Well-being matters – a lot

A recent article from the World Economic Forum by Alexi Robichaux, co-founder and CEO, BetterUp Inc, highlights the importance of well-being in the workplace – modern employees want to know that their work matters, and management is uniquely positioned to provide this sense of mattering to the workforce.


Managers are held accountable for delivering business outcomes and managing high-performing teams. However, delivering on those outcomes has become more challenging than ever.



Volatility and uncertainty across the world, the economy and business have changed worker expectations and the work environment. Employees are managed remotely across time zones and offices. Leaders are asking teams to adapt and do more with less. Critical skills are hard to retain, and needs are constantly changing.


It may sound counter-intuitive, but science tells us that well-being is the core driver of sustainable performance. Modern leaders need to recognize this in order to see their workforces thrive. Poor well-being is associated with additional absenteeism, presenteeism and lost productivity.


Our research found that employees with the best well-being had 56% fewer missed days, were five times more likely to be rated a top performer and had 25% higher productivity and 34% higher engagement.


Managers must invest in building practices, processes and mindsets that support the well-being of their teams to deliver business outcomes. If you invest in people’s well-being proactively, you’ll get ahead of burnout and build resilience before it’s needed, and you’ll support the type of growth necessary for people to perform at their best.


Companies try to address well-being in the workplace in many different ways. Helping employees understand and feel that they matter to the organization is essential to well-being and, by extension, essential to the modern manager’s ability to deliver both organizational and individual performance.


What can the modern manager do?

  • Tell the story. The manager should be able to tell a compelling “mattering” story. Why did a project or series of actions matter? What will be the ongoing results of that work? Where might it be relevant in the future? What did the team gain from doing that work?
  • Deepen understanding of the business. Understanding how and why one’s work matters require understanding what drives value within the business. Managers typically have broader visibility into how the business works and what it needs most at any moment. They can share this perspective and how the work fits within it while also helping employees deepen their understanding.
  • Formalize project endings. Even, or especially for projects disbanded prematurely, managers help team members make sense of where they are, how they got there and what they achieved for the organization and for personal growth and career goals. Recognize achievements and the possibility of returning to ideas in a new way in the future.
  • Be systematic. Include mattering in every performance review and critical touch-points throughout the year.
  • Be specific and get personal. A generic mattering story that doesn’t touch on specific actions actually tells people they don’t matter. Even better, couch actions and impacts in a way that reflects the individual’s values or goals.


Given the degree to which a sense of mattering supports the levers of well-being and performance, cultivating mattering at work is truly a meta-skill for modern management in a fragmented world.

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