Photo by Tyler Nix on Unsplash
Photo by Tyler Nix on Unsplash

Why Marriage Matters to Your Company

“You can't expect people to do well in their business if they've got problems at home.”

S. Truett Cathy, Founder of Chick-Fil-A

While traditionally corporate America has attempted to keep the “professional” and “personal” lives of their employees separate, it is clear they have a major impact on each other:

  • FACT: Between 40%-50% of marriages end in divorce.
  • FACT: Arkansas has the second highest divorce rates in the United States.
  • FACT: Northwest Arkansas has one of the highest divorce rates in the state.
  • FACT: Divorce costs Arkansas taxpayers over $471 million per year.
  • FACT: In the year following a divorce a worker loses 168 hours of time on the job. This equates to being gone 21 workdays or over four weeks. Employees thus lose 8% of their productivity after a divorce.
  • FACT: The Harvard Business Review estimates that presenteeism costs American businesses $150 billion annually in direct and indirect costs.
  • FACT: Domestic violence costs corporate America up to 7.9 million work days of lost productivity.
  • FACT: Work loss associated with family stress, marital problems and parenting issues translates into a loss of approximately $6 billion per year for corporate America.
  • FACT: Research suggests that a mid-level salaried executive who divorces will cost the company around $8,465 and a front line worker will cost the company around $3,770.
  • FACT: When replacing an employee let go for high rates of absenteeism and presenteeism, studies show that it cost 150% of a blue-collar worker’s total benefit package and 250% of a managerial and sales professional benefit package.

As you can see, marriage and relationship wellness is corporate America’s business. Divorce and failing relationships impact how an employee performs at work and costs employers money:

  • Increased absenteeism and presenteeism
  • Decreased health
  • Increased anxiety and stress
  • Increased EAP, medical usage and health insurance costs
  • Affairs in the workplace
  • Four times more likely to abuse alcohol
  • More likely to resort to physical abuse & violence to resolve tensions at home.

Current research and thinking from the worlds of economic and social sciences highlight two major conclusions:

  • Unhappily married employees decrease profitability
  • Happily married employees increase profitability

Conversely, employees in successful relationships increase profits for their employers:

  • Greater commitment and loyalty to employers
  • Lower rates of absenteeism and presenteeism
  • More dependable, motivated and stable
  • Increased creativity and productivity
  • Reduced health insurance costs
  • Increase retention and overall morale of the workforce
  • Reduced turnover

Research shows that when companies invest in the physical wellness and stress reduction of their workers, ROI can range between $1.50 and $6.85 for every dollar spent on these types of programs. Thus, it is in every company’s best financial interest to invest in the promotion of relational wellness.

What you can do for YOUR company:

  • Think physical AND relational wellness. Introduce relationship success training courses and marriage enrichment programs to employees as part of their overall wellness programs, as a supplement to more common types of incentives, such as health club memberships, team-building challenges, company outings, and employee appreciation days.
  • Offer Healthy Relationships Training to increase overall relational wellness.
  • Offer Marriage Enrichment for married employees who want to strengthen their marriage relationship.
  • Offer Pre-Marital Education for those who choose to get married.
  • Offer Relational Coaching through your existing EAP structure.
  • Provide access to Professional Services for intervention.
  • Incentivize Employees to participate in relational wellness programs/services (i.e. extra time off, offer free programs/services, pay for childcare to attend a conference, give relational wellness credits towards bonuses, etc.)
  • Make your employees and peers aware of the variety of services offered by The Center for Healthy Relationships.

Source: Turvey, D. M. & Olson, D. H (2006). Marriage & Family Wellness: Corporate America's Business. The Marriage CoMission.

The Center for Healthy Relationships
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The Center for Healthy Relationships is an endowed center on the campus of John Brown University. Since 1998, we've been helping individuals, couples and families learn knowledge and skills that prepare them for a lifetime of healthy, safe and satisfying relationships.

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