UST Work & Well-being Study

The UST Work and Well-being Study

When your life is working well, you also work well, functioning at your highest potential. On the other hand, life issues such as money problems, chronic headaches, family drama or lack of sleep all impact employees’ ability to be fully engaged at work. Often, business leaders turn to job factors when an employee’s performance lags, but that  isn’t always effective. Our team has set out to determine how well-being both at and outside work influences retention and performance.


Some examples of our findings for one organization

  • Higher overall well-being is related to lower intention to quit the job
  • Higher financial well-being is more related to a lower intention to quit the job than well-being in other life domains, and this is different from satisfaction with pay
  • Lower satisfaction with impact of job on the family is more related to a higher intention to quit the job than satisfaction with elements of the job itself
  • Higher social and financial well-being is related to lower presenteeism (being at the job but distracted – a term explained in greater detail in our project details section) than well-being in other life domains

Different employee groups and organizations may have different profiles, and there may be different relationships between well-being domains and different aspects of employee performance. Although we expect some of the above findings will hold across groups, other organizations’ employee groups may reveal greater importance of additional life domains (health, career, leisure, etc.) as they relate to performance and retention.

These findings suggest that we should change the way we view employees. Instead of focusing solely on the employee’s work life, we should also support and develop areas of the employee’s life outside of work, so that his or her performance is uninhibited.

You can learn what most impacts your employee groups by joining our project. By taking the UST Work and Well-being Survey, you will be able to determine what areas are particularly impactful for your unique employees.

Learn more about the study

Watch this short video to hear Teresa Rothausen-Vange, Ph.D., Annelise Larson and Sara Christenson discuss their motivations for launching the UST Work and Well-being Study.

Several working papers related the study are also available through St. Thomas' UST Research Online resource:

Eudaimonic Job Satisfaction: Exploring Global and Facet Satisfaction with Fulfilled Job Purposes, Teresa J. Rothausen, Ph.D.

What is the Meaning of This? Identity and Wellbeing in Sensemaking about Retention and Turnover, Teresa J. Rothausen, Ph.D., and Kevin E. Henderson

Business Education for Nurse Leaders: A Case Study of Leadership Development in a Vital, Highly Gendered Industry, Teresa J. Rothausen, Ph.D., and Dawn M. Bazarko


How could this impact your business?

Recruiting and retaining top performing employee talent is a priority for most organizations. The UST Work & Well-being Study quantifies the ways in which all factors of an employee's life affect their engagement and performance at work, and your ability to retain them. This knowledge has great potential to allow an organization to be wise and efficient in its direction of company resources towards talent management.

Participating in this study will give you the data you need to start focusing on integrated retention, engagement and performance management. Follow-up can help you prove that your efforts are paying off.

Read more about the business implications of our study or look into the details of the project itself.