Understanding the WellBQ: let’s talk about worker well-being

Those concerned about the ‘world of work’ are more and more recognizing and discussing the impact worker well-being plays on our health, satisfaction, performance and productivity. Worker well-being also influences an organization’s performance in the larger marketplace and community. At a time when employers are stretched to hire enough people to keep up with job demands, workers are recovering from challenges exerted because of the pandemic, economy and life outside of work. One tool available to assist employers to begin to understand the pulse of how their workforce is doing is the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Worker Well-Being Questionnaire, or NIOSH WellBQ. While this new tool may not be perfect or an answer to everything an employer may be looking for, it does offer employers the opportunity to gather new insights on how a workforce is doing, and what might make things better.

From NIOSH: “The NIOSH Worker Well-Being Questionnaire (NIOSH WellBQ) provides an integrated assessment of worker well-being across multiple spheres, including individuals’ quality of working life, circumstances outside of work, and physical and mental health status.”

There is a lot to unpack to understand this newer tool, which is more than what can be done in a single blog. However, we encourage you to view resources now available to help us not only understand its development and use, but how organizations can use it.

If you are new to understanding the WellBQ, here are a few places to start:

1. Newly released detailed publication from experts involved in its development with full open access.

Development of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Worker Well-Being Questionnaire
Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (JOEM), August 2022. Chari, Ramya PhD; Sauter, Steven L. PhD; Petrun Sayers, Elizabeth L. PhD; Huang, Wenjing PhD; Fisher, Gwenith G. PhD; Chang, Chia-Chia MPH, MBA

In this article the authors reach the conclusion that the NIOSH WellBQ is a reliable and valid instrument to comprehensively measure worker well-being. However, make sure to take the time to read the full article to better understand development and validation of the tool, along with both its strengths and limitations.

2. Visit NIOSH’s webpage for resources on well-being and the WellBQ

Visit the NIOSH website to learn more about how to use the questionnaire, its development and results. The questionnaire itself takes about 15 minutes to complete. The NIOSH WellBQ comprises the five domains of worker well-being identified by NIOSH and the RAND Corporation in Expanding the Paradigm of Occupational Safety and Health: A New Framework for Worker Well-Being:

  1. Work Evaluation and Experience
  2. Workplace Policies and Culture
  3. Workplace Physical Environment and Safety Climate
  4. Health Status
  5. Home, Community, and Society

3. Assessing Worker Well-Being video

For a concise and informative summary of the WellBQ, we recommend this video provided by the Healthier Workforce Center of the Midwest, a NIOSH funded Center of Excellence for Total Worker Health®. In the video, Chia-Chia Chang of NIOSH discusses the WellBQ tool.

We look forward to connecting with you in the future to learn about your organization’s experience in supporting the well-being of employees. Learn more about the Oregon Healthy Workforce Center.