In today's labour market, employee wellbeing has become a critical factor for organisational success. Our 2023 Workforce Trends Report — Workplace Wellbeing Index illustrates how businesses that are not able to deliver effective and meaningful wellbeing programs to diverse groups of employees run the risk of losing talent, productivity and market share to competitors.

However, despite this evidence, many organisations and executives continue to resist or ignore the importance of employee wellbeing. This resistance may stem from a significant gap in experience between employees and decision-makers at the executive table, leading to what we call "The Executive Blind Spot."

Understanding the gap

Our findings show stark differences in the employee experience between team members and senior leaders/executives. Executives tend to report more positive sentiments across key metrics compared to other levels of the business.

Executives are on average 1.4x more positive about key aspects of their life and work environment.

If executives remain unaware of this bias or fail to see beyond their own experience, they will struggle to realise the benefits of prioritising employee wellbeing. To make effective decisions, executives need to check their perspectives and consider how their own experiences may be influencing their judgments.

Earlier this year Dr. James Allen, Gallagher's Director People Experience and Innovation and lead researcher for our Workforce Trends Report spoke to Helen Trinca from The Australian.1

"This poses a top-down issue where junior and mid-level employees may be calling for organisational improvements, but senior staff don't see it as necessary and either don't see the signs or do see the signs but don't action change."

Executives report 81% higher intention to stay while team members report 62%.

The importance of senior leadership support

Gaining support and investment from senior leadership is crucial for fostering a culture of employee wellbeing. Respondents listed leadership support as one of the top three barriers to implementing wellbeing strategies in an organisation, with the other two being budget and differing priorities.

Leadership support is top three barriers to implementing workplace wellbeing strategies.

While historically, wellbeing has been viewed as a discretionary spend, increasing legislative obligations on employers make a business case that wellbeing is no longer a luxury but rather a necessity. This increases the value of overcoming a lack of leadership support. The answer here is to adopt a data-led approach to design meaningful strategies that led to measurable improvement in employee wellbeing. As evidenced in the 2023 Workforce Trends Report — Workplace Wellbeing Index, organisations that adopt this approach will achieve significant improvement in key performance metrics.

How Gallagher can help

One of the biggest mistakes organisations can make is having executives and senior leaders design and decide on wellbeing programs without understanding genuine employee feedback. Often an external expert can help provide trust and credibility to the feedback process as well as interpret data and help design employee wellbeing programs that are unbiased and a best fit for the organisation as a whole.

To read more about 'The Executive Blind Spot' and other practical insights on the Australian employment landscape, download our 2023 Workforce Trends Report.



1Trinca, Helen 'Gallagher research finds workers want more than a good salary', The Australian, May 2, 2023