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.
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.