The C-Suite's Role in Well-Being

A recent article on Deloitte’s “Insights” webpage says that “there’s no question that well-being is at the top of the C-suite agenda right now. While the pandemic brought worker safety into the spotlight, there’s also been an increased focus on the overall poor state of workforce well-being and the role that organizations play in determining quality of life for employees and their families.”


In fact, the article pints out, “most companies now recognize the need to invest more in the holistic health of their employees, because it’s clear that workers are fed up – with outdated norms like the nine-to-five schedule, the expectation that they should be ‘always on,’ substandard wages and benefits, and the idea that they should be willing to sacrifice their health and their personal lives for their job.”

C-suite executives themselves are not immune. “Although far less attention has been paid to well-being among the C-suite – how they’re faring, the increased demands placed upon them, and whether these factors are influencing their desire to stay in their leadership roles – some recent research points to increasing quit rates among executives.”

As we’ve seen with the Great Resignation, the article says, “many people are no longer willing to tolerate jobs that leave them unhappy and in a constant state of stress and fatigue. Indeed, there’s been a notable power shift over the past few years, with workers demanding more from their employers than ever before and companies scrambling to adapt their employee value proposition to avoid a looming talent shortage.”  

How can C-suite leaders improve both their employees’ and their own well-being? To understand these issues and trends better, Deloitte partnered with independent research firm Workplace Intelligence to survey 2,100 employees and C-level executives across four countries: the United States, United Kingdom, Canada and Australia. The survey results revealed eye-opening findings, including that nearly 70% of the C-suite are seriously considering quitting for a job that better supports their well-being.

In fact, says Deloitte, “we uncovered that both employees and the C-suite are struggling to prioritize their well-being – and for most people, work is to blame. However, executives are significantly overestimating how well their employees are doing and how supported they feel by their leaders. And there are other disconnects as well, indicating that the C-suite should be doing much more to understand the needs of their workers and demonstrate that they truly care about their holistic well-being.”

Many employees don’t feel that their executives have been supportive during the pandemic—but the C-suite sees things much differently. For example, the research shows, only 47% of workers believe their executives understand how difficult the pandemic has been for them, yet 90% of the C-suite say they do recognize how challenging it’s been. Similarly, while only 53% of employees feel that their company’s executives have been making the best decisions for their well-being during the pandemic, 88% of the C-suite believe their decision-making has been exemplary.

Perhaps most alarmingly, according to the article, “we discovered that only 56% of employees think that their company’s executives care about their well-being. However, the C-suite sees things in a much different light: Ninety-one percent believe that employees feel their leaders care about them. It’s a notable gap, one that the C-suite must work to address.”

For more survey results and ideas on how to approach this issue, read the article at The C-suite and workplace wellness | Deloitte Insights.