Set intentions. What are the actions and behaviors people can instill to help generate energy and momentum? Create a sense of ownership and position your organization for success by instilling an inclusive approach by involving your employees in setting intentions.

The pandemic pause brought us to a moment of collective reckoning about what it means to live well and to work well. As a result, employees are sending employers an urgent signal that they are no longer willing to choose one — life or work — at the cost of the other. Working from home brought life literally into our work. And as the world now goes hybrid, employees are drawing firmer boundaries about how much of their work comes into their life. Where does this leave employers? And which perspectives and programs contribute most to progress? In our newest interview series, Working Well: How Companies Are Creating Cultures That Support & Sustain Mental, Emotional, Social, Physical & Financial Wellness, we are talking to successful executives, entrepreneurs, managers, leaders, and thought leaders across all industries to share ideas about how to shift company cultures in light of this new expectation. We’re discovering strategies and steps employers and employees can take together to live well and to work well.

As a part of this series, we had the pleasure of interviewing Amy Clark.

Amy Clark is a bestselling author, executive coach, and human resources leader who provides meaningful management and leadership development coaching that drives measurable business outcomes. She has more than more than 20 years of valuable corporate business experience at various Fortune 500 companies and national non-profit organizations, serving in positions such as Vice President of Talent Management and Chief Human Resources Officer. She founded Growth Minded Leadership Group to help visionary, growth-minded leaders take actionable steps today to be more successful tomorrow and shares her methodology in her bestselling book, Growth Point.

Thank you for making time to visit with us about the topic of our time. Our readers would like to get to know you better. Tell us about a formative experience that prompted you to change your relationship with work and how work shows up in your life.

In September 2020, I was a byproduct of a corporate restructure and found myself out of a job for the first time in my adult life. Not only that, but I was with the company for 15 years and the idea of not having a purpose through work felt uncomfortable. This was a pivotal moment for me. I found myself yearning for more knowing my purpose was deeper and that I could make a bigger contribution.

I took this time to reflect on what I wanted to do vs. what I should do. I reassessed my priorities and realized that I needed to work in an organization that was purposeful and where I could also pursue my passion for leadership coaching, thought leadership, and writing. It was also important for me to put my stamp on something, build something that had meaning and a positive impact on others.

My work is part of my life. I do not consider it a balance. I consider it integrating the best parts of me to live my best life. I am fueled by the work I get to do with leaders and the experiences I have with my family. Each help make me better and gain perspective to remind me of what is most important: that I contribute to the lives of others — be it my family and friends or those I serve through my work in Human Resources and leadership coaching and development.

Harvard Business Review predicts that wellness will become the newest metric employers will use to analyze and to assess their employees’ mental, physical and financial health. How does your organization define wellness, and how does your organization measure wellness?

Wellness is about meeting people where they are, so you understand what fulfillment means to the individual. Supporting the whole person means you are instilling an inclusive approach, helping your team be at their best in all areas of their life and shows you care about their wellbeing. Wellness is a multi-dimensional approach — be it physical, mental, financial, social, and career — and it starts with understanding one’s purpose and what they value. Employing a macro view will help organizations and their leaders amplify their awareness and become more skillful in how to integrate wellness into your culture and measure its impacts.

Organizations that implement engagement and/or pulse surveys will find they have will receive insightful information about their people, see where there are commonalities and outliers. This will provide a baseline to assess progress of your wellness programs over time. Participation in wellness programs is also a key metric. In partnership with vendors that provide services, you can get a picture of utilization and compare to benchmarks to understand if what you are offering is of value to your employees.

Based on your experience or research, how do you correlate and quantify the impact of a well workforce on your organization’s productivity and profitability?

I ‘ve learned that any long-term productivity, profitability, and success correlates closely with a well workforce. Wellness — overall wellness of individuals and the collective team — is a requirement for continued growth.

Even though most leaders have good intentions when it comes to employee wellness, programs that require funding are beholden to business cases like any other initiative. The World Health Organization estimates for every $1 invested into treatment for common mental health disorders, there is a return of $4 in improved health and productivity. That sounds like a great ROI. And, yet many employers struggle to fund wellness programs that seem to come “at the cost of the business.” What advice do you have to offer to other organizations and leaders who feel stuck between intention and impact?

Take a step back at what you envision for your organization. What is it that you want to be known for, what you deliver to those that rely on your product or service? Your vision is only as good as the talent you attract, nurture, and inspire to deliver on what you promise. The important question to ask is: What will is cost us if we do not invest in employee wellness?

The relationship your leaders have with their team has the greatest impact on employee engagement and whether they feel a sense of personal accomplishment a fulfillment — key to creating an environment where you show wellbeing matters. Developing engagement and wellness specific goals for your leaders will place focus on the right things. Leaders who take the time to get to know their people, the challenges they are facing, and their outlook for the future will demonstrate care for what is important for them in their career. Employees will demonstrate a vested interest in everyone’s success, positively impacting organizational effectiveness.

Speaking of money matters, a recent Gallup study reveals employees of all generations rank well-being as one of their top three employer search criteria. How are you incorporating wellness programs into your talent recruitment and hiring processes?

This can be embedded into an organization’s employer value proposition: what it is you promise to those that join your organization. It not only includes core benefits such as health, dental, retirement savings, time off, etc., but extends into the values of the organization and how it aligns with the expectations of the talent you are looking to attract and retain. This also extends into the opportunities of growth and development one can expect to be available and how the connections built with others bring meaning to the work.

We’ve all heard of the four-day work week, unlimited PTO, mental health days, and on-demand mental health services. What innovative new programs and pilots are you launching to address employee wellness? And, what are you discovering? We would benefit from an example in each of these areas.

I encourage leaders to co-create so employees help shape and create the programs they use and benefit from. The innovation is within your talent pool — ask them to design and create — even within certain bounds — and you will discover a host of options.

How are you reskilling leaders in your organization to support a “Work Well” culture?

Take a holistic change management approach. Ensure your leaders have awareness as to why this is important for the individual and the organization so leaders rally behind a clear vision for working well and what it means. By taking this step, organizations will have a deeper understanding of what leadership skills need to be developed to enhance workplace relationships. Finally, create measures to reinforce its importance by demonstrating how investing in wellness will enable achievement of organizational goals.

Ideas take time to implement. What is one small step every individual, team, or organization can take to get started on these ideas — to get well?

Set intentions. What are the actions and behaviors people can instill to help generate energy and momentum? Create a sense of ownership and position your organization for success by instilling an inclusive approach by involving your employees in setting intentions.

What is your greatest source of optimism about the future of workplace wellness?

I believe our thinking has transformed, particularly in areas of mental and emotional wellness. We are now talking about the stigma — demanding that it be removed — and agree that businesses have a responsibility to help their employees live their best life. Businesses have the power and ability to continue to shift perception and influence what service providers offer. Furthermore, leaning in to educating others about the impact of wellness on business success will reinforce the business case that it must be a core part of delivering experiences that employees value and bring long-lasting fulfillment.

Our readers often like to continue the conversation with our featured interviewees. How can they best connect with you and stay current on what you’re discovering?

Connect with me on LinkedIn or join my growth community by visiting my website:

Thank you for sharing your insights and predictions. We appreciate the gift of your time and wish you continued success and wellness.