Just do it. Investing in your employees is always money well spent. And, while leaders may not get written or verbal validation to understand how much this investment is impacting employees’ well-beings, they must embrace this effort as essential to authentically engage and inspire their people.

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 Littleton.

Amy Littleton is the president of Reputation Partners. She is a PR strategist and business leader focusing on delivering powerful communications and integrated brand activation programs to business and consumer clients.

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.

As I was finishing business school, I got the opportunity to join an agency that had a great brand but was in a rebuilding mode. This gave me the chance at a young age to help steer and grow an established business. It was invigorating to see the sky was the limit and it set me on a long path of new experiences, professional development and business growth.

Harvard Business Review predicts 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 all encompassing, including emotional, social, financial and physical. At Reputation Partners, wellness has always been and will continue to be a driving focus of our policies and programs. For us, wellness is a metric of success. We are constantly reviewing our policies and programs to ensure we provide best-in-class offerings for our 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?

If productivity is the foundation of profitability, then being happy and healthy is the foundation of productivity.

It is proven that employees who feel supported by their employers are likely to turn to their employers for support when they need it. This kind of open relationship is helpful to make sure employees are taking care of themselves as well as the company. It is the kind of relationship we strive for at Reputation Partners.

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. 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?

Just do it. Investing in your employees is always money well spent. And, while leaders may not get written or verbal validation to understand how much this investment is impacting employees’ well-beings, they must embrace this effort as essential to authentically engage and inspire their people.

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?

At Reputation Partners, we are continuously challenging ourselves to deliver best-in-class support to our team. We communicate our commitment to work-life balance with all prospective and new employees throughout the interview process starting with an initial screening. On the first day of employment, our HR function delivers a well-planned onboarding that goes through wellness benefits that begin on the first day of employment. We don’t put unnecessary waiting periods on our benefits. We want our employees have our great benefits from the get-go. Our commitment is to ensure employees are set up for success from day one.

We’ve all heard of the four-day work week, unlimited PTO, mental health day 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.

This year, our senior leadership team conducted a thorough review of our benefits and recognized a few opportunities to enhance them — and we swiftly did so.

In September, we enhanced our parental leave policy to help support new parents. We increased the benefit in terms of paid time covered for both primary and secondary caregivers.

In addition, recognizing that the pandemic introduced new challenges to everyday life, we introduced a $75 monthly wellness stipend to be used for services that improve physical, emotional and mental wellbeing. We are supporting and encouraging our employees to tackle these challenges with a bit of selfcare.

Can you please tell us more about a couple of specific ways workplaces would benefit from investing in your ideas above to improve employee wellness?

I can’t think of a single workplace culture that wouldn’t benefit from a continual review and renewed investment in their benefits. I urge leaders to not focus so much on the outcomes, but rather focus on the authenticity and impact of your efforts on your workplace culture. This is what matters most. Mental health and emotional wellbeing are not areas to trim expenses.

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

At Reputation Partners, we are fortunate we don’t need to reskill leader in this area. We are diligent in our recruitment process and only hire employees who champion a work well culture. We do recognize that trends change and work diligently to stay abreast of those changes and enhance or implement new policies and programs as needed. We also invest in a workplace wellness consultant who really is our eyes and ears in the space.

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?

Sit down with your senior leadership team and have an honest conversation about how your workplace is really doing. With so many remote workplaces and employees, a pulse check on things like turnover, morale and burn out can be productive to help consider what policies and programs may be helpful to address pressing needs that have arisen from the new workplace set up. Don’t assume if you’re not hearing anything from your employees that nothing is wrong. It is ideal to get ahead of issues when it comes to culture.

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

My greatest source of optimism is people. People are resilient. They want growth and opportunity. At Reputation Partners, we are fortunate to be building something special with people we like and respect.

When we create a workplace that is transparent and open, when we treat people with respect, and when hold each other accountable for results, we can build something great.

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?

I encourage readers to connect with me on LinkedIn and check out our website (www.reputationpartners.com) for open positions.

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