How can organisations minimise the ripple effect of poor employee wellbeing?

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In this final instalment of our four-part series discussing the ripple effect of poor employee wellbeing, we provide organisations with suggested next steps for how they can minimise the impact of the ripple effect on both workforce health and lost productivity.

In short – in addition to acknowledging, tracking, and better quantifying the hidden cost of lost productivity (see our previous article) – organisations can make a meaningful difference by: (a) helping to improve the wellbeing of their employees; and (b) helping to improve the wellbeing of the family members and close friends around them.

Help improve the wellbeing of employees

“Workers’ wellbeing is a key factor in determining an organisation’s long-term effectiveness. Many studies show a direct link between productivity levels and the general health and wellbeing of the workforce”, says the International Labour Organization (ILO).

Yet, many employees are not well, which is causing a ripple effect across workplaces and costing billions of dollars each year in lost workforce participation and productivity.

Suggestions for how to improve the wellbeing of employees include:

Cultivate a culture of wellbeing

Create a safe and healthy workplace

  • Minimise physical and psychological health and safety risks (see ISO 45001 and ISO 45003).
  • Design jobs appropriately, with consideration for personal control, autonomy, decision-making, and change management. 
  • Implement formal policies and user-friendly processes that provide safe and healthy workplaces.

Implement meaningful support systems

  • Redesign workplace wellbeing programs to ensure employees have 24/7 access to safety, medical, and mental health care.
  • Offer psychological first aid (PFA) after critical events, rather than psychological debriefing
  • Prioritise prevention and early intervention via proactive notifications and early-warning data. 
  • Improve contingency planning to reduce the burden when covering for colleagues.
  • Offer personalised and comprehensive support for employees returning to work after absences.

Help improve the wellbeing of family members and close friends

Old-style leaders argue it is not their responsibility to improve the wellbeing of family members (and friends). The best leaders take a more active care approach. They recognise that an employee’s family (and friends) form an essential first line of support that can reduce the cost and impact of the ripple effect. 

Suggestions for how to improve the wellbeing of family members and close friends include:

Broaden social invitations

  • Invite family members and close friends to work tours and social activities, to help build empathy, social connection, and stronger relationships with colleagues.

Extend meaningful support

  • Provide 24/7 access to medical, mental health, and safety support to family members so they can access care when they need it.
  • Consider enhancing employee leave policies (e.g. time in lieu, parental leave, carer’s leave, childcare assistance, financial assistance, transport assistance, and domestic and family violence leave).


Poor employee wellbeing can cause organisations to:

  • Incur additional costs
    • Payments to substitute workers (often on a more expensive wage);
    • Increased workers’ compensation premiums;
    • Higher outlays for employee support programs; and
    • Replacement of employees (e.g. recruitment, onboarding, and training).
  • Lose revenue
    • Reduced output;
    • Missed deadlines; and
    • Lost business opportunities.
  • Expose themselves to increased risks
    • Lowered morale and team disharmony;
    • Loss of goodwill regarding company culture; and
    • Increased physical and psychological health and safety risks.

To minimise the impact of the ripple effect, organisations can:

  • Help improve the wellbeing of their employees
    • Provide leadership support;
    • Create safe and healthy workplaces; and
    • Build comprehensive and proactive support systems.
  • Help improve the wellbeing of family members and close friends
    • Broaden social invitations; and
    • Extend meaningful support.

Missed an earlier article in this series?

If you missed any of the previous articles in this four-part series about the hidden cost of the ripple effect of poor employee wellbeing, here are some quick links for you:

How can poor employee wellbeing cause a ripple effect in the workplace?

Why does poor employee wellbeing affect multiple workplaces?

What is the ripple effect costing organisations?

Download our new report

Alternatively, to access the content from all four articles, we invite you to download our full download our full report, which aims to help you:

  • Understand the ripple effect of poor employee wellbeing;
  • See the ripple effect in action;
  • Calculate the hidden cost of lost productivity; and
  • Minimise the impact on your organisation.

Want to learn more?

For more information about how Sonder can help you rethink your employee and/or student support, we invite you to contact us here.

About Sonder

Sonder is an Active Care technology company that helps organisations improve the wellbeing of their people so they perform at their best. Our mobile app provides immediate, 24/7 support from a team of safety, medical, and mental health professionals - plus onsite help for time-sensitive scenarios. Accredited by the Australian Council on Healthcare Standards (ACHS), our platform gives leaders the insights they need to act on tomorrow's wellbeing challenges today.

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There's so much more to share

Sonder is reimagining health, safety and wellbeing support. Sonder proves human centric care leads to earlier intervention. Sonder impacts one person at a time to drive meaningful change across an organisation. Sonder understands people and how to support them.

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