Why should HR professionals care if employees are flourishing?

Simply put, flourishing employees make life easier for everyone. Below are several functions most commonly associated with the human resources department, and informative comparisons between flourishers and non-flourishers.

1) Recruitment / retention of talent

On a scale of 0 to 10, where 0 = “the worst possible work situation” and 10 = “the best,” flourishers are twice as likely than non-flourishers to rate their work situation an 8 or higher, and their degree of control over their work situation an 8 or higher.

Flourishers are more likely to report they receive the information, help and support they need from their immediate supervisor. All or most of the time, they’re:

  • twice as likely to indicate they have enough time to get everything done at work.
  • report that their job provides them with a variety of things that interests them.

Non-flourishers, however, are far more likely to report job dissatisfaction. 

Consider these facts:


All data points quoted on this page are from the MIDUS II study. Click here to learn more about that study.

Ryff, Carol, David M. Almeida, John S. Ayanian, Deborah S. Carr, Paul D. Cleary, Christopher Coe, Richard Davidson, Robert F. Krueger, Marge E. Lachman, Nadine F. Marks, Daniel K. Mroczek, Teresa Seeman, Marsha Mailick Seltzer, Burton H. Singer, Richard P. Sloan, Patricia A. Tun, Maxine Weinstein, and David Williams. National Survey of Midlife Development in the United States (MIDUS II), 2004-2006.
ICPSR04652-v6. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2012-04-18.

Bottom line – Flourishers consistently report higher job satisfaction – key to retention.

2) Employee relations

Another important factor is stress. We all know that stress isn’t some new concept in the workplace, but the levels of stress appear to be on the rise, with some very serious potential tolls. According to the CEB’s 2013 CLC Human Resources High Performance Survey, a full 55% of 23,000+ employees surveyed worldwide indicated “I cannot handle the stress of my job for much longer.”

That stress can come in difficult-to-handle forms. For example, compared to flourishers, non-flourishers are twice as likely to report having serious ongoing problems getting along with someone at work. Depressed employees are 3.9 times more likely to report such an ongoing issue.

Unfortunately, for some the stress doesn’t end when the workday ends. Non-flourishers are 2.9 times more likely, and depressed employees a whopping 7.6 times more likely to report that stress at work makes them irritable at home all or most of the time. Not exactly a formula for good things…

Likely every HR professional can offer accounts of employee : supervisor conflict. Consider what can happen when an employee doesn’t particularly care for their supervisor.

The good news is that flourishers are twice as likely:

  • to feel high obligation (9 & 10 on scale of 0-10) to work hard even if they don’t like or respect their employer or supervisor.
  • to indicate they feel substantial obligation to do more than most people would at their kind of job.

Bottom line – flourishers get along with others and intentionally work hard.

3) Training / development

Flourishers are life-long learners. They’re also twice as likely to report they learn new things at work all or most of the time, compared to non-flourishers and depressed employees.

Research has confirmed flourishers get “more bang for the buck” when learning something new, teaching someone, and when they’re helping others. Who doesn’t want to work with someone who goes out of their way to learn, share and help?  You can read the science behind this here.

Bottom line – flourishers love to learn, teach and help others – key to attracting and retaining top talent.


Learn more about the incredible opportunities for success when employees are flourishing, starting with the Big 3.