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Episode 13: Employees, employers, and wellbeing: whose job is it anyway?

In this episode, Jason and Jor­dan dive into the essen­tial aspects of employ­ee well­be­ing and the roles both employ­ees and employ­ers have to play.

Jor­dan and Jason kick off by stress­ing the vital role of attract­ing and retain­ing tal­ent in orga­ni­za­tions — no short­cuts here! They intro­duce the ther­mo­stat vs. ther­mome­ter metaphor to dis­cuss effec­tive mea­sure­ment and man­age­ment of talent.

They high­light the sig­nif­i­cance of align­ing a com­pa­ny’s mis­sion and vision with its employ­ees. When per­son­al val­ues res­onate with the orga­ni­za­tion’s pur­pose, engage­ment and com­mit­ment soar. They explore the evolv­ing per­spec­tives on find­ing pur­pose in work, com­par­ing dif­fer­ent generations.

Recruit­ing comes into play as they delve into how mis­sion and vision make a dif­fer­ence in attract­ing the right tal­ent. They also dis­cuss the World Health Orga­ni­za­tion’s expand­ed view of holis­tic well­be­ing, going beyond tra­di­tion­al well­ness programs.

The inter­play between work and per­son­al life is exam­ined, touch­ing on the chal­lenges faced by work­ing par­ents. They even throw in a pop­u­lar HBO show’s take on work-life bal­ance for extra insight. And who should real­ly take respon­si­bil­i­ty for employ­ee health and wellness?

Remem­ber, well­ness isn’t about check­ing box­es — it’s about deeply embed­ding it in your orga­ni­za­tion’s cul­ture. Set­ting the rules of engage­ment is cru­cial for cre­at­ing an envi­ron­ment where your peo­ple can tru­ly thrive.

Tune in to this episode for a com­pre­hen­sive explo­ration of tal­ent attrac­tion, mis­sion align­ment, work-life bal­ance, and holis­tic employ­ee wellbeing.

Now avail­able on: YouTube | Apple Pod­casts | Spo­ti­fy

Key ideas and highlights

  • Both employ­ees and employ­ers play a vital role in employ­ee wellbeing.
  • One of the biggest ways to ensure employ­ee well­be­ing is in your recruit­ing strategies.
  • Today’s work­force demands pur­pose­ful work. How can employ­ers pro­vide pur­pose­ful work?

Word of the day

  • Aus­pi­cious — said @ 15:47 ✅


  • 0:00 Introduction
  • 2:56 No mat­ter how you cut it, all roads lead to attract­ing and retain­ing talent
  • 4:32 How well­be­ing is a Ther­mome­ter not Thermostat
  • 7:06 The impor­tance that the mis­sion and vision of a com­pa­ny match­es with the employee
  • 9:39 The dif­fer­ence between pre­vi­ous gen­er­a­tions and today’s in find­ing pur­pose in work
  • 11:50 How mis­sion and vision mat­ter in recruiting
  • 16:15 W.H.O. and the expand­ed view of holis­tic wellbeing
  • 19:40 Work and life can’t be separated
  • 21:02 A TV show’s com­men­tary on work-life balance
  • 23:12 Who is real­ly respon­si­ble for employ­ees’ health and wellness
  • 28:02 Well­ness is not about imple­ment­ing pro­grams and check­ing boxes
  • 30:26 How set­ting the rules of engage­ment can help your peo­ple thrive
  • 33:33 Episode Recap


Jor­dan (00:00):

How many hours and years of our lives do we spend on work? For near­ly all of us, we spend 30 plus years and one third of our days in our voca­tion, more time per­haps than we spend at rest or at play. But this isn’t a prob­lem. Why? Because work is good. Work needs to be inte­grat­ed deeply into our lives and must be in line with our most impor­tant goals and val­ues. And if it is, we have a far more com­plete and ful­fill­ing life expe­ri­ence. Wel­come to the How Peo­ple Work pod­cast, where we explore the inter­sec­tion of how humans think and act and how they apply them­selves to their work. When you under­stand both of these things, you’ll be equipped to be insight­ful, com­pas­sion­ate, and com­pelling lead­ers. Wel­come back to How Peo­ple Work. I’m one of your hosts, Jor­dan Peace. Jason Mur­ray, along­side me as usu­al. We had a great episode last week. I thought we had a great, I’m self con­grat­u­lat­ing so

Jason (01:01):

I thought so too.

Jor­dan (01:02):

We had an enjoy­able episode. It was

Jason (01:03):

It was enjoy­able. I enjoyed it.

Jor­dan (01:05):

Peo­ple might have liked it. They might have hat­ed it, but I enjoy, enjoyed it. You seemed to enjoy it. We were talk­ing about well­be­ing. Yes. And we got on some, I don’t want to say high hors­es, but we got pas­sion­ate about some ideas around well­be­ing and what it ought to be, what it means that it’s a deep­er idea. Talked about the World Health Orga­ni­za­tion. We talked about some Jew­ish wis­dom lit­er­a­ture from 4,000 years ago. We real­ly ran the gamut of sources in terms of think­ing through well­be­ing in today’s world and why this top­ic has resurged as some­thing real­ly rel­e­vant to the employ­ee expe­ri­ence, to attract­ing and retain­ing and keep­ing employ­ees, et cetera, et cetera. One of the things I noticed in the show notes in prepa­ra­tion for this week is that you had this phrase, well­be­ing. We’re going to con­tin­ue with well­be­ing if you haven’t picked up on that. Lis­ten­ers, well­be­ing is the ther­mo­stat. So often you’ll hear analo­gies and Hey, this is the ther­mome­ter, this is the ther­mo­stat. I assume that’s where we’re head­ed here, but frame up for us what is meant by well­be­ing is the thermostat.

Jason (02:17):

Yeah. Well, you just jumped right to the punchline.

Jor­dan (02:19):

I know. I’m sorry.

Jason (02:21):

Yeah. I mean, when I was think­ing about this top­ic of well­be­ing, I could­n’t help but think about what are the met­rics by which com­pa­nies often sort of gauge the suc­cess that they’re hav­ing with peo­ple in their organization.

Jor­dan (02:39):

And last week we crit­i­cized and said, it is not engagement.

Jason (02:43):

Yes. Because we don’t, well, we said engage­ment is more com­plex than it’s often thought to be.

Jor­dan (02:48):

But then off cam­era, we real­ly ragged on it even fur­ther. Let’s be honest.

Jason (02:52):

I will nei­ther con­firm nor deny this.


And so there’s sort of this sense of all roads lead to attract and retain. And so I can’t help but remem­ber a cou­ple years ago, we were part of an accel­er­a­tor pro­gram where we were basi­cal­ly in small group set­tings with any­where from 8 to 10 dif­fer­ent peo­ple lead­ers over the course of a num­ber of weeks. And so I think I spoke with in just a few weeks, over a hun­dred dif­fer­ent peo­ple lead­ers. And when I kind of pressed peo­ple on, yeah, every­one talks about engage­ment and every­one talks about well­be­ing, but what real­ly mat­ters? And when you got peo­ple off the record, every­one’s like, yeah, attract and retain, right? You’re like, yeah, I thought so. I thought that’s what it was.

Jor­dan (03:37):

So you want to have real­ly great employ­ees and then you want ​‘em to stay. Yeah. Okay. That makes a whole lot of sense.

Jason (03:44):

And so what I think is inter­est­ing about that is it does mat­ter, right? I mean, we run a busi­ness and there’s costs to run­ning a busi­ness and there’s real and mate­r­i­al mat­ters to be con­sid­ered when it comes to attract­ing good peo­ple and keep­ing ​‘em here. You can even think of it in terms of employ­ee life­time val­ue. You’re going to hire some­body, you’re going to pay ​‘em. Like are we going to get out­put from that indi­vid­ual that’s com­men­su­rate with the pro­duc­tiv­i­ty of the over­all orga­ni­za­tion? It’s necessary.

Jor­dan (04:16):

You’re a mon­ster. You want pro­duc­tiv­i­ty from employees.

Jason (04:20):

I’ll take that on to save you from that crit­i­cism, Jor­dan. So send all your hate com­ments to me, Jason Mur­ray on LinkedIn. I think it’s

Jor­dan (04:28):

I think it’s okay -

Jason (04:28):

Oh is it?

Jor­dan (04:29):

To want pro­duc­tiv­i­ty from peo­ple you pay mon­ey to.

Jason (04:32):

Oh, well. And so there’s ten­sion though between maybe what an employ­er wants, what an employ­ee, how an employ­ee might per­ceive some of that, right? But I think the prob­lem with both of those things when we think about attract and retain is they’re ther­mome­ters. They’re not ther­mostats. When most peo­ple are tak­ing read­ings of their met­rics as it per­tains to recruit­ment met­rics as it per­tains to reten­tion, we’re sim­ply look­ing at what hap­pened in the past, how well did we do It’s what we would call lag­ging indicator.

Jor­dan (05:09):

Mea­sur­ing out­comes, mea­sur­ing, what is the tem­per­a­ture in the room right now.

Jason (05:12):

And so there’s only so much that you can do with that. And I think what’s inter­est­ing, we mea­sure this stuff with our cus­tomers. And so we know things like, for instance, com­pa­nies that offer flex­i­ble ben­e­fits have 84% high­er loy­al­ty, employ­ee loy­al­ty than their com­peti­tors. And that’s almost two times bet­ter, which means these com­pa­nies are also most like­ly to have bet­ter reten­tion, pre­sum­ably if we believe that loy­al­ty is a lead­ing indi­ca­tor of reten­tion. And so when I say well­be­ing is the ther­mo­stat, I think it’s one of those things that is a lead­ing indi­ca­tor of what’s going on inside of an orga­ni­za­tion. So you want peo­ple to stay, treat ​‘em well, right? And make ​‘em feel cared for, give them the tools they need to be health­i­er, hap­pi­er, pur­pose-dri­ven indi­vid­u­als. And I think that is the rea­son or the con­text for why well­be­ing is this impor­tant top­ic for us to discuss.

Jor­dan (06:10):

Yeah. It’s fun­ny, when you were talk­ing about a track, I, again, off cam­era, just side con­ver­sa­tion, one of the things that came up was this idea of how peo­ple choose to work, where they work or how they choose a boyfriend or a girl­friend, or how they choose a spouse or what­ev­er the case may be. And what I was taught at an ear­ly age, and maybe I had just excep­tion­al men­tors and peo­ple in my life was, Hey, fig­ure out who you are. Fig­ure out your iden­ti­ty and then fig­ure out what your mis­sion is. And then when you are run­ning, chas­ing down your mis­sion, kind of look to your left and look to your right as you’re run­ning along and see who’s run­ning along­side you. Maybe that per­son could be the per­son you might want to mar­ry, some­body, like the per­son you might want to spend your life with. Maybe that’s your mate. The idea was mis­sion and mate.


So that was appar­ent to me that, hey, I, I’ve got a mis­sion that is sort of high­er and greater, and that is the thing that my life is ded­i­cat­ed to. And I should prob­a­bly find peo­ple in my life, whether that’s a spouse or friends or whomev­er that are on that track. And so when I go to look for a job, I should look for some­one that is adver­tis­ing. This is our mis­sion, this is our vision, these are our val­ues. Oh, that’s aligned with me. I should, maybe this makes sense. I’m going to go apply. I’m going to go see it and check this thing out. Where­as I think more often than not, we’ve got peo­ple com­ing in and they get real­ly lit up about the mis­sion or the vision or what­ev­er, but they don’t know if it aligns to their own because they don’t have one, right? So they adopt the com­pa­ny’s mis­sion and they are attract­ed, to use the word here by that. But then they don’t stick around because all of that ear­ly fer­vor sort of dies out when it’s just like, well, I don’t know. I guess I don’t real­ly care about that much. Any­way, it was just a job. But every­thing’s always going to be just a job, right?

Jason (08:12):

Well, I mean, I think for very few peo­ple, is the com­pa­ny’s mis­sion ever going to be the penul­ti­mate sort of thing that -

Jor­dan (08:23):

Well maybe not the penul­ti­mate, but not the ultimate.

Jason (08:24):

Not, yeah. Okay. Fair enough. For you as an indi­vid­ual. Yeah. I mean, it seems a lit­tle pre-

Jor­dan (08:30):

They should align.

Jason (08:31):

They should align. But it seems pre­pos­ter­ous to see, man, when I hop out of bed in the morn­ing, I could­n’t be more excit­ed about the mis­sion, the com­pa­ny that I work for. Right? Right. Yeah. I hope that peo­ple is maybe a secondary


thing that brings val­ue and mean­ing to them. I hope what they wake up and say is like, Hey, I like the peo­ple that I love, the peo­ple that I care for, my spouse, my sig­nif­i­cant oth­er, my chil­dren, my friends, my com­mu­ni­ty, my local com­mu­ni­ty, my broad­er com­mu­ni­ty, what­ev­er the case may be. I have a laid out set of val­ues and pur­pose in terms of what I’m try­ing to accom­plish there. And then what’s great is you can take that to what you’re describ­ing with an orga­ni­za­tion and say, Hey, to the degree that the mis­sion of the com­pa­ny match­es or aligns with some of those val­ues, that’s awe­some. But if it does­n’t or if it does­n’t per­fect­ly, because how many of them will per­fect­ly align to every­thing? you can prob­a­bly none of ​‘em. Yeah. You can still say, well, the things that I’m doing at this orga­ni­za­tion are still enabling me to be suc­cess­ful in these oth­er areas of my life.


So actu­al­ly some­thing we were just talk­ing about off cam­era too was we some­times rag on our par­ents’ gen­er­a­tion. Cause some­times they worked for 35 years, 40 years, and jobs that they hat­ed. And it’s easy to crit­i­cize that and just say, oh yeah, they just put their heads down and did­n’t even think about it. But what moti­vat­ed them, if we want to shine a light on the pos­i­tive aspect, is they did it for their fam­i­ly. They had that ulti­mate pur­pose for them that moti­vat­ed them to move through what was prob­a­bly just a ter­ri­ble set of work­ing cir­cum­stances that they hat­ed. And I think that’s part of what we crit­i­cize as after 40 years of that, it just kind of beats you down and you see what it’s done to them. But at the same time too, there has to be a lit­tle admi­ra­tion, I think, or the fact that they had some­thing so sig­nif­i­cant to them that it drove them to actu­al­ly make that sac­ri­fice, we might even call it for their family.

Jor­dan (10:35):

I think it’s the right word. Yeah, absolute­ly. No, I think it is. I, it’s incred­i­bly com­mend­able and it’s sad to me that the par­a­digm that we’ve set up is it’s one or the oth­er, you know, have this great pur­pose in life and work is just toil and it’s like,

Jason (10:52):

I don’t like binaries.

Jor­dan (10:53):

Right, exact­ly. I know you don’t, right? Toil. It’s just toil and hard­ship and suf­fer­ing and pain. And it’s like, but it’s all for this great high­er pur­pose. And hon­est­ly, I’ve had to pick one or the oth­er. I prob­a­bly would pick that rather than hav­ing a job that as much as it pos­si­bly can, feels real­ly good. I love my cowork­ers and we’re hav­ing a great time, but I have no freak­ing clue why I’m doing it oth­er than to pay bills so that I can go spend more mon­ey to receive high­er bills so that I can make more mon­ey to go out and buy more stuff, to receive high­er bills, right? If I’d rather have the great pur­pose than the crap­py job. So I think when this attract and retain, my point with I was try­ing to make there is I assumed that start­ing our busi­ness, that we would attract peo­ple through real­ly pro­mot­ing our mis­sion, vision, and values.


And that those maybe the val­ues prob­a­bly most pre­dom­i­nant­ly would speak so loud­ly that when peo­ple were inter­view­ing or they were check­ing on our web­site or what­ev­er, they would go, Hey, those are also my val­ues I’m in. And we have seen some of that. We’ve seen some real­ly mature, I would say ful­ly inte­grat­ed adults that have gone, oh, that I see it. Right? That is what I val­ue too. I am in. And those have been the hap­pi­est, most engaged, most what­ev­er word you want to throw in there, peo­ple at Fringe. And I think they’re going to stick around to the end, what­ev­er the end is, and how­ev­er far away the end is, because they’re just like, this feels like home. This feels like me. This feels like I cre­at­ed the com­pa­ny because it’s so well aligned with who I am. And then you still have oth­ers that I think we’re a lit­tle bit more flash­es in the pan.


Yeah. I’m just like, oh, this feels good. I like how these peo­ple treat each oth­er. This is cool. But there just was­n’t a core mature idea of what I’m about and what my world’s about what my world­view is. And so the charm sort of wore off after a while and it was just like, well, I just kind of want more perks, more ben­e­fits, more stuff, more pay more, more, more, more. Right. Yeah. What’s going to keep me here? Make me hap­py. Buy my loy­al­ty. Yeah. Right. Yeah. So I think as you go about recruit­ing, you got to think about who you’re recruit­ing. Don’t just recruit peo­ple that have the skillset. Don’t just recruit peo­ple that seem­ing­ly think that your soft­ware or what­ev­er the thing that you do is cool. Oh, I’m just such a fan­boy fan­girl of what you guys do. It’s such a cool thing. Okay, what are you about? And it does­n’t real­ly mat­ter what the answer is. It just mat­ters if there is one.

Jason (13:46):

Is there an answer? Is there an answer to what you artic­u­late what you’re about?

Jor­dan (13:50):

Can you artic­u­late a world­view? Right, A pur­pose? And if they can’t, I don’t think that nec­es­sar­i­ly means they’re like, well, you absolute­ly don’t hire this per­son, because that’s what devel­op­ment is for and that’s what train­ing is for. And that’s kind of part of the job, espe­cial­ly younger peo­ple that just haven’t had a lot of life expe­ri­ence to fig­ure this stuff out. But I think it’s a huge red flag if some­body’s just like, well, I got skills. I can do the job. Yeah. Okay.

Jason (14:20):

Yeah, it’s real­ly inter­est­ing. I mean, this is a lit­tle bit of a side­bar and then I want to bring us back. But in the role that I’m serv­ing in at Fringe now on the inno­va­tion side, that’s actu­al­ly a top­ic that I’m real­ly excit­ed about because at least from the research that I’ve done around the psy­cho­log­i­cal lit­er­a­ture and so forth, it indi- would seem­ing­ly indi­cate that there’s a pret­ty low thresh­old for how much time peo­ple need to spend think­ing about their pur­pose in set­ting a few goals in order to actu­al­ly make a real­ly sub­stan­tive change in how they feel from a stand­point of their own sense of well­be­ing. And then how that trans­lates into pro­duc­tiv­i­ty and so forth. So much so that there’s cer­tain assess­ments that just have you sit down, think about your life a lit­tle bit, come up with a few goals that might be meaningful.


Yeah, prob­a­bly won’t get it per­fect the first time. But right in about 90 min­utes, these researchers found that in about 90 min­utes of doing this, that they could see a 30% increase in pro­duc­tiv­i­ty from indi­vid­u­als sim­ply because they actu­al­ly had a greater sense of pur­pose now in the work that they were doing day to day. I mean, it’s so wild that it’s not this mon­u­men­tal task that I think some­times it feels like, oh man, I got to fig­ure out my life’s pur­pose. How the hell do I do that? It’s like, no, actu­al­ly, just the first step is pret­ty small.

Jor­dan (15:41):

And I think when peo­ple start a new job, it’s the per­fect tim­ing. It’s like this, it’s an aus­pi­cious oppor­tu­ni­ty, if you will, to go, okay, I’m in a peri­od of tran­si­tion. There’s some­thing very new about my life. Now’s the moment. And I feel like peo­ple respond real­ly well when they first come into an orga­ni­za­tion and you hit ​‘em with that type of train­ing or opportunity.

Jason (16:04):

It’s super cool to build that in for orga­ni­za­tions. So any­ways, I want to bring us back to this Deloitte study so that we actu­al­ly get to it.

Jor­dan (16:12):

Didn’t we promise, about 15 min­utes ago we were talk­ing about Deloitte study?

Jason (16:15):

Yes, we did. And so maybe a lit­tle bit of recap. In the last episode, we talked about this more holis­tic kind of def­i­n­i­tion that’s put forth in this arti­cle. And so just to recap that a lit­tle bit, the study ref­er­ences the World Health Orga­ni­za­tion who lays out a frame­work for well­be­ing or employ­ment rather as a social deter­mi­nant of health. Mean­ing that they see employ­ment, your work is a real­ly sub­stan­tial and sig­nif­i­cant part of your over­all well­be­ing. And so it’s inescapable, it’s just as impor­tant as your com­mu­ni­ty. It’s just as impor­tant as your phys­i­cal health, your work and employ­ment is a sig­nif­i­cant part of that. And one of the things that we talked about that I think is real­ly use­ful is the sense that it extends beyond sort of the typ­i­cal cat­e­gories that we talk about in the employ­er space, which are usu­al­ly lim­it­ed to phys­i­cal, men­tal, and finan­cial. And what the World Health Orga­ni­za­tion is say­ing, no, it’s big­ger than that. It’s social, it’s com­mu­nal, your sense of pur­pose, your sense of I have the abil­i­ty to grow and learn. It’s a more holis­tic kind of view­point of this. And so the arti­cle in Deloitte refers to this in the sense of human sus­tain­abil­i­ty. And I got real excit­ed when I saw that. Cause I was like, oh my gosh, we talk about human flour­ish­ing all the time. And so it felt very anal­o­gous. And so-

Jor­dan (17:41):

You felt vin­di­cat­ed with your phrase

Jason (17:43):

I did.

Jor­dan (17:44):

I mean,

Jason (17:46):

On the one hand, I’m like, I don’t know. They’re con­sul­tants. Dun­no how I feel about say­ing the same.

Jor­dan (17:51):

But they’re good ones though!

Jason (17:52):

They’re talk­ing about it at least so vin­di­cat­ed in that sense.

Jor­dan (17:56):

Yeah. I love this dia­gram that you shared in the show notes here, and I think we got to just read it since obvi­ous­ly folks aren’t see­ing this here. So there’s a matrix here, left side, right side, left side being lega­cy think­ing, right side, being for­ward think­ing. And that’s where this ambi­tion for human sus­tain­abil­i­ty is com­ing from. And there’s three blocks here, the first of which says well­be­ing equals find­ing bal­ance between work and life. That’s the lega­cy think­ing. That’s what well­be­ing is defined as, right, is if I just find work-life bal­ance, then I’ll be good. Because work is the neg­a­tive, stress­ful, hard thing, and life is the per­fect idyl­lic moment of rest and peace and pros­per­i­ty and every­thing else. And if I just bal­ance the two and keep away that hor­ri­ble work stuff as much as pos­si­ble, then I got a chance of being hap­py and sus­tained and ful­filled, which there’s just a lot of sar­casm in my descrip­tion there.


Then there’s this for­ward think­ing idea of work as a deter­mi­nant of well­be­ing. So work is deter­mi­nant of well­be­ing and part of life work direct­ly shapes the con­di­tion of an indi­vid­u­al’s well­be­ing. So let’s stop there. So look­ing on the left side, this idea, and again, my sar­casm prob­a­bly betrayed a lot of what I’m about to say here, but this idea that it’s about a bal­ance and that is going to solve the prob­lem, I think is the neg­a­tive side. We were prais­ing the pre­vi­ous gen­er­a­tion, their kind of will­ing­ness to suf­fer. But the neg­a­tive of course being, as we said before on the show, that the idea that work is just bad.

Jor­dan (19:40):

Work is bad. We just want as lit­tle of it as possible.

Jason (19:42):

I’s a trans­ac­tion for val­ue. That’s all it is. Noth­ing more.

Jor­dan (19:47):

And then life is all as if life is just all good and easy. I often find life hard­er than work per­son­al­ly, I don’t know about you.

Jason (19:56):

I’m just laugh­ing because I think about kids, again, I’m like any­one lis­ten­ing that has kids are like, ha! Life is eas­i­er. Right?

Jor­dan (20:01):

Exact­ly. I mean, we have eight kids between us, which is eas­i­er Fri­day night or Mon­day morn­ing. Mon­day morn­ing is a cake­walk by com­par­i­son to Fri­day night.

Jason (20:12):

You can ask our wives, they’ll tell us.

Jor­dan (20:14):

Yeah, exact­ly. And so obvi­ous­ly that is lega­cy think­ing in a way that we’ve dis­cussed a lot. And then where­as this idea around work being a deter­mi­nant of well­be­ing and work being part of life, that’s actu­al­ly real­ly refresh­ing to see that par­tic­u­lar phrase work is part of life.

Jason (20:33):

I agree. I agree. And I don’t think it can be over­stat­ed. I mean, they’re using clin­i­cal ter­mi­nol­o­gy com­ing out of the World Health Orga­ni­za­tion, these deter­mi­nants of such and such. But I mean, it just basi­cal­ly means you can’t extract it. Right? Yeah. It’s not a dichoto­my. It’s not this oth­er thing, it’s it not only is it just an inescapable part of life. Yes. But it’s actu­al­ly a valu­able part of life and we should see it as such.

Jor­dan (21:02):

It is fun­ny, I told you about this, but I don’t want to, this is a long tan­gent. I’m not going to take us out, I promise. But that Apple TV show Sev­er­ance, I told you about this thing.

Jason (21:11):

You tell me. I haven’t watched it yet.

Jor­dan (21:12):

It’s crazy. I mean, it’s lit­er­al­ly that they are sev­er­ing peo­ple’s brains in such a way that when they’re at work sounds awe­some. They have no idea who they are out­side of work. They don’t know if they have a spouse. They don’t know. They have no clue. And at work, they are a new per­son­al­i­ty. They give them the same first name, but they only know work. And if they’ve worked there for a year, they feel as though they’re a year old. They don’t have expe­ri­ences beyond that one year. Right? Yeah. It’s wild. But when you watch some­thing like that, it high­lights just how duh it is that these two things must be inte­grat­ed. Because the char­ac­ters, whether they’re the peo­ple that only know work, and the peo­ple that only know home. They spend their entire exis­tence try­ing to fig­ure out who the oth­er per­son is and what they do and what they’re like and what they enjoy. That’s all. They obsess over it. So they’re con­stant­ly think­ing about the oth­er thing that they’re not inte­grat­ed with that they don’t have the knowl­edge of.

Jason (22:13):

So man it’s so wild.eah, because I mean, if you think about it, the premise there, well one, I don’t know about any­one lis­ten­ing to it, but the reac­tion I have is like, oh my gosh, that is so weird.

Jor­dan (22:28):

It’s weird, it’s hor­ror. It’s real­ly, it’s more of a hor­ror show than some­thing else.

Jason (22:30):

It’s wrong. And I feel like most peo­ple would prob­a­bly have that reac­tion of some­thing about that does­n’t feel right. Yeah, maybe I can’t artic­u­late what does­n’t feel right about it. But if you, what’s hap­pen­ing there is you’re tak­ing the premise of work-life, work-life bal­ance, and play­ing it out to the log­i­cal extreme.

Jor­dan (22:48):

Per­fect­ing it.

Jason (22:49):

Right? And you’re say­ing, okay, we want to sep­a­rate these things. Here’s the most extreme ver­sion. And when we see that, we say, oh no.

Jor­dan (22:58):

Oh no, no.

Jason (22:59):

That is not what we want. No, no, no, no, no, no.

Jor­dan (23:02):


Jason (23:03):

Yeah, nev­er­mind. Yeah, I don’t want that at all. So I, I think that should tell us just intrin­si­cal­ly that there’s some­thing that we’re not wired for it to be that way.

Jor­dan (23:12):

Yeah. I mean, the show might, you know, you might have a cou­ple of uneasy nights’ sleesp. I’m not going to rec­om­mend it ful­ly, but it is very fas­ci­nat­ing and iron­i­cal­ly direct­ed by Ben Stiller, who I’ve only ever seen do com­e­dy. So it’s pret­ty iron­ic. The sec­ond sec­tion here, well, so this is inter­est­ing. This is speak­ing of gen­er­a­tional dif­fer­ences, this is huge. Well­be­ing is the respon­si­bil­i­ty of the indi­vid­ual. That is the lega­cy think­ing. And the sub­text. Orga­ni­za­tions believe indi­vid­u­als have pri­ma­ry agency over their well­be­ing and do not acknowl­edge the ways that work has an impact that indi­vid­u­als can­not con­trol side for­ward think­ing. Well­be­ing is a shared respon­si­bil­i­ty. So in this case, orga­ni­za­tions are account­able for design­ing work that enables indi­vid­u­als to use their agency to main­tain well­be­ing. Cre­at­ing an envi­ron­ment con­ducive to well­be­ing is a respon­si­bil­i­ty of lead­ers and a core com­po­nent of their skillset. So pret­ty fas­ci­nat­ing cause I think we would agree whole­heart­ed­ly with the right side that it is a shared respon­si­bil­i­ty. But I think what we’ve seen in prac­tice though, sad­ly, is that we’ve seen in some cas­es that the pen­du­lum swung too far. I know you hate bina­ries, it swung too far. Where­as hey, instead of well­be­ing as a shared respon­si­bil­i­ty, well­be­ing is the respon­si­bil­i­ty of the employer.

Jason (24:36):

Right. Well, and that I think that comes out of the dichoto­my of work-life bal­ance where work is bad. So if work is bad, you as the employ­er are doing bad things to me, you need to make it less bad because it’s work. And so you need to make it less bad for me, right? Yes. And that comes from as an indi­vid­ual. So it is not just employ­ers need to rethink that frame­work. It’s as an indi­vid­ual, if that’s how I’m going to approach it, it’s going to be hard for me to see it in any oth­er way. But if I’m will­ing to approach it and say, Hey, what is the, and it’s a lit­tle inter­est­ing that we do this in the work set­ting. Yeah. Because when it comes to health, for exam­ple, phys­i­cal health, do we blame oth­er peo­ple for the out­comes of our phys­i­cal health, right?

Jor­dan (25:18):


Jason (25:20):

Iean we might some­times, but ulti­mate­ly what I put in my body -

Jor­dan (25:24):

Doc­tors have a lot of lia­bil­i­ty insur­ance as a result of that. Well, that’s true. But yeah.

Jason (25:29):

I was some­thing I was lis­ten­ing to recent­ly though, and I’d have to find the kind of source for this, but they said 80% of your phys­i­cal health, or 80% of your health out­comes are just phys­i­cal lifestyle things that you do. And 20% are hered­i­tary, more clin­i­cal kind of stuff.

Jor­dan (25:50):

Some you lit­er­al­ly can’t control.

Jason (25:51):

Con­trol, which means that, hey, that 80% I’m pri­mar­i­ly respon­si­ble for what are my sleep habits? Yes. What do I eat? Do I exer­cise? Min­i­mal­ly, so on and so forth.

Jor­dan (26:03):

But there is this idea that your employ­er con­trols one-third of your time can determine -

Jason (26:13):

Which is significant.

Jor­dan (26:13):

Where you work and when you work, and how many meet­ings you’re in and so forth. And so in that sense, I think there is a shared respon­si­bil­i­ty even on the phys­i­cal health side to cre­ate a con­ducive environment.

Jason (26:25):

So I think that’s the impor­tant thing, is mak­ing sure that we’re help­ing to remove some of that ten­sion. So this sur­vey of HR lead­ers that I did recent­ly actu­al­ly high­light­ed the fact that the per­cep­tion of HR folks for the most part is that there’s a sig­nif­i­cant ten­sion between the needs of employ­ees and the needs of the busi­ness. And so I think what we need to help do is sort of fig­ure out where the areas that the inter­ests are aligned. And I think that comes back again to the human flour­ish­ing, right? Yes. Well, I think the inter­ests can be aligned around these areas where when indi­vid­u­als are doing bet­ter is bet­ter for the busi­ness in terms of pro­duc­tiv­i­ty, attract and retain, so on and so forth.

Jor­dan (27:11):

But there’s some beliefs I think, that need to be turned around for that to actu­al­ly work. If work is just bad. And the avoid­ance of work is real­ly the whole goal, and it lit­er­al­ly does­n’t mat­ter what an employ­er does.

Jason (27:23):


Jor­dan (27:24):

You could pay great wages, you could give great ben­e­fits, great pto, et cetera, but real­ly the whole goal is just to work as lit­tle as pos­si­ble and to get paid as much as pos­si­ble for it.

Jason (27:33):


Jor­dan (27:34):

Right? Yeah. You can’t fix that one. Peo­ple have to adopt this atti­tude that work is good and work is mean­ing­ful. And it’s actu­al­ly part of being that ful­ly inte­grat­ed adult with a mis­sion, with a pur­pose with char­ac­ter. That work is part of how I play out in the the­ater of the world, the thing that I’ve been put on this world to do. Right? Yeah. Right.

Jason (27:58):

Well, yeah, yeah, total­ly agree.

Jor­dan (28:02):

The last sec­tion here, just so we can more ful­ly cov­er the Deloitte study, and less our own mus­ings for once. The left side of the lega­cy think­ing, the best solu­tion is to offer perks and ben­e­fits. Orga­ni­za­tions believe their role in work­force well­be­ing stops at the offer­ing of ben­e­fit pack­ages, opt-in pro­grams and well­ness perks. Man, have we seen that? And the right side, orga­ni­za­tion­al struc­tures impact well­be­ing. So well­be­ing is a mea­sur­able out­come of the way orga­ni­za­tions are designed and the norms that deter­mine how work is done. So not to say ben­e­fits are bad, perks are bad, opt-in pro­grams are bad well­ness pro­gram, those things are great. The prob­lem is the box check­ing atti­tude of just like, look I gave you the stuff!

Jason (28:48):

A hun­dred percent.

Jor­dan (28:49):

Love the stuff. Use the stuff, use it.

Jason (28:53):

It’s your responsibility.

Jor­dan (28:54):

It’s your responsibility.

Jason (28:55):

I’ve washed my hands.

Jor­dan (28:56):

Yeah, exact­ly. Done, right? Very Pon­tius Pilate. But this idea that it’s about the norms that deter­mine how work is done, the design of the cul­ture, the design of the work, again, it’s right back to this cul­ti­vat­ing the right environment.

Jason (29:13):

Yeah. Yeah, a hun­dred per­cent. So I mean, to me, what stands out in that is that we’re talk­ing about the employ­ee expe­ri­ence is sort of how I would sum­ma­rize these. If you were to com­bine perks, ben­e­fits, orga­ni­za­tion­al struc­tures, so on and so forth, all these things that impact, I’d just call that that is the employ­ee expe­ri­ence, right? And it has to be designed with inten­tion­al­i­ty. And that’s lit­er­al­ly the imper­a­tive I think of the HR pro­fes­sion now. It’s not just ben­e­fits, it’s not just what­ev­er silo com­pli­ance admin­is­tra­tion that HR has often been put in. I think the key role that HR has to play, and prob­a­bly only they can unique­ly play, is this design­er of the employ­ee expe­ri­ence because they stand in between the needs of the busi­ness and exec­u­tive teams and so on and so forth. And the peo­ple, they’re most capa­ble and in the posi­tion to under­stand what the peo­ple need and what the busi­ness needs.

Jor­dan (30:16):

I don’t know that you know this, but we have a per­son at Fringe whose title is an Employ­ee Expe­ri­ence Design­er. Did you know that that’s the title? I did­n’t know that.

Jason (30:24):

I knew that,

Jor­dan (30:26):

Which I kind of thought was at the time that that title was giv­en a very kind of nov­el idea. I had not seen that out there, but I think it is a real­ly apropo descrip­tion of exact­ly what the role should be. Last thing I’ll say on this is the lan­guage here, the norms that deter­mine how work is done, norms is a soft word for rules, the rules of engage­ment. And it’s so impor­tant. I was lis­ten­ing to some­thing recent­ly about games, and we’re going to talk about this next week. I think we’re going to talk about play, right? But the idea around games, games don’t work unless there’s rules, right? You can’t play a game, you can’t enjoy a game, you can’t have any pre­dictabil­i­ty that any cer­tain strat­e­gy is going to yield a cer­tain out­come because it, it’s just kind of chaos, right? And chil­dren play games this way some­times, espe­cial­ly small chil­dren, or they change the rules as they go along, or they have no rules at all, or they break them with no consequence.


And then what imme­di­ate­ly hap­pens and ensues is chaos, right? It’s fight­ing and scream­ing and yelling and he’s cheat­ing and he lied and he like what­ev­er. Yes. And I think this is on the right side, by the way. This is the for­ward think­ing side, right? So I think when we think about, well, there’s rules and there’s norms and there’s, it’s too but­toned up. It’s too old school. But actu­al­ly, I think what gives peo­ple the abil­i­ty to have free­dom in their work and the abil­i­ty to thrive in their work is to know what is the ide­al? What are we like here? How do we work? How do we treat each oth­er? When do we work? Where do we work? You might be flex­i­ble about that answer, but you have an answer to those ques­tions. And I think some­times I can be guilty of maybe giv­ing peo­ple this impres­sion that’s just like, well, just do it how you do it, just do your thing. It’s cool. I want to be the bud­dy. I want to be the bro. And as opposed to think­ing, no, actu­al­ly we have a well thought out way that we get work done and how we treat each oth­er, how we do that work, and putting some para­me­ters in place and actu­al­ly putting some, we used to talk about chil­dren a lot, but I actu­al­ly putting some rules in place, rules of engage­ment is actu­al­ly quite free­ing and leads to wellbeing.

Jason (32:49):

We can’t win some­thing if you don’t under­stand the rules.

Jor­dan (32:52):

You don’t know how the game is played.

Jason (32:53):

Or if there are no rules. So we need those to under­stand how we’re mak­ing progress and so forth. And there’s real­ly inter­est­ing research on all that stuff too, because if we’re not mak­ing obvi­ous progress in ways that make sense to us, then it actu­al­ly caus­es stress and so on. And so those norms and rules are actu­al­ly real­ly impor­tant. And I think what’s kind of being spec­i­fied is not the fact that there aren’t norms today, but they’re the wrong ones.

Jor­dan (33:17):

Right? They’re arbitrary.

Jason (33:20):

They’re arbi­trary. We need new norms. The world’s changed. How we work’s changed. Peo­ple have changed, their expec­ta­tions have changed. Our life expe­ri­ence just with the world has changed. So we need new norms.

Jor­dan (33:33):

So I’ll recap that as we are wrap­ping up the episode. Work is a deter­mi­nant of well­be­ing. Well­be­ing is a shared respon­si­bil­i­ty. I think that’s super impor­tant. I think we can’t go old school and just say, well, you know what? You want to be hap­py, fig­ure that out at home. But when you’re here, you work. And we can’t also swing the pen­du­lum too far. And just like, oh, wel­come to the asy­lum. We’re going to make every­thing per­fect for you and every­thing we’re going to take care of every sin­gle need.

Jason (34:05):

The asy­lum. I dun­no why you chose that word.

Jor­dan (34:05):

I don’t know why I chose that word either, but it just makes me crazy think­ing about this idea of, yeah, you, your job to make me happy.

Jason (34:13):

It’s like it’s preschool or something.

Jor­dan (34:15):

Shared respon­si­bil­i­ty, right? Yeah.

Jason (34:17):

Come on in. Just have fun.

Jor­dan (34:18):

Yeah. Right. Yeah, no rules. Just enjoy yourself.

Jason (34:21):

Play at the stations.

Jor­dan (34:23):

And then last­ly, orga­ni­za­tion­al struc­tures impact well­be­ing. And so I think Jason put it incred­i­bly well. It real­ly, the job, the whole pur­pose of HR at this point is real­ly just think­ing about design­ing an employ­ee expe­ri­ence in which peo­ple know the rules of engage­ment. They know how to be suc­cess­ful. They’re ful­ly inte­grat­ed adults that have known and have been trained how to think through their pur­pose and their mis­sion in life and how that aligns to the mis­sion of the com­pa­ny or does­n’t. And if it does­n’t, we kind of coach ​‘em out so they can go find align­ment. I think that is the job these days, not to check box­es, not to just throw ben­e­fits and perks and offer­ings and check those box­es off, but to real­ly design a con­ducive envi­ron­ment for wellbeing.

Jason (35:14):


Jor­dan (35:14):

Yeah. So hit me up with the word of the day next week so I can be in preparation.

Jason (35:22):

Word of the day for our next episode is Equivocal.

Jor­dan (35:26):

Equiv­o­cal, equiv­o­cal. Equiv­o­cal. Yeah. Which is not equiv­a­lent or equal or equi­table or I’m going to have to look that one up. I know the pre­fix, but that’s about it. Well, thank you for lis­ten­ing to How Peo­ple Work this week. I real­ly enjoyed, Jason. Thanks for the prepa­ra­tion and the insights as usu­al, and we’ll see you next week.

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