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Most Engaged Worker? It Might Be Your Mom

Social wellness app-maker Keas wanted to find the prototypical engaged worker last year in its inaugural Employee Happiness Index.

January 6, 2014

Photo courtesy of Thinkstock.

If you are a woman in your 60s who has held down an administrative job for more than a decade somewhere in the Midwest, then congratulations. You are America’s most-engaged employee.

Social wellness app-maker Keas wanted to find the prototypical engaged worker last year in its inaugural Employee Happiness Index, polling 762 employees across the United States who participated in the company’s employer-offered health program. The format was simple, said Keas CEO Josh Stevens. There were just two questions:

“Are you engaged in/excited about your job?” and “Are you happy at work?”

The results were startling. While Gallup’s State of the American Workplace survey released in 2013 reported 30 percent of employees were engaged in and happy with their jobs, Keas’ poll revealed that some 92 percent of respondents said they are engaged in and happy with their jobs — triple the national average of Gallup’s survey.

To reach these conclusions, Keas asked respondents for demographic information and questions about personal habits as well as perspectives about their experiences at work and in life.

“The results suggest that there is an opportunity to further understand what motivates Americans in the workplace, and what makes them not only productive but happy as well,” said Stevens, who joined the venture-backed, San Francisco-based company in 2012.

“Healthier employees are happier employees, and happier employees are more engaged and productive,” Stevens said. “Healthy employees don’t have to dedicate time and resources to managing challenges in their health, and in turn are able to be more productive in their day-to-day lives.”

According to the Integrated Benefits Institute, a health and productivity research provider, U.S. companies lose more than half a trillion dollars a year in lost productivity. Stevens said 90 percent of this productivity loss is from employees who suffer from preventive chronic health conditions, such as diabetes, obesity and high cholesterol.

“The key is creating a culture of health that is woven throughout and reinforced by the social fabric of a workforce — one that is built on small, daily changes to diet, fitness and overall well-being,” he said.

Ladan Nikravan is a Workforce senior editor. To comment, email editors@workforce.com. Follow Nikravan on Twitter at @ladannikravan.