Wellbeing: The Five Essential Elements by Jim Harter & Tom Rath - book review


The Five Essential Elements

By: Jim Harter, Tom Rath

Published: May 4, 2010
Format: Hardcover, 240 pages
ISBN-10: 1595620400
ISBN-13: 978-1595620408
Publisher: Gallup Press

"Much of what we think will improve our wellbeing is either misguided or just plain wrong", write Gallup researchers Jim Harter and Tom Rath in their landmark and groundbreaking research based book Wellbeing: The Five Essential Elements. The authors describe how employee wellbeing goes far beyond simply being happy or well paid, but includes five essential components that provide a holistic approach to employee engagement, that extends far beyond the workplace.

Jim Harter (photo left) and Tom Rath share cutting edge global research from the prestigious Gallup organization that demonstrates that commonly held views of employee wellbeing are very often wrong. Many employers believe that if an employee is well paid, and enjoys good employment benefits, that staff member should experience wellbeing. The authors' research shows that good pay, and even being happy and healthy, are not enough to contribute to wellbeing. In fact, the authors point out that focusing on just a few factors in isolation of the other critical elements of wellbeing may even be harmful and counterproductive. The research leads to the conclusion that people are not independent of one another, but are instead interdependent, requiring an all inclusive and holistic approach to wellbeing, ensuring that all aspects of a person's needs are fulfilled.

Tom Rath (photo left) and Jim Harter describe the five essential elements of wellbeing, that must all be considered and recognized to be effective. The five crucial elements are:

* Career wellbeing regarding how you spend your day
* Social wellbeing of love and relationships in your life
* Financial wellbeing of well managed finances to reduce money stress
* Physical wellbeing pertaining to good health and energy levels
* Community wellbeing of involvement in your local area

By including all of these elements, and not simply focusing on one or two, employers can develop wellbeing in their employees. In workplaces where people's overall wellbeing is taken into account, employees are more engaged and more productive, while the organization is more profitable as a result.

For me, the power of the book is how Jim Harter and Tom Rath utilize an extensive Gallup study of more than 150 countries, representing 98% of the world's population, to back up their concepts and recommendations. Because of the global nature of the research project, the results go far beyond nations, cultures, and faiths, to present a human view of wellbeing. Because the book is so heavily research based, the authors are not providing simply their personal opinions. Instead of anecdotal evidence, that may be misleading at best, the extensive study results provide a strong basis of evidence in support of the book's concepts. As always, Gallup's research is first rate, and is reliable upon which to base a complete organizational wellbeing program.

I highly recommend the seminal and must read book Wellbeing: The Five Essential Elements by Jim Harter and Tom Rath, to anyone seeking a deeper and richer understanding of what employee wellbeing really means, and why many of the more common approaches to the subject end in failure. As the authors point out in their book, a complete and holistic approach to wellbeing is more effective, and is also good business for the company.

Read the intriguing book Wellbeing: The Five Essential Elements by Tom Rath and Jim Harter, and begin an all encompassing and comprehensive employee wellbeing initiative in your company. By changing the company culture to one of wellbeing and engagement, everyone benefits in the end.

Tags: Wellbeing: The Five Essential Elements, Jim Harter, Tom Rath, employee engagement and wellbeing, business book reviews.