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#021 – Bureaucracy, Blinders, and Why Wellness at Work is Broken (with Special Guest Pam Cooper)


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Podcast Transcript


Welcome to the Working Well Podcast. I’m Tim Borys CEO of FRESH! Wellness Group. This show explores the diverse aspects of workplace health and personal performance. On the Working Well Podcast we dive into the foundations of what makes wellness work in workplaces around the world. We connect with corporate leaders, executives, and industry experts who are helping make life more awesome at work and home.

Join us to learn workplace wellness, best practices, personal performance tips, and access resources to jumpstart your personal and corporate programs.


Pam is a global Human Resources Manager with extensive leadership experience managing corporate wide occupational health and wellness teams, vendors and associated benefits programs.   She’s consulted with local and corporate leaders regarding leadership and employee development, program design and facilitation for learning plans and technical competency frameworks, and diversity and inclusion training.  Pam’s experience with health & wellness in the workplace has spanned both profit and not-for-profit organizations where budgets, resources and location of employees were all factors in the programs designed and delivered.  Pam is a believer of wellness, given it’s one of her core values.  As a leader and a coach, she encourages stakeholders to consider the costs and benefits to ensuring wellness is not simply handled off the corner of the desk.  When she’s not working, you will find Pam out for hikes with her family, regular walks with friends to catch up while clocking the steps and dipping her paint brush to let her creative spirit have some fun too.  


Pam, great to see you again. I think the last time we spoke, it was a couple months into the pandemic, maybe April or May in 2020. A lot’s gone on since then. Tell me a bit about what you’ve experienced over that time.

Sure Tim. Great to be here. Thank you again for the invite. It’s been quite the year, I think, as, as everyone has said and what I’ve experienced the past year was entering a new organization just probably two or three weeks before lockdown had occurred, as a leader in a new place where I knew one or two people out of a 16,000 person organization. So it was somewhat daunting. And having just come back from being in the middle east adjusting to the culture shift again compiled on with COVID, which was completely new and a new team. So lots of new, new things. So I have to say it was lots of challenges, lots of learning. And opportunities around how, how to lead in a space of being virtual and, and a team that I had seen them once in person.

And so as a leader for me, where relationship building is probably one of my key personality traits around being with people and building who they are and so they know who I am. That was really tough virtually because lots of people don’t even want to go on camera and as an organization, there wasn’t a strong rule around, you must have your camera turned on or not. And I know there’s lots of articles and lots of discussions around that. So that, that in itself was interesting and challenging when you want to build connection and you can’t see someone’s reaction. That was tough, I found that really tough and, and added to the isolation component.

I mean, I’m not alone at home. I have a family, but from a work connection perspective, it was tough. But you know, the, the team they all did really well, given all the circumstances. I mean, it was new for them having me as a new leader. So they didn’t know me. And, you know, we kind of fumbled along during this time frame where our team was very heavily hit from a work perspective around COVID in terms of working with folks who are off work and getting them back to work, if they’ve been isolating and all of that. So there was so many new things around policies, procedures, and processes. And how do we do this when I didn’t even really know the basics of round, how they did stuff when it was normal times.

I think I said to the director of HR, at one point, I said, I feel like I have fallen off the raft into a river. I’ve got my life jacket on, we’re all screaming down this river and I can see the team that I’m supposed to be with on the raft. And I’m trying to grab onto the rope just so that I can hang off, trailing behind rafts going, please don’t leave me here in these rapids alone.

That’s a great analogy. And I think very apt for what so many people were experiencing in those first few months of the pandemic. And I, I say few months, but for some that was the first year, literally, and I guess there are still some people that are continuing to face that. But if we, if we fast forward from those first few months to maybe the last six months or so, what changes did you see? How are companies coping in general?

I would say that the changes that I noticed with my team, because initially I was reaching out, checking in doing the check-in. It was recommended as leaders, you know, check in with your team. My, my leader checked in with us as a leadership team, around how people were doing and giving the space for people to talk about how they were actually feeling. And, and that sometimes opened up some heavier conversations and most times it was just a matter of, yeah, we’re all feeling the same way. And that in itself was very helpful. So it wasn’t that the problem got solved, but it was, you’re not alone. And so I try to employ that with my team and I found that it got better as we got to sort of know each other better. And if that makes sense. Opening up to be like, yeah, this is how I’m feeling. I’m dealing with this. And someone else would say, yeah, me too. Me too.

And, and that I noticed got easier to have those sort of open conversations around. Yeah. I’m just really beat today. Or I’m, I’m done with this I’m you know, even though we know it’s not done, so we still have more to do with still, we can’t, we can’t go back into the office. If someone asked me to come in for a meeting in the office, they would be able to open up to me and that was the difference. I saw that they would express their concerns and felt safe to be able to express their concerns, which, you know, I may not have always had the best solution, but at least it opened up the doors to have a conversation and the communication channels were open and that was something that I felt was very positive to be able to support my team.

If, if you can’t create that environment of, I want to say the psychological safety around being able to say, Hey, I’m not sure about this, or I have concerns or I have questions even. And then you can explore from there and then, and still have a point where you can say, okay, I can still take action and move in this direction. So I thought that was very positive. Even though we were still in the thick of it there was that sense of being safe to open up that door.

That’s great and we’ve seen a lot of that progression over the past year, the willingness to open up the conversations around mental health. I guess the shared experience of we’re all going through this and everyone’s figured it out together. And so there’s that, that openness and well, the definition of wellness has changed dramatically over the last year. What are a few of the things that employees and companies are still continuing to struggle with?

Well, what I, from my readings and from my experience with colleagues and just acquaintances and friends around the difficulties around how to create that collaborative space and that engagement when people are still working from home. And now we’re getting into that shift of, okay, we’re going to go back to the office. Where there’s lots of questions around that. I believe that the collaboration has happened. I mean, even within the team that I worked on we would just set up our own zoom calls, whether we were on video or not, the collaboration would happen if we needed to have that collaboration.

And so I find it interesting, the discussion around. Do you need to be back in the office or not. And I think, you know, there’s varied opinions and I think it’ll be a struggle because there’s this sense of we need, we should be in person to connect and, and collaborate and, and I’m not so sure that’s entirely necessarily all the time. Does it help? I think yes. At the same time, I think we’ve done pretty, pretty well and effectively collaborated when we needed to, without having to be in person. So I think that struggle and that back and forth in organizations saying thou shalt do this and, and people saying, well, I have done this and I’ve been effective. So what’s, what is the real issue? Those kinds of conversations are, or at least having the dialogue around it to say really what what’s at the crux of this. Those kinds of conversations, I think would be very useful.

There’s so much changes happened, but for a lot of people, the mindset was that we’re doing this temporarily until we can go back to quote normal, whatever that is, the new normal, whatever term you want to use. But the mindset is that this is a temporary thing. Not looking at it as the future of work. Work fundamentally changed last March for the majority of companies. Now I’m not saying all companies, there are some that require in person, frontline workers and things like that. But the majority of information workers, knowledge workers can work from anywhere. And the last year and a half has shown that they have.

And while there are challenges we need to work through on the mental health, social isolation, things like that, a lot of companies are still seeing back to the office as normal. And when we look at, I guess, Apple, for example, Google and a bunch of the technology companies, the employees are pushing back about going back into the office. Companies just saying, Hey, we’re in September, we’re back in the office. And employee’s like, well, yeah, I don’t want to go back to the office. What, what are you seeing about that? And how do you think that changes how companies need to adapt?

Well, there is definitely boisterous conversations around that. Right. And I, you know, while it was to say, this is temporary, those questions were coming up beforehand from organizations. I mean, in a previous organization that I worked in that same idea of telecommuting. That’s always been an issue that HR has been fielding with work and not wanting to take a firm stance on it saying, okay, we will allow this number of days for X number of employees.

It was more of a talk to your manager about that. So HR I didn’t want to put out a blanket policy around it. But if you talk to your manager and you can create a, you know, an engagement around that, that’s between you and your manager to decide. And so the equity around that, of course, isn’t, that’s the right word, equity, call it around that between, you know, within an organization, some people can do that kind of work and other people can’t. So that’s a big piece of it, but all to say this conversation was coming up way before COVID and now what COVID essentially did was say, well, yeah, you can work from home, but all of the arguments around not as effective, can’t get stuff done, blown out of the water. And so then it’s, what’s the compelling reason why I need to come back into the office if I’ve been functioning this way.

Okay. Or give me the option and be flexible but on the organization side and the leader side, I can see the perspective of okay, but not everyone can do this. So if we’re set up this way I mean, there’s so much fundamental philosophy around how we do our work that’s coming into play. And then if that changes as an organization, are we saying now that half of our workforce is going to be more, more is going to be remote, right? Or, and the other half, well, sorry, because you’re a frontline worker because you’re, you know, your role just won’t allow you to work from home. You don’t have that option.

So, I mean, you know, it’s discussions, but discussions with like rationale behind the reasons why. And I think that’s where employees are asking the questions and not getting really compelling reasons why. And so it’s creating these heated, heated discussions around it.

And yeah, certain roles have always been more conducive to working remotely. And I even use the term telecommuting. I was like, oh, that’s such a quaint word now. Like, it seems like it’s like the dial up you know, my 9,600 baud modem or something. But the fact is we know we now know many, many people in many roles and work remotely just as effectively, if not better than in the office and certain people we know, respond better in remote versus in the office. But I think there’s less conversation right now about giving peoples a choice versus mandating it. And, and what do you see? What do you see on that front?

Yeah. That’s a tough one. Obviously you can see both sides of the argument as an employee and as an organization giving people choice will create its own fallout or around that. And how do you, how as an organization do you manage that? So I don’t think it’s impossible, but I do think with larger organizations it’s more difficult. Certainly. The personality aspects of it. And this is where I think from a mental health and wellbeing perspective, there, there are opportunities there to create a work place that is truly looking at you as an, as a whole person and saying, okay, if we, if we can give you a choice, where would you best?

Whereas, you know, where are you going to thrive? How knowing that A, B and C needs to be completed. And at times you, you know, you need to connect you, you would have if you were in the office anyway. But you know, I think organizations would, would put themselves in a higher echelon of employment categories if they were able to find out a way, this is my opinion, I would want to work for a company that had these things at play. Around this is what we take consideration. We have your role, we have what your expectations are of the role or our expectations of the role, and, and yet we still want to take into consideration all that’s gone on and how work is changing.

So if I was told, you know, I have a choice and, but underlying, you know, maybe two or three days, every two, three weeks, we would expect you in the office, that would be something that would be ideal. And, you know, I think at least it’s, there’s I think an opportunity to open up the conversation around that and explore it and ask good questions around it. Both employees and employers you know, come to the table and, and let’s figure this out. I don’t know, it’s a tough, that’s a tough one.

And, but that goes back to the fundamental shift in mindset of leadership and executives around what is work and how does it happen? I was talking to someone I just met the other day who worked for a large government organization we’ll call it. And they they’ve been working remotely for the last 18 months and they moved to another city. Yeah. And, and now they’re talking about having to come back into the office and. They, when they found out their manager was like, well, wait a minute. Like, you’re not, it was almost like, you’re not allowed to do that. And she’s like I’ve doing it for six months. And my work didn’t suffer. I didn’t, you never said anything about it. And you know, it’s not like overseas or anything, but yeah. It’s you know, an hour or so drive to get to work. And I grew up in Vancouver and that’s like the average commute.

Yeah, exactly. But, the fact is she wanted to be able to do that ongoing and her role doesn’t mean it doesn’t necessitate she be in the office. So that’s a conversation she’s going to have, but again, there’s no policy around that. Now if, if someone like, if someone lived in the outskirts of Calgary and with bad traffic had to commute for an hour.


They would say nothing about it, yet she’s in another city and there’s an issue. So I, that that’s, that’s what I find is like some of the policies still haven’t caught up with what the future may look like.

Well, you know, and, and to me, just, it made me think about the whole fly in, fly out, kind of job. Right. So you’re hired for a company that’s based in this city, but you’re flying in and find out on a rotational schedule to a completely different city. And that happens all the time. Folks who work in format, fly in, fly out from wherever or where they’re just traveling on there. If they’re young and they don’t have any obligations, they’re, they’re living it up on their time off, but they don’t have a set place. Or recall folks living in Hawaii and they would be in their place in Hawaii. Like they had their permanent residence here somewhere in Alberta, but on their time off, they they’d go to their condo in Hawaii. And it’s like, that’s their time off. Mind you, but, but still you’re not working in the city that the company is based out of.

So the organization, I struggle with that one and I think it’s the, it’s the type of conversation that I would, you know, respect from having with with senior leaders or with HR, if I’m coming in to say, here’s, you know, here’s what I have been doing and here’s where we’re at. And if the organization is looking at a whole and to, to be able to say, okay, how could we make, how could we make this work? Versus. A battle. Like it feels like as an employee, I have to go in and stand my ground and go, well, this is why it should work this way for me. And I feel like that just sets the tone and not necessarily the most positive tone from a, from a workplace perspective.

Right. Trust it’s a trust issue, but you know what, if you, if you dig all the way down, it’s, it’s about trust. And so that’s a value. Right.

That was the whole, the whole thing with pre pandemic. That was the reason, one of the number one things that working remotely was frowned upon is that we don’t know what you’re doing and you’re going to slack off and that’s been completely able to show that they’re working way more when they work remotely.

Yeah, so, I mean, when you work in a low trust organization and I have been in those that will be a much bigger struggle around building A different case around this, you know, from a work environment, because it’s all eyes on you. And you know, certainly there’ll be pockets I think within again, individually with your leaders where it would be fine and it’s not a big deal, but as a culture of an organization the low trust ones are going to struggle with this versus ones that have high trust.

There’s a lot of talk right now about the great resignation that’s coming up to 40% of the workforce will be looking for new jobs and low trust organizations are going to really struggle. They’re going to get eaten alive. Yeah. And so we flip back to the organizational standpoint, how does a company identify that and make that shift?

That’s a whole other podcast, like, because I just think of some of the workshops that I’ve facilitated and been involved in and, trust is from senior leadership perspective, but also fundamentally how the, the infrastructure of the organization is set up. So if you’re in a, you know, a government type organization where there’s multiple unions involved, that’s a low trust environment.

And I believe that there needs to be a reevaluation of what those particular unions, what is their purpose? What do they serve? And, does that need to shift and change in order to create more trust. And that, that’s a huge, that’s a huge culture shift. That’s the classic Titanic. My God, that’s going to take years to see straight.


So, but awareness is the first step. So if an organization had the leadership in place and then, you know, I think it’s generations, as well as the younger generations are moving in there, there is definitely a shift in perspectives and, cultures around that. So I think there’s there’s chance that that could change, but it’s that, as you say, it’s going to take decades to shift that and build the trust.

You mentioned psychological safety, that’s part of it too, is trust is a big part of that. If you don’t have trust in the organization, you don’t feel like you can speak up and be heard and it just becomes endemic throughout the organization where things don’t happen or people aren’t performing to their best because they don’t feel they can go the extra mile or stick their head up without fear of it getting cut off is the analogy.

You know, sort of risk reward, right? I was in a new, like I had mentioned earlier, I had started in this new organization, not knowing people. So you, depending on where you are at what point in your career and how old you are, I want to say you may, your confidence and self-esteem is different and, or mine, mine has been earlier stages of my career I wouldn’t, say BU I think it’s a function of the generation that I’ve grown up in and, you know, you just don’t say stuff like that and you just keep your head down, do your work. And if you’re going to question and I mean, I, can clearly remember a few times where I because I’m, you know, a caregiver slash wellness advocate. And I remember being in an organization where I said, well, and I asked an AVP. I said, so you’re telling me, this is really the bottom line here is money. And, and the fact that I said that, but I was asking the question and versus the care of someone, rehabbing them back to a point that they can get back to their activities of daily living.

That to me was the most important part of my role. That was what I, you know, the money aside. Yes. I understand it’s a business, but yeah. And he leaned over and he’s like, you’re damn right. It’s about money. And I went, oh, I’m not sure I need, I don’t think I can work here this. So, because it just completely went against the value that I had around the wellness of a person and caring for them. So, yeah, but I didn’t say anything more, whereas now I would ask more question. It’s not that I would go after it, but it’s the, how you challenge and how you ask questions and how I still think, you know, it’s not that there’s always agreement with trust.

It’s just, there is a consideration and respect. And the ability to have a debate around a topic. And I mean, I think north Americans, we take everything so personally it’s always a personal front when someone asks or challenges, versus I’m just challenging the topic. I’m not challenging you. You know, and that’s trust in that. I’m not challenging you a person. I’m challenging this topic and the, and the why around it. So sorry, I kinda went on a tangent there.

It’s all part of the process and being able to have those conversations and one of the, based on your experience and background, I had a question around how do people. You know, if we even just take it to the health and wellness side, a lot of the people listening are leaders or influences in their organization trying to promote health and wellbeing of employees. If you’re in a low trust workspace, that’s really tough to do. And you get things like damn right. It’s about money. And how is someone, especially in a call it a lower level leadership position, maybe a middle manager or something. How are they able to create some of the change? They might be well-meaning, but if they’re facing some of that barrier from a senior leadership, how do you, how do they create change?

Think you pick your battles and find your allies that will support you. In my last experience, I asked questions in a way, and this is something that I’ve worked on personally around not getting people defensive around it. I’m just asking a question and challenging reasons for doing things or challenging reasons for not doing things. And why wouldn’t we look at this as something, if we’re looking to have, you know, better engagement and we’re looking at the overall productivity of our employees, this is a component of it. Like can’t we can’t ignore this. The data is there. The research is there. So what are we doing or what are we not doing?

And if we’re not going to do it as an organization, then what’s the cost. Because there’ll be a cost. So if you’re okay with that, then fair, but don’t turn around after go, oh my God. We didn’t know that was going to happen. We didn’t think that like, you know, there’s, there’s a cost to any decision. So from a WCB costs to whatever right. Disability management costs and then just the human cost. Of making a choice that perhaps isn’t supportive of the wellness of, of humans. And so I think it’s, it’s having courage and, and being tenacious around what is important and valued and starting with your own, if you’re a leader within your own team.

And it is something even just from a leadership perspective, modeling the way. So it may not be that you’re going to get this trail of followers and you may not be able to convince some of the senior leaders however, for, I would argue for my own integrity. That’s how I’ve lived in led teams is this is what I believe this is what I do. And this is how I manage teams. And within the confines of the organizational, I want to say policies and rules. That’s fine. And we all know that there’s bend and flex around some of those. And, and you find, you find pockets even in unionized environments, as I would talk to people, even though we didn’t have the water coolers, I still met people through different meetings and would be able to ask, be curious around.

What happens with this, or what have people done around this? And what’s the response been to something like this and that’s how I’ve explored is getting a bit of an I’m a data gatherer anyway. So that’s yeah, what I do before I jump in and make a call. But I wasn’t afraid to ask the question within my own peer group and my leader and challenge the status quo. And there’s a lot of status quo. And, and sometimes it was like, yeah, that’s just how it’s been. And that was it.

And, and so that’s why I said pick your battles really, but I would say, don’t be afraid to ask good questions around it and, poke a little bit to say, I dunno and speak up because I think lots of times we don’t listen to our inner voice or our gut and or if you’re, I’ve been afraid to speak up because of what people might think or like, well, who does she think she is? That kind of idea. And, I have let go of that, those situations and as I said in a respectful way, I’m not, I’m not throwing digs at people, but I think that’s the most important thing. And then if you can find some as I was saying to you find some angels or supporters that you know, that are in those senior leader positions that you can bend their ear and hopefully then they can influence other leaders potentially, right. Or at least broaden the, the areas and the pools where this is very positive and has the positive impact on employees. And then it just tends to filter through that. But in a big organization, then manage your expectations around how fast that might happen.

Yeah. Measure it with glacial regression and advancement, right?

Absolutely. And different organizations run at different paces. And I certainly have experienced that. And, and that was a learning for me as well to kind of go, oh, okay. We’re not at the same speed here. And, and, and that’s okay. Right. And there’s no right or wrong. I don’t think it’s just, it’s sort of the nature of the beast.

Yeah. And you know, to flip that around from a senior leadership standpoint, What can any senior leadership leaders or executives listening, how can they perk up their ears and tune into some of the opportunities that may be available to find passionate champions within the organization that can create some of this change?

I mean, it’s the influences externally from an environment perspective are all out there with, with senior leaders and it’s all over LinkedIn. And, and so I think what would be helpful is senior leaders who are finding out who those champions, cause those champions already likely exist in their organization. And if it’s something that you see as a value for your organization, then find out who those people are and listen to what it is that’s being done or what needs to be done or what they’re looking to do. And having that conversation either with them or with their leader to, to help support that.

So one of the places that I was in was a bit of a magical time in the, and the president of the company would come to me before his town halls, his quarterly town halls and say, what’s going on from the wellness front? When can I, what can I throw into the town hall, which I had never experienced before?

And so the fact that that was available because it was on his mind to say, we know that this is important and he would come to seek me out. That was, as I said, magical was probably the best way to describe it, that that actually could happen. While it’s, it’s not the, obviously the top priority from a, you know, for profit organization or even not for profit, but it’s, if it’s an underlying value, it certainly will affect your bottom line.

I’ve talked to lots of executives over the years to try and help shift that mindset about, you know, be like, if you’re one of those people that hell yeah it’s about the money. Even more reason you should be into wellness because sick people don’t perform well.

Like, you know, if you’re like, if you will have that mindset and if you’re the owner of a race horse and your race horse is lame, it’s not going to win the race.

Yeah. And more, so more so with the low trust is that they’re going to, they’re going to bail on you sooner. Yeah. Where they might not have you know, if there was a high trust, they’re like, oh yeah, I’ve been given, you know, like that, that to me is it’s the whole, you screwed me on stick it to the man kind of idea, right? Like if, if it’s not there, the trust But yeah, that’s a, that’s a great point. Yeah, you’re absolutely right. If it’s about the dollars then even more so that’s so.

And, and yeah, different leaders have different mindsets around it. Like there are some, I still run into businesses out there that employees are there to produce a profit and well, that’s the nature of business, but the mindset of leadership is like, Hey, let’s squeeze every ounce of productivity out of people that we can. It tends to be less common these days to have that overt mindset.

But if you do even more reason, take care of your people. Yeah. And because, but that’s not often seen as the way that there’s this churn in the organization because of the, the, the negativity, the pedal to the metal who cares if people burn out, we’ll just replace them with someone else. And if you think about like even rehiring costs, retraining costs just those costs of turnover costs of stress and sickness, illness. It’s massive. And so, yeah, and I’m still, it still shocks me that that shift hasn’t happened more. And then organizations that do care for the people are investing in it, but not connecting the dots between the benefit of doing that. They’re like, oh, it’s the right thing to do. So we’re going to do it, but we’re not going to track numbers.

We’re going to, we’re just going to do a bunch of things because it’s nice to do. And it’s the right thing. Instead of it is still a business like let’s track what’s most effective so we can optimize and best care for our people while best caring for the business.

It’s fascinating because even just your comment around the numbers and the metrics, I mean, I had a senior leader who said, you don’t need to show me the business case because I just know this, this is the right thing to do. So the argument for numbers. You know is a good one, but at the same time, there’s also just the underlying value of we are a group of human beings that need to work. And what, you know, to create the best environment requires these fundamentals. So the psychologically safe workplace, the opportunity to have flexible, whatever it is, is going to ensure that we have the best productivity and the output of the, you know, the metrics around disability or sick benefits, et cetera, et cetera, is we’ll just fall in line anyway, because we’re doing the right thing for people.

Why not measure it to optimize it though? That’s the thing is if offering this improves it by 20%, if we did it a slightly different way, maybe it’s 30 or 40% that it improves.

Yup. Yup. Well, you have to see the value of it too, right? So I mean this past year and half has certainly done a number on the work environment. Right. And, and I think if you’ve got smart leaders and the, the openness to examining how they might do things differently, then there’s opportunities, I think, to create more growth and productivity, ultimately. I don’t think it, I don’t think there’s a downside to looking at it at least and examining and exploring and potentially optimizing how things have shifted.

I’ve heard people say that we’re at a like a fork in the road right now where businesses that are taking advantage of, you know, with, with any great challenge, becomes an opportunity for great change and businesses that are taking advantage of that are going to catapult themselves ahead of businesses that not have just been slow to respond, but aren’t responding or aren’t responding in the right way. So what are your thoughts around that?

I would wholeheartedly agree. Absolutely. I feel like we’re at a precipice where it’s like, you can either, you can just fly high as an organization and capitalize on, on this change and, and create new opportunities, new growth, new environments.

Or drop off the cliff.

Or a drop off. That’s terrible. Sorry, but that’s how I feel. It’s like, Yeah, I don’t know. It’s I think there’s, there’s just, I look at it as a huge opportunity. That could be very exciting. And if you’ve got the ability to create some resources around that, to have people focus on that and examine it and talk like you need to talk to your employees, you need to talk to the organization. I think it’s not just the standard employee engagement survey it’s about having What’s that I’m trying to think of. There’s a huge chance to make some shifts that will just make improvements or you can just, you know, stay behind and status Cohen and be like, it’s fine. It’s working. We’re good. We’re still reaching our numbers. But as you say, if you could do this and increase it by another 30% up to 30%, why, why wouldn’t you? Right. So, yeah, I would just say ditto on that, for sure. Because it involves some discussions and conversations and analysis of okay how do we make this work?

Yeah. You said one of the key messages that I’m getting correct me, if I’m wrong is talk to employees communication. How do we quantify that and, and make something tangible to move forward.

Yeah, that’s a good question. Hmm. I have the top of my head. Okay.

If I could do that, then I know I’d probably a lot of clients. There’s, there’s lots to it, right? Because there’s the, there’s definitely the qualitative side of it and subjective answers around it, but then there’s also the quantitative and it’s doing the focus groups, the surveys, I think.

I would say more focus groups, to be honest, just off the top of my head and have someone in there as a facilitator slash coach that can drill down or that organizational effectiveness person that can speak to the bubbles that are popping up on people’s heads that no one wants to say, because whether it’s just sort of like, I don’t want to say this or the it’s that trust side of it, but if you can drill down to the crux of things, I think you’d be able to quantify very quickly and get to an answer much more quickly than dancing around the Bush and trying to play nice. So I think organizations and mean, I know there’s lots that have very specific groups that do OEM kind of work. They’re, they’re the ones that get faster where they could potentially be. I think because they can drill down versus having rhetoric. Right. Sort of falling, falling in line. I think that that’s not really answering your question. I realize that

I have to admit that was a question that was not setting itself up for an easy answer.

But like, it is a really good question. So it’s definitely given me pause and Yeah, it’s something I will mull on some more. So I may get back to you on that, Tim.

So we, I feel like we could chat forever to somewhat smoothly wrap this up what what would be your biggest advice for companies moving into the next six to 12 months? What, what can they do to make the biggest impact in employee health, wellbeing, performance? Again, another simple question was a one word answer, right?

If I was going to distill it down I feel like trust and communication are two words that are popping up for me. And so you’ve trusted as organizations we’ve trusted our employees over this past, you know, for the most part I’m, I’m sort of globally saying that. So I think there’s. A need to continue to trust. And as you state your case as an organization, why we want to go back to this kind of environment, but then the willingness and openness to having an honest dialogue around what it means for us to go back into the office, if that’s the crux or, or whatever, whatever the discussion is.

It’s the honest dialogue versus And because then, then that will help create trust. Right? So being prepared to have your employees come to the table, creating that safe space using your people that are most, you know, as an organization, I feel like there are people and leaders that are very well trusted and hire senior leaders know who those people are. So leverage that to gather the information around what it means for us going forward and be prepared to maybe hear things that you’re not wanting to hear, but that’s okay. That can create a dialogue and a discussion around it. And you may still come to the same decision, but at least there’s been a chance for people to voice opinions and to bring to the table their ideas and thoughts around it. So I don’t know, like I said, I think trust and communication are at are for me, what would be at the crux of it.

Well that brings us to the next podcast topic where we’re going to have to talk about is like led to quote a Patrick Lensioni book politics silos, and peer fours.

How do you overcome that within organizations? So,

I think it’s just hang on. It’s still going to be a bumpy ride. And if you care about your employees, then let them know that and say, but we’re here to support you and we know that this is, this is a big shift and we recognize that, but you know, we’ve done it before and here’s the why.

Awesome. Well, Pam, thank you so much. It’s been great to chat with you and where can people find you on LinkedIn?

LinkedIn yep Pam Cooper LinkedIn. And that’s, that’s where I am.

Okay. Yeah. I will post a link in the show notes under the transcript, and people can find you there. Thank you again for your time. It’s been awesome to chat again, and I look forward to the next time. We’ll have to talk about all the politics side and how to, you know, we can be gurus and overcome that. We’d have a trillion dollar business globally. If we could overcome that.

I’m game, let’s do it. Excellent. We’ll chat soon.

Thanks Tim.


Thank you for listening to the Working Well Podcast. If you enjoyed the show, don’t forget to rate and review us wherever you get your podcasts. We’d love to hear your experiences and how you’ve applied tips from the show to your daily life.

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