Employees in failing relationships cost employers money. One notable research project estimates that $6 billion is lost by American businesses due to decreased productivity stemming from relationship difficulties. Conversely, employees in successful relationships increase profits for their employers. When companies invest in the physical and relational wellness of their workers, returns on investments can range as high as $6.85 for every dollar spent.
As NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell can tell you, it isn’t easy for an employer to handle off-duty domestic violence situations, but having a plan in place before an incident could go a long way toward decreasing employer liability and not to mention saving lives.
While traditionally the world of business and the world of relationships have remained disconnected, it is clear they have a major impact on each other. Building relational wellness through healthy marriages and families improves a company’s overall financial health, while ignoring these opportunities can decrease a company’s profitability.
Employees in failing relationships cost employers money. There are substantial productivity declines for workers in failing relationships. These workers often have serious health concerns: increased stress and anxiety, increased rates of depression, and increased rates of substance abuse. These workers directly cost companies through higher healthcare expenditures and indirectly through societal effects of broken families.
Conversely, employees in successful relationships increase profits for their employers. These workers are more stable, more committed to their employer, and are often considered more dependable and motivated. Employees in healthy relationships are also physically healthier, experiencing fewer chronic health problems like stress, anxiety, and depression, saving companies money in overall healthcare expenditures.
Relationships are no longer only the realm of clergy, counselors, and EAPs (Employee Assistance Programs). Companies wanting to increase their profitability will do well to realize that business takes place in the boardroom and the bedroom. It is in every company’s best financial interest to understand how marriage and family wellness affect their business and to invest in the promotion of relational wellness.
The owner of a nationwide trucking company laments a sad fact. Every year his HR manager must rehire a new long-haul driver to cover a vacated position. Why did the last driver leave the company? A year on the road had taken its toll on the driver’s family life and led to his divorce – first from his wife, then from his employer.
The CEO of a large Midwestern pharmaceutical sales group knows she can’t maintain optimum productivity from employees in her distribution center and home office. The cause? Every time one of her employees divorces, she loses at least two years of real productivity.
The principal of a large regional human resources consulting firm sees problems for organizations with employees going through divorce. She notes, “How can we expect people to be productive when they’re distracted? When you hire somebody, you’re hiring the whole person...and whenever a person is undergoing divorce, that affects their ability to focus and concentrate in their business.”
Do these stories strike a chord? Are they familiar to you? Even though business and healthy marriages/family relationships can have major impacts on each other, they are more often thought of as completely separate aspects of life.
The business world has traditionally underestimated the impact and value of relational wellness in affecting financial outcomes for Corporate America.
It has been demonstrated over and over through independent study, how employees with healthy relationships can increase long-term profitability of the companies they serve, and how employees with failing relationships can lead to decreased profitability.
There is also an increased sense of duty, responsibility, and scrutiny being placed on employers and what proactive plans and programs are in place.
Business and healthy relationships both seek to create positive interactions that will make their partners happy. They both typically use a team approach that involves working toward common goals. In spite of their commonalities and their mutual impact on each other, businesses do not always recognize the value of healthy relationships or invest in the marital health of their employees.
Relationship problems often cause decreased productivity - Productivity is hurt directly by relationship and marital problems. Failing relationships can lead to affairs in the workplace, and up to 25% of these relationships lead to decreased productivity (Corporate Resource Council, 2002). Divorce can disrupt the productivity of an individual worker for as long as three years. In the year following marital dissolution, employees lost an average of over 168 hours of work time, equivalent to being fully absent four weeks in one calendar year (Mueller, 2005). This means that recently divorced employees are absent from work due to relationship-related reasons for over 8% of their annual time on the job.
Our purpose is to encourage employers to examine the intersection of business and relational wellness and help determine what steps might be taken to foster stronger relationships inside and outside your workplace.
- The 1.2 million annual U.S divorces cost taxpayers an estimated $30 billion.
- $6 billion is lost in productivity from relationship problems and divorce.
- A divorcing employee costs a company $8,000-10,000.
- In the year following marital dissolution, employees lost an average of over 168 hours of work time
- Couples in failing relationships are more likely to resort to physical abuse or violence to resolve tensions at home, and subsequent domestic violence costs Corporate America up to $7.9 million in paid workdays of lost productivity annually.
- In the vicious cycle, the stress from hurting relationships begins to manifest in the workplace, increasing stress there and leading to more stress at home. Depressed employees cost companies $44 billion annually (Stewart, Ricci, Chee, Hahn, & Morganstein, 2003).
You and your employees don't have to be just another statistic. There is help; there is hope. Relational Wellness Is Corporate America's Business!
Positive Benefits of a Relational Wellness Program To Your Company
“You can’t expect people to do well in their business if they’ve got problems at home.” S. Truett Cathy, Founder and Former CEO of Chick-fi l-A
Organizations need to realize that relational wellness affects their financial bottom lines. Promoting healthy relationships can be a major part of any company’s focus – succeeding relationships lead to greater profits.
As noted demographer Bradford Wilcox notes, “Insofar as the family is a major generator of human and social capital, and a major engine of consumption, I think it’s fair to make the case...that strong families play a key role in sustaining long-term economic growth...the size and quality of the workforce, and the profitability of large sectors of the modern economy” (Wilcox, 2011).
With some flexibility in relating to employees and in determining what type of policies fit best with existing corporate culture, organizations can reap incredible benefits in the loyalty of their employees, reduced turnover, increased productivity, and overall morale of the workforce.
Couples in healthy relationships are more loyal and stable employees. Companies that support families through corporate policy are seen as more desirable to work for. In fact, a survey of MBA graduates noted that 70% rated work-family balance as more important to them than salary (Chincilla & Torres, 2006). When considering that it costs 150% of a blue-collar worker’s total benefit package to replace him or her, and 250% of managerial and sales professional benefit packages, it makes a great deal of sense to reduce turnover and invest in employee relationship health (Tangri, 2003). All of these factors contribute to the importance of employees’ relational health to a company’s overall health.
Relationship skills transfer from home to the office. One study of office productivity compared the most productive and least productive departments on a wide measure of relationship skills (Olson, 2006). Despite equally high levels of work stress, the group with greater relationship skills from their couple and family relationships were found to be the most productive.
Couples in healthy relationships increase company profits. In general, happily married employees make a more productive work environment. This environment is wholly conducive to a healthy financial bottom line. When companies consider that happily married workers are healthier, more productive, and result in lowered liabilities, it becomes clear that happily married employees increase profitability.
Prevention programs are a great investment. Federal and state governments spend $1 to promote healthy marriages and relationships for every $1000 spent to deal with the effects of family disintegration (Fagan & Rector, 2000). Many studies have examined the return on investment (ROI) attributed to employer-sponsored programs targeted at reducing stress and increasing workplace health. Estimates of $1.40 - $4.90 saved for every $1.00 spent were found in one analysis of nine companies ranging in size from 50-50,000 employees (Goetzl, Juday & Ozminkowski, 1999).
Other studies have attributed an ROI of up to $6.85 for every dollar invested in employee wellness programs (Tangri, 2003).
How Does Family Matters In The Workplace Partner With Employers to Promote Healthier Relationships and Increase Bottom Line Profits?
To create and implement a relationship-friendly organization requires leadership from the top. It will likely also require an investment of capital into relationship-based programs that can improve the long-term financial benefit to the company. Such an investment should not be seen as an expense but a true investment offering a return.
As employees become newly aware of relationship difficulties that do not resolve themselves overnight, companies will see a positive ROI for the money and time invested into employees’ relationships.
The Family Matters In The Workplace leadership team is uniquely suited to this partnership. Leadership team members include a Marriage & Family Therapist, a Industrial Psychologist, a HR Director and Adjunct Professor, and a Employee Benefits Specialists. This team represents over 40 years of combined experience.
Independent study has found a successful Relational Wellness Program includes the following components:
Know your company’s relational starting point via valid relationship
assessment tool. Without an accurate picture of how your workforce is currently functioning in relationships, the effectiveness of the next steps can not be maximized. By understanding the general and specific relational health of your workforce, you can tailor interventions, track progress, and prove the effectiveness of implemented measures.
Offer relationship education through various event based models to increase overall relational wellness. Consider a variety of marriage and relationship education opportunities to employees that are free or offered at minimal cost. This could involve:
Relationship Enrichment: bring in a monthly speaker, 2-3 hour short courses on relationship skills, day retreats, and company sponsored events conducive to relationship strengthening
Relationship Resources: include relationship libraries in the human resources department, audio recordings for download or check-out, online relationship assessments, and retreats or seminars for employees offered throughout the year.
Solutions to nurture happy, healthy, productive employees one relationship at a time
"As a HR professional, I too have been following current events surrounding domestic abuse and parental abuse cases that have been receiving major media coverage recently. In addition to the horrible human toil these events have taken on the affected families, each situation is also taking a measurable toil on the employers of these individuals. They remind us once again about the interconnectivity of our personal relationships and work environments.
While these high-profile events are being tried in the court of public opinion via social media, national news outlets and the like, thousands of families across the nation, including some of your employees, are dealing with similar situations on a much less public stage. How are their untold relationship struggles impacting the day-to-day work environment? The answer is clear: the mental anguish, physical ailments and resulting productivity declines are having a direct impact on your company's bottom line.
Is your company prepared to proactively protect the company and provide the right resources for your employees? Don't wait until a domestic situation comes calling at the receptionist's desk. Act now to ensure the relational wellness of your employees and, ultimately, the financial health of your company."
- Dr. Demond Spann
As a leadership team, we have seen firsthand the connection between relational wellness and employee productivity:
- Teresa Adams (MAMFT, LPC, NCC) works as a Family Therapist and has received many phone calls from employees struggling to cope with family issues while at work.
- Dr. Demond Spann (M.B.A., D.M.) is an HR consultant who has spent over 16 years working as an HR professional interacting with HR teams and a workforce of 1,600 employees. Dr. Spann works daily to manage work and life balance when life "intrudes" in the workplace.
- Jim Adams, III has spent over 17 years as an Employee Benefits consultant working with businesses to manage benefits costs and to offer benefits plans and programs that meet the needs of both employees and employers.
- Jeremy Adams (B.S., Industrial Psychology) brings both a technical approach and a millenial's perspective on employee culture and behavior to the leadership team.
Family Matters In The Workplace has designed programs and solutions that protect employers, promote relational wellness, and provide employees with practical and personal tools for growth!
Relationship Assessment Tools
Relationship Enrichment - Monthly webinars on topics specific to your employee needs as determined by the relationship assessment
Online Relationship Skill Courses - the courses are fun and informative encouraging employees to want to participate
Relationship Resources - Digital library of over 3500 videos and growing plus the ability to upload company training videos and messages
Digital Library - audio recordings featuring discussions with trained professional counselors
Relational Wellness Email and Text Tips sent directly to employees
Monthly Webinars for HR Managers and Executive Team as well as Employees
Closed Online Communities for Employers and Employees
Human Resource Consulting Services (discounted rates for subscribers)
Companywide Annual Retreats (discounted rates for subscribers)
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