The Current State
We have the highest rates of marriage and divorce in the world. According to the 2003 Census Bureau, annually, there are about 2.3 million marriages and about 1.2 million divorces in the US. Think of all the people those divorces affect. You know some of them, and you know how destructive the whole divorce process can be.
Divorce effects the workforce - a real concern for management. For example, in the year following divorce, employees lose an average of over 168 hours of work time – an equivalent of being fully absent four weeks in one calendar year. In addition, before divorce, high marital stress is associated with increases in work loss days – a person with marital distress will lose more than 38 more days of work per year than someone with average marital stress. Can employers prevent this sort of negative impact?
Until now, we all thought that marriages and relationships were the responsibility of the couples themselves, clergy, coaches, and healthcare professionals. However, with companies taking on more of the burden of healthcare costs, plus the loss of productivity due to relationship stress, business owners and corporate executives are beginning to take an active part in promoting happy, healthy relationships and marriages for themselves and their employees.
Investing in, and building direct and indirect relationship wellness programs improve a company’s overall financial health, while ignoring these opportunities can decrease a company’s productivity and profitability.
Workers in Unhappy Marriages
Workers in failing relationships often have serious health concerns – like stress, anxiety, depression, and substance abuse. We don’t need to tell you that these directly effect healthcare costs and the bottom line.
Indirectly, relationship problems and divorce impact overall worker productivity more frequently than death in the family, serious illness, problems with children, substance abuse, and depression. In addition, an inefficient and unprofitable work environment results from the many factors experienced by employees in failing relationships: increased absenteeism and presenteeism (being physically present but mentally absent), decreased health, increased anxiety, and stress.
Presenteeism can affect an employee for days or longer causing decreased productivity and profits. Lost productivity on the average is a half times greater then that lost to absenteeism. The Harvard Business Review estimates that presenteeism costs American Business $150 billion annually in direct and indirect costs. (Dixon, Weighing the Costs of Presenteeism, The Chief Executive, June 2005)
Workers in Happy Marriages
We can conjecture that employees who enjoy relational health at home, in their marriage, and among their peers are more productive, more effective team members and make better leaders. They are happier, healthier, more confident, positive, and motivated.
Studies show that individuals in happy and successful relationships have greater skills in areas such as communication, flexibility, closeness, personality compatibility, and conflict resolution. The connection between these skills and the workplace are obvious – and are worth cultivating.
According to a 2006 study, when dual-income couples are happy in marriage, they are more loyal to their employers, thus turnover is lowered. The cost-saving benefits of not having to train new employees leads to greater profitability.
We found several studies that break down the returns on investment (ROI) in employee wellness programs. While most companies report initial losses because of having to find the “right fit” for their employees, long-term results show savings of $1.40 - $4.90 per every dollar spent, and an ROI of up to $6.85 for every dollar invested in employee relationship wellness programs.
When your company invests in such relationship wellness programs, like those that “I-TO-WE” Relationship Coaching offers, you will benefit by greater loyalty of your employees, reduced turnover, more effective teamwork, increased sales, productivity and positive morale of the workforce. Who wouldn’t want that?
“I-TO-WE”™ Relationship Coaching has done some research into the effects personal relationships have on the world of work. It may seem obvious that happy, healthy workers are more productive, efficient and effective team members but what makes them happy and healthy? And, what business is it of business?
©2007 – All rights reserved – Glenn Cohen - “I-TO-WE”™ Relationship Coaching / www.i-to-we-relationship-coaching.com
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