Healthy companies, we know, dramatically outperform their peers. Moreover, companies that work on their health, we've found, not only achieve measurable improvements in their organizational well-being but demonstrate tangible traction gains in a shorter time frame.
This holds for companies across B2B and B2C sectors and regions, as well as in contexts ranging from early-stage startups to high-performing, late venture-funded companies.
Our recommendation is clear: start managing your fast-scaling startup's well-being as rigorously as you do your Go To Market or Content Strategy, providing pathways for leaders and employees at all levels to optimize your company's health.
We think of employee health as more than a startup culture or kombucha at lunch. The organization should align around a mission regarding well-being, execute that mission effectively, and renew itself through better employee performance and wellness. Put another way; wellness should be a growth lever for your organization, no matter the stage or success of the company.
Over the past seven years, we've researched the health of hundreds of SaaS companies and tens of thousands of employees. We aggregated pulse surveys and questionnaires on three key wellness metrics.
Then, we assigned scores to each metric, followed by a composite Z score, allowing a company to see how it compares to other B2B and SaaS companies within the data set.
Research tells us that there is a strong correlation between wellness and revenue. But the latest research is more dynamic: it highlights the potential for the vast majority of companies to improve their health and how this can correspond with enhanced performance.
Findings include the following:
Given all the data that supports working on employee well-being, startups' obsession with growth and that subsequent funding round alone continues to puzzle us. Of course, founders should push growth as humanly possible, but why not do the same for their company's health?
In fact, why not measure employee well-being frequently throughout the year, since it's a leading performance indicator, whereas company financial growth can lag somewhat?
Similarly, why do most employee-performance conversations focus on financial targets and not on whether employee health contributes to company growth?
Of course, as founders, we want a healthy organization. But we worry about how long it will take to realize benefits from efforts to improve employee health and distract people from other growth-focused priorities.
We believe these concerns are misplaced.
Just as anyone can run a marathon or 5k if they train correctly, startups can also be conditioned to improve employee health in a shorter time—and those improvements can reinforce those growth-critical priorities.
This focus starts with making the quest for employee health an integral part of your company roadmap. Founders must consider themselves champions of this new mission, not passive bystanders. Then it means integrating wellness metrics into your monthly and quarterly reviews, with data to show how both are trending versus benchmarks and company growth. Tying these two data points together works to create awareness around well-being and how it directly impacts company performance.
So how do you achieve employee well-being quickly? In our experience, there are three areas founders must invest in to build a healthy, performance-driven company (besides, of course, ensuring that they are fully aligned on the growth strategy).
The first, most crucial step, which will outline in detail, is understanding where you are at as a team today and what needs to be done to improve your team's current readiness to perform.
This first step can be accomplished using our free Diagnostic survey, LEON Insight®. This unique diagnostic model consists of twenty-five questions, over three minutes, assessing twenty-eight individual and company metrics, helping you understand key engagement and well-being statistics over time, including sleep, mental health, capacity, resourcing, and teamwork.
From there, it's about moving to adopt the rollout of a continuous diagnostic model as quickly as possible and leveraging LEON as your de-facto Wellness Intelligence leader.
We built LEON Insight® to accomplish one primary goal; to create an always-on, always-learning, no-touch survey tool that works to diagnose short and long-term issues before they become a problem. In addition, we wanted Insight® to feel conversational and like talking to your general practitioner or the doctor you grew up with at home (did someone say not an NPS in sight?). Finally, we understood that, for the most part, "employee surveys sucked" for all parties, and we set out to fix them.
LEON Insight® works by using something we call "Wellness Intelligence." Wellness Intelligence is the name of the algorithm we use to capture and quantify data over time. It uses geometric scoring and non-linear answers to create a branching logic for every employee in your organization. In short, no two employees' experiences will ever be the same regarding the cadence of when they are surveyed and what questions they are asked.
Also, how an employee responds will be weighted against multiple metrics and sub-metrics to help us diagnose overarching issues within your organization, and set with answer half-lives, so we can continually enrich data as needed.
And do you want to know the best part? Since we've built the most dynamic people diagnostic tool on the market and a Wellness Intelligence® product that smartly "does it for you", you don't have to do a thing; all you need to do is upload your team roster via CSV, and LEON Insight® takes it from there. So now you can focus on your team, product, and customers, while we worry about well-being and engagement.
Companies often tell us that, while employee wellness sounds like a great idea or "nice to have", it doesn't feel necessary to achieve their growth goals. They also worry that it's going to be too much work. LEON solved that issue. With LEON managing your complete employee well-being operation, you can focus on growth all you want. At the same time, we take on all of the adoption and engagement responsibilities — in most cases, a bi-weekly overview of your account is all that's needed.
Employee performance is about optimizing your people while you optimize your business. It's about creating a company mission in a way that inspires employees to act in their best interests. But, above all, it's about caring for the well-being of the most significant business growth lever you have, your team members.