A 5x return on investment in year one – it’s as elusive as a unicorn and
equally improbable. Yet it’s entirely possible if, over the next year,
you begin to proactively look after employee wellbeing and team morale.
Putting numbers on what is intangible is, by nature, an estimation
compared to other financial drivers within a business. But that doesn’t
mean it can’t be done. At Friday Pulse we’ve done just that – estimated
the return on investment in wellbeing. And when the potential returns
are so significant, it shows the investment is worthwhile.
Why is employee morale important?
In our last post, we outlined the cost and impact of low team
creativity, and innovation are all undermined when employees are
struggling or disengaged. Recently, we created our Resilience
Calculator to help
identify the financial impact team morale and resilience can have on a
company in terms of reduced productivity and innovation, as well as the
effect of increased staff turnover and sickness absence. We know, from
tracking weekly employee wellbeing numbers, that low team morale can
amount in losses of approx. $1,000,000 a year (based on a 200-person
business – the average company size in the U.K. and the U.S.).
How do you mitigate this loss? You improve your workplace culture.
What it costs to invest in wellbeing
It’s important to recognize that improving culture isn’t about paying
people more money – it’s about consistently listening to people,
having strong team communication, and recognizing individual and team
efforts. These activities don’t cost money, but they do require an
empathetic approach, time and energy.
So, the question to ask is “how much time does it take to create real
relationships?”. Creating a better culture requires better relationships
yet these don’t spring up overnight, especially if the culture hasn’t
been supportive in the past.
Investing in empathy
Empathy is part of the injection of capital your workplace needs to
become more productive, creative and successful. It’s built at a team
level by systematically setting aside time to listen, reflect and
collectively respond to whatever is happening in the workplace (whether
in person or remotely). As that happens, workplace culture gradually becomes more
empathetic and thereby improves.
Investing in team meetings
One proven way of developing empathy is by having a team meeting at the
start of the working week. In this meeting, teams can reflect together
on the events of the previous week – what went well, and what didn’t –
and not just detail upcoming assignments.
It’s crucial to acknowledge and appreciate people’s efforts and listen
to their frustrations. In this way, team members and leaders get to
know each other better and become more supportive. The meeting sets the
tone for the week ahead, in the way people work individually and as a
So, how do you build empathy and improve your culture? Invest in
this weekly check-in process. It’s tough to develop and maintain levels of team
morale without it, and the commitment is just half an hour a
week, every week. The investment for a more productive and happier
week is the time it takes to have this ‘check-in’ process.
What is the ROI on investing in team morale?
Improving team morale results in changes in employee wellbeing. Our
estimates indicate that a modest and attainable increase in employee
wellbeing can translate to a 7.5% increase in productivity. With that in
mind, let’s look at some of the figures behind investing in morale and
- Time investment: half an hour for a team meeting is 1.25% of a 40-hour
- Productivity gain from a half-point increase (on a five-point scale)
The cash equivalent of time investment and productivity gain is
calculated by being multiplied by the cost of employment. In an ROI
calculation, the precise cost of employment is not necessary as you
divide one by the other.
ROI = \ / \
**(7.5 – 1.25) / 1.25 = 5**
And that’s how we know a company investing in team morale and employee
wellbeing can reap a 5x return on investment.
We're here to help
During this pandemic period, my team and I are committed to helping
businesses build better work cultures and improve employee morale.
That’s why, we are offering companies and teams (50 – 1,000
employees) free access to our Friday Pulse people platform for 12 weeks.
For more information on how we can help your organization weather the
crisis please contact Clive Steer, Head of Helping People,