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Employers have a true opportunity to strengthen well-being of their employees on a structured programmatic level – those who do so are rewarded with positive business outcomes like greater employee satisfaction and reduced employee turnover.

Employee well-being and the consequence of burnout are often touted as personal and individual issues. Yet, with so many workers citing the same stressors, like the meteoric impact of rising inflation, geopolitical events, inadequate funds for both immediate and long-term needs, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, climate crisis, just to name a few, is it still appropriate to classify well-being as such?

Chart 1: Main factors causing employees stress globally.

Macrosocial stressors
69% - the state of the economy
61% - global political events
59% - COVID-19 pandemic
56% - climate crisis
Personal financial stressors
74% - rising cost of living and inflation
56% - not having a big enough retirement fund
54% - meeting my long-term financial goals
52% - meeting my immediate financial needs

Workers are combatting fatigue with hope.

Perhaps compounded by high stress, fatigue levels have risen this year (35% in 2022 vs. 32% in 2021). Younger workers who may not have had the opportunity to accumulate savings or who may be experiencing financial worries for the first time are reporting greater fatigue than their older counterparts. Forty-one percent of 20-38 year olds reported high fatigue levels compared to only 27% of those age 55+.


Yet, despite an incredible number of stressors and record levels of fatigue, workers continue to report feelings of optimism, with more individuals reporting feelings of calm (41% in 2022 vs. 39% in 2021) and certain segments displaying remarkable levels of hope.

Is employee resilience enough and what does this mean for employers?

However, being hopeful may help but ultimately does not compensate for the impact of negative stressors and subsequent decline of employee well-being, engagement, and productivity. Unfortunately, many employers tend to underestimate or even overlook the role they can play in improving the wellness of their employees.

Fortunately, based on what we learned in last year's Global Employer Survey, employers who feel this way are presented with a fantastic opportunity: employers who are more responsible for employees’ well-being fare better themselves.

For example, employers who feel more responsible for the mental health of their workforce report higher retention rates compared to their peers, and employers who feel more responsible for the financial wellness and mental health of their workforces report their employees are more satisfied on average than their peers.(Source: Fidelity Global Employer Survey, 2022).

What actions could employers consider to help employees deal with stress and improve well-being?

While the individual needs of your employees may differ, there are a few actions all employers may consider when looking to broaden the range of support to strengthen the overall total well-being of all employees.

  1. Have an inclusive lens to improving wellness and overall well-being. Employers should be aware of the demographics within their workforce and what groups are most likely to suffer from stress and fatigue. They should consider these groups carefully when implementing support mechanisms but also consider that everyone needs help maintaining and/or improving their overall well-being.
  2. Take a consistent approach to recognise and reward employees for their contributions. A small budget shouldn’t discourage employers from recognizing hard work on a regular basis.
  3. Offer ongoing learning opportunities for employees at all stages of their career. Improving the density of talent within an organization can be a strong way to boost talent outcomes like attraction, recruitment, and retention.
  4. Sponsor employee resource groups. These groups can champion a more inclusive and supportive workplace for all types of workers.
  5. Support work/life balance by promoting flexibility in the workplace, which is desired by a third of workers we surveyed. How flexibility is practiced may change in different workplaces, departments, teams, individuals, or even time of the year – employers should be flexible when it comes to defining flexibility.
  6. Make manager training a priority. Continue to support and train managers with all changes and well-being strategies that support them and their teams.

Strengthening employee well-being is a large-scale, dynamic, and complex challenge for employers – especially for those with an international footprint. However, by prioritising employee well-being and possibly reducing or even preventing burnout, employers may see positive outcomes like enhanced productivity, lower absenteeism, and reduced costs.

With those kinds of potential outcomes, employers who prioritise their employee well-being end up faring better themselves.

Important information:

The data collection, research, and analysis for the above markets regarding global employees was completed in partnership with Opinium, a strategic insight agency. Data collection took place between August 2022 and September 2022. The sample consisted of respondents with the following qualifying conditions: Aged 20-75; Either they or their partner were employed full-time or part-time; A minimum household income of: Australia: A$45,000 annually; China: RMB 5,000 monthly; Hong Kong: HK$15,000 monthly; USA: US$20,000 annually; Canada: CA$30,000 annually; UK: £10,000 annually; Mexico: $4,500 MXN monthly; Ireland: €20,000 annually; Germany: €20,000 annually; Netherlands: €20,000 annually; France: €20,000 annually; Italy: €15,000 annually; Spain: €15,000 annually; Japan: 3m yen annually; Brazil: R$1,501 monthly; India: 55,001 annually; Singapore: SGD$2,000 monthly.

The data collection, research, and analysis for the above markets regarding multinational firms, also known as global employers, was completed in partnership with Dynata, a third-party market research company, using their global research panel in conjunction with their partner vendors. Data collection took place between 14 December 2021 to 12 January 2022.

This information is intended to be educational and is not tailored to the investment needs of any specific investor. This information does not constitute investment advice and should not be used as the basis for any investment decision, nor should it be treated as a recommendation for any investment or action. Fidelity refers to one or both of Fidelity International and Fidelity Investments. Fidelity International and Fidelity Investments are separate companies that operate in different jurisdictions through their subsidiaries and affiliates. All trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

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