Investigating the experiences and consequences of employee well-being within the South African financial services industry
Employee well-being impacts on the performance of employees, success of organisations, as well as on experiences of customers. The business landscape is characterised by increasing mandates for higher productivity, more outputs, and greater savings - all contributing to increased demands being experienced by employees. Understanding the impact of demands and resources on the experiences of burnout and work engagement of employees is a critical priority for organisations in order to create an environment that facilitates optimal performance (internally and externally) and promotes employee well-being. The job demands-resources (JD-R) model is a prominent work stress model used as a framework for understanding employee well-being, and the consequences thereof for organisations. The JD-R model comprises two processes - a health impairment process as well as a motivational process, by means of which the impact of demands and resources is understood. The general objective of the study was to investigate employee well-being, burnout, work engagement, performance ratings and customer satisfaction index ratings in the financial services industry. The specific objectives of the research were: 1) to conduct a literature review on employee well-being, burnout, work engagement, job demands-resources model, job performance, and customer satisfaction ratings; 2) to explore how employees identified as being at risk of burnout, experience demands; 3) to investigate the longitudinal relationship between burnout, work engagement and objective performance ratings; 4) to investigate the impact of work engagement and burnout on customer satisfaction index ratings; 5) to explore the experiences of resources as seen from the perspective of at risk employees, and 6) to present and discuss conclusions, limitations and recommendations of the findings. The first study focused on exploring the experiences of demands amongst employees identified as being at risk of burnout. To achieve this objective, a qualitative research design was implemented in a financial services organisation based in South Africa (n = 26). A phenomenological approach was taken, and data were analysed using thematic analysis. The results identified three themes: job demands, life demands, and health concerns. It was determined that participants experienced demands within the work domain as well as in the life domain, demonstrating burnout to be a multi-domain phenomenon. In the second study a longitudinal design (n = 155) was adopted to investigate the relationship between burnout, work engagement and objective performance ratings over time. Employees completed surveys at two time-points, one year apart, and performance ratings coincided with these timeframes and were also obtained for both time-points. Results indicated that work engagement positively predicted acceptable and good performance ratings over time. Burnout was not found to predict performance ratings negatively over time, but did approach statistical significance in predicting bad performance, and was therefore also interpreted. Thirdly, the impact of work engagement and burnout on customer satisfaction index ratings done by customers of employees were investigated. A quantitative research approach was followed and confirmatory factor analysis was conducted within a structural equation modelling framework (n = 132). The study was conducted in a call centre environment. Results showed work engagement to be related to better customer satisfaction ratings; no significant relationship was found between work engagement and bad customer satisfaction ratings. No significant relationships were found in the study between burnout and customer satisfaction. In the fourth study the focus was to consider employee well-being by exploring job and personal resources from the perspective of at risk employees. This objective was achieved by taking a phenomenological approach with a case-study design as research strategy (n = 26). Results revealed that participants experienced job resources as well as personal resources as influencing their well-being. The role of job resources was explained by mentioning received job resources as well as the lack of job resources. Participants further acknowledged that used personal resources as well as a lack of personal resources play a role in well-being. Finally, in the concluding chapter, conclusions were drawn, the practical and managerial implications of the research studies were discussed and recommendations were made to organisations as well as to scholars in the interest of their future academic studies.