Stressed man at work Nearly allCEOs in a recent survey say they feel some form of isolation in theworkforce, and they recognize that this is a concern for their ownwell-being and work.(Photo: Shutterstock)

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CEOs are getting it: employee well-being matters.

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So say 25 top executives, who responded to a qualitative surveyby LifeWorksby Morneau Shepell.

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"Employee well-being ranks number one, because your organizationis only as good as the people that you have working for you, andtheir well-being determines how successful or unsuccessful you'regoing to be," says one respondent, Michael Colucci, CEO of IdilusLLC, a professional employer organization.

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Related: Well-being important to employees, even those wholack it

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A CEO from an engineering firm responds: "I don't believe thatcustomers should come first, I believe that employees should comefirst. It's a tenant at my company. It is a cornerstone of mycompany to have happy well-adjusted employees."

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Well-being programs are also becoming table stakes to attractand retain talent, especially younger generations. One CEO saysthat "employee well-being programs are becoming more of anexpectation rather than a perk."

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The importance of employee well-being also impacts the bottomline, the respondents add.

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"If my employees are unhappy or they're going through whateverstresses that they are encountering at home in their personal life,they bring that in," another CEO says. "If you have a big teamenvironment that we work in…it can cause absenteeism. People whoaren't focused at work, it creates delays with projects so thingsget backed up at work."

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The respondents are also candid about their own struggles withsignificant work stress, though many say they are successful in"compartmentalizing that anxiety" – and hiding any signs of it fromemployees because of the "contagious nature" of workplace stress.As a result, nearly all of the CEOs say they feel some form ofisolation in the workforce, and they recognize that this is aconcern for their own well-being and work.

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But that masking may not really be working after all, someconcede.

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"I'm sure they feel it when I have stressful situations becauseI put that back on them," one CEO says. "They can tell by yourdisposition, you create a level of anxiety within the team conceptthat we have at our place and that affects them adversely becauseit makes them feel anxious or unsure about what's going on maybe,within the corporate structure."

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While a majority of the respondents measure the success of theirwell-being programs using metrics such as retention of employees,satisfaction in their role and employee engagement, most of theCEOs agree that a comprehensive employee well-being index would behelpful to measure the level of employee engagement within theprograms.

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"Employee wellness is increasingly critical to business successand at the top of the agenda for many CEOs and even board members,"says Paula Allen, Morneau Shepell's vice president of research,analytics and innovation. "But executives still struggle withmethods to properly execute and evaluate that support. LifeWorks ispositioned to address these concerns."

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Katie Kuehner-Hebert

Katie Kuehner-Hebert is a freelance writer based in Running Springs, Calif. She has more than three decades of journalism experience, with particular expertise in employee benefits and other human resource topics.