Digital path to work engagement? Study of the linkage between employee well-being and productivity in a financial service company

Salla Ahola, Juha Eskelinen, Kirsi Heikkilä-Tammi, Markku Kuula, Riitta-Liisa Larjovuori, Sanna Nuutinen

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned reportProfessional

Abstract

The aim of this study is to provide knowledge on how to improve productivity through well-being at work in the Finnish financial industry and the entire service sector. We examined the relationship between employee well-being and productivity at Nordea, a leading Nordic financial services group. Nordea Life Assurance and Nordea Personal Banking in Finland participated in the research project.
We surveyed employee well-being at work and employees' experiences of work during May–June 2017. In addition, we measured the productivity of 300 customer service professionals from March 2017 to February 2018. The productivity analysis was based on the employees' cumulative working hours and outcomes from the customer interaction. The employee productivity indicators were combined with the survey data.
The results confirmed that employees who frequently experienced work engagement were more productive than those who only seldom experienced engagement towards their work. Employees who often experienced emotional exhaustion were less productive in their work than those who experienced exhaustion only occasionally. The positive link between well-being at work and productivity was manifested in two of the three main groups of customer service professionals. In these groups, employees who were only occasionally exhausted were approximately 25% more productive than employees who experienced exhaustion often.
We also studied the drivers of employee well-being. Techno-overload increased emotional exhaustion and also had a negative impact on employee productivity. A positive attitude towards technology was associated with the experience of work engagement. We also found that open communication between employees and management was positively related to employee well-being at work and productivity. When the level of employee well-being and its impact on employee productivity are known, the business case for improvements can be defined. This provides the basis for the systematic management and development of well-being at work.
Our study emphasizes the importance of an interactive and open leadership culture. To ensure high levels of well-being and productivity, it is essential to ensure that the employees are provided with adequate opportunities to develop their skills when digitalization shapes the ways of working. This multidisciplinary research was carried out in close cooperation between the researchers, the employer, and representatives of the employees, and it engaged both the management and the employees in the research activities. To the best of our knowledge, it is the first study to combine objective employee productivity measurement and employee well-being in the financial sector.
The aim of this study is to provide knowledge on how to improve productivity through well-being at work in the Finnish financial industry and the entire service sector. We examined the relationship between employee well-being and productivity at Nordea, a leading Nordic financial services group. Nordea Life Assurance and Nordea Personal Banking in Finland participated in the research project.
We surveyed employee well-being at work and employees' experiences of work during May–June 2017. In addition, we measured the productivity of 300 customer service professionals from March 2017 to February 2018. The productivity analysis was based on the employees' cumulative working hours and outcomes from the customer interaction. The employee productivity indicators were combined with the survey data.
The results confirmed that employees who frequently experienced work engagement were more productive than those who only seldom experienced engagement towards their work. Employees who often experienced emotional exhaustion were less productive in their work than those who experienced exhaustion only occasionally. The positive link between well-being at work and productivity was manifested in two of the three main groups of customer service professionals. In these groups, employees who were only occasionally exhausted were approximately 25% more productive than employees who experienced exhaustion often.
We also studied the drivers of employee well-being. Techno-overload increased emotional exhaustion and also had a negative impact on employee productivity. A positive attitude towards technology was associated with the experience of work engagement. We also found that open communication between employees and management was positively related to employee well-being at work and productivity. When the level of employee well-being and its impact on employee productivity are known, the business case for improvements can be defined. This provides the basis for the systematic management and development of well-being at work.
Our study emphasizes the importance of an interactive and open leadership culture. To ensure high levels of well-being and productivity, it is essential to ensure that the employees are provided with adequate opportunities to develop their skills when digitalization shapes the ways of working. This multidisciplinary research was carried out in close cooperation between the researchers, the employer, and representatives of the employees, and it engaged both the management and the employees in the research activities. To the best of our knowledge, it is the first study to combine objective employee productivity measurement and employee well-being in the financial sector.
Original languageFinnish
Place of PublicationHelsinki
PublisherAalto University
Number of pages92
ISBN (Electronic)978-952-60-8262-2
ISBN (Print)978-952-60-8261-5
Publication statusPublished - 24 Oct 2018
MoE publication typeD4 Published development or research report or study

Publication series

NameAalto-yliopiston julkaisusarja CROSSOVER
PublisherAalto-yliopisto
No.8
Volume2018
ISSN (Print)1799-4950
ISSN (Electronic)1799-4969

Keywords

  • Employee well-being
  • Productivity
  • Digitalization
  • Leadership
  • Financial sector

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  • Cite this

    Ahola, S., Eskelinen, J., Heikkilä-Tammi, K., Kuula, M., Larjovuori, R-L., & Nuutinen, S. (2018). Digisti työn imuun? Tutkimus työhyvinvoinnin ja tuottavuuden yhteydestä finanssialan palveluyrityksessä. (Aalto-yliopiston julkaisusarja CROSSOVER; Vol. 2018, No. 8). Helsinki: Aalto University.