Developing a KPI for Measuring Staff Wellbeing
The Implications for Australian Law
In late 2016, two well-known Australian organisations joined together to produce a new employee wellness index. The national and international firms, Medibank and Deloitte, respectively, promoted the index as enabling firms to measure the collective wellness and wellbeing of their staff. The two firms were of the view that these concepts should become a mainstream issue for boards and management, and form part of CEO accountability to the board. The case was put that responsibility for wellness should become a key performance indicator against which leadership and management performance could be judged. This paper examines the basis for such a proposal in terms of Australia’s system of corporate and tort law. It reviews the implications of a potential employee right to wellbeing. Would this impact, for example, on the established rights and expectations of employees, both individually and collectively? In addition to examining the consequences for relevant law and regulation, this paper reviews the implications in an international context for Australia’s long-established system of shareholder-primacy corporate governance. In particular, does the proposed wellness index invert the shareholder model, and give too much power to employees?
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