisory role.
  • The percentage of people reporting having a lot of financial concerns was lowest for C-suite (1.5 per cent), and highest for non-supervisory employees (11.3 per cent).

However, there is room for improvement among the C-Suite:

  • The C-Suite reported drinking more alcohol: 34.8 per cent of C-Suite employees drink more than 14 units of alcohol per week, compared to 22.9 per cent of non-supervisors.
  • The C-Suite was less aware of their health numbers1. Just 13.6 per cent of leaders have measured their blood pressure, glucose or cholesterol in the past 12 months, in comparison to 25.5 per cent of employees in a non-supervisory role.

Dr Jeanette Cook continued:

“It’s important to remember that the C-Suite likely has more autonomy, which can impact their outlook and health and wellbeing actions, but there’s also a story here that if they recognise how their actions help their own health and wellbeing, they will have a better understanding of how to lead the employee wellbeing charge.

“Having leadership that can ‘walk the talk’ on health and wellbeing has been shownto be impactful in creating a sustainable and resilient workforce. This is beyond a necessary duty of care. This is about leadership endorsements, such as showing that it’s OK to take a lunch break, or that meetings need to be held within office hours. Sharing best practices can improve the workplace environment for all and go some way to improve employee wellbeing.”

Aon is the consulting partner to Britain’s Healthiest Workplace survey, which is available here.

More information about how Aon helps businesses build resilient workforces is available here.