Commission on Excellence and Innovation in Health

Measure what matters to create a culture of workplace wellbeing

25 Sept 2023

Our strate­gic approach to pur­su­ing excel­lence in work­place well­be­ing across the South Aus­tralian health­care sec­tor is under­pinned by devel­op­ing an evi­dence-based frame­work. This frame­work recog­nis­es that organ­i­sa­tion­al, phys­i­cal and indi­vid­ual fac­tors need to be simul­ta­ne­ous­ly con­sid­ered and addressed to cre­ate a healthy, safe and thriv­ing workplace. 

A crit­i­cal suc­cess fac­tor is ensur­ing action is dri­ven by data and evi­dence, as reflect­ed in one of our key pil­lars of cre­at­ing action­able data insights for work­place wellbeing. 

In 2022, we mapped the cur­rent state of work­place well­be­ing cul­ture across the SA health sys­tem through talk­ing with key stake­hold­ers and review­ing evi­dence. This iden­ti­fied the oppor­tu­ni­ty for our health­care sys­tem (and the organ­i­sa­tions with­in it) to work towards a more sus­tain­able and con­sis­tent way of bench­mark­ing, track­ing, and dri­ving action to improve health­care work­force wellbeing. 

Mea­sur­ing work­place and work­er well­be­ing can pro­vide val­ue beyond gen­er­at­ing a snap­shot of an organisation’s cur­rent state. It can help iden­ti­fy at risk’ work­groups to tar­get improve­ment efforts; assist in the iden­ti­fi­ca­tion of casu­al fac­tors and appro­pri­ate solu­tions, and can sup­port trans­paren­cy and account­abil­i­ty (sim­i­lar to patient safe­ty and clin­i­cal outcomes). 

Organ­i­sa­tion­al vs indi­vid­ual well­be­ing indicators

There are a range of met­rics that can pro­vide valu­able insights into the well­be­ing and pro­duc­tiv­i­ty of your organ­i­sa­tion, teams and indi­vid­ual workers. 

Organ­i­sa­tion­al indi­ca­tors are the sys­tems, process­es, pro­grams, poli­cies and envi­ron­men­tal work­place fac­tors that impact well­be­ing and cul­ture. They can be mea­sured through an organ­i­sa­tion­al assessment/​audit process by a key per­son with­in an organisation. 

Team indi­ca­tors relate to local work sys­tems and process­es, inter­per­son­al rela­tion­ships and lead­er­ship behav­iours that impact well­be­ing. These can be mea­sured through psy­choso­cial risk assess­ment tools, staff per­cep­tion sur­veys or focus groups to iden­ti­fy spe­cif­ic haz­ards and risks. Lead­er­ship behav­iour and per­for­mance assess­ment are also use­ful met­rics to sup­port team wellbeing. 

Indi­vid­ual well­be­ing indi­ca­tors relate to the health and well­be­ing sta­tus of indi­vid­ual work­ers. These are usu­al­ly col­lect­ed by means of self-assess­ment relat­ing to one or more domains of health and well­be­ing (e.g. phys­i­cal health, chron­ic dis­ease risk/​lifestyle behav­iours, men­tal dis­tress, burnout/​fatigue, pro­fes­sion­al ful­fill­ment, work – life inte­gra­tion, etc.). 

Ide­al­ly, organ­i­sa­tions should use val­i­dat­ed ques­tion sets or tools shown to pro­vide met­rics cor­re­lat­ed to the out­comes of inter­est. Choos­ing met­rics with bench­marks to for com­par­i­son is also beneficial. 

Data col­lec­tion

Before under­tak­ing any new data col­lec­tion, it is impor­tant to con­sid­er what data you already have, and where the gaps are. Exist­ing sources of data may include: 

  • work­ers com­pen­sa­tion claim data 
  • sick leave
  • turnover rates
  • results from pre­vi­ous cul­ture surveys 
  • report­ed haz­ards and inci­dents cap­tured in your safe­ty man­age­ment sys­tem and work­site audits 
  • patient safe­ty and qual­i­ty outcomes 
  • con­sumer feedback 
  • per­for­mance review com­ple­tion rates 

Data col­lec­tion and analy­sis can be chal­leng­ing so we have cre­at­ed a fact sheet includ­ing trou­bleshoot­ing com­mon issues such as pick­ing an appro­pri­ate tool, enhanc­ing par­tic­i­pa­tion rates, or over­com­ing sur­vey fatigue.”

We are work­ing with the SA pub­lic health sec­tor to iden­ti­fy appro­pri­ate met­rics to mea­sure and track organ­i­sa­tion­al and indi­vid­ual lev­els of well­be­ing across the sys­tem. It is a key step in ensur­ing work­force well­be­ing is pri­ori­tised and mech­a­nisms for report­ing and account­abil­i­ty mea­sures sup­port a healthy and safe work­ing environment.

For more infor­ma­tion, see Strength­en­ing Work­place Well­be­ing.