The Well-Being Journal

The Gallup-Healthways Global Well-Being Index™ in the News

Madison Agee

In September, the inaugural Gallup-Healthways Global Well-Being Index was released. A definitive measure and empiric database of real-time changes in well-being, the Global Well-Being Index provides insight into how people in 135 countries around the world perceive their own well-being.

Below, we’ve collected highlights of the news coverage:

USA Today: “USA is 12th, Panama 1st, in global well-being poll”

In some cases, [Peter Choueiri, president of Healthways International] says, results suggest a mismatch between perceptions and reality … Knowing about such mismatches, he says, can help governments, employers and insurers design culturally sensitive interventions. “What’s the happiest place on earth? It’s not the U.S., survey finds

Improvements in a nation’s well-being scores can translate into economic advances, said Peter Chouieri, president of Healthways International.

For instance, “if you raise well-being by one point only, you have a 1 percent reduction in the likelihood of incurring healthcare cost and a 2.2 percent reduction in the likelihood of hospital admission,” Choueiri said. “A 10 percent improvement in well-being translates into 5 percent fewer unscheduled absences and 24 percent lower [rates of employees showing up at work when sick].”

The Economist: “Thriving or surviving?”

So the irony is that although emerging-market economies look robust and have enjoyed impressive track records, their citizens do not feel they are benefiting from its fruits.

The Huffington Post: “The World’s Best (and Worst) Regions for Well-Being”

"The global well-being index comes at the perfect time,” Peter Choueiri, president of Healthways International, a health and well-being improvement company, told The Huffington Post. “Well-being has become more and more a topic of discussion, and it's an increasing priority for the public and private sector worldwide.”

Business Insider: “The Top 10 Countries Where People Are Thriving”

The state of a country’s well-being says a lot about its prosperity and progress.

LiveScience: “World’s Happiest Country Is … (Hint: It Has a Canal)”

Most measurements of national performance focus on countries’ income, but measures such as health, education and security also contribute to well-being, experts say. “When we ask people to think about how their lives are going, to report on their daily emotions, and to tell us about their health, we gain a much broader picture of their well-being than can be inferred from traditional economic surveys,” Angus Deaton, a scientist at Gallup and a professor of economics and international affairs at Princeton University, wrote about the Gallup report.

The Telegraph: Brits feels financially secure but don’t much love their jobs”

“Because subjective well-being can correlate with outcomes such as healthcare costs, productivity, and business performance, world leaders should consider well-being, in addition to objective measures such as GDP, to provide a better picture of progress toward specific policy and development goals,” [Dan] Witters [of Gallup] said.

Measuring Wellness Programs’ Efficacy and ROI

Madison Agee

A feature from the September 2014 issue of Human Resource Executive highlights a couple of important points as employers assess the value of a wellness program:

  • Wellness programs should look beyond the traditional laser focus on physical health and address the other four elements that make up an individual’s overall well-being: a sense of purpose, social relationships, financial stress and connection to community.
  • Although reduction of healthcare costs is indeed an important value metric, employers should also evaluate their programs’ ability to improve employee productivity and reduce absenteeism, as well as other metrics.

According to the article, more employers are measuring value in this broader way. Findings from a Working Well survey reveal that organizations are considering outcomes in areas such as safety, productivity and reduced absences in addition to medical costs, while 65 percent of employers surveyed say that wellness programs are extremely or very important for attracting and retaining employees.

The article also describes the importance of having an accurate tool for assessing and measuring employee well-being, such as the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index®. “Assessing employees' well-being, a more holistic view of wellness than just the traditional measures of physical health and medical-cost reductions, will give organizations greater insight into the overall health of their workforce,” says Janet Calhoun, senior vice president of strategy, innovations and solutions at Healthways.

Read the full article here.