Helping Teams Internally First. You can’t help others without helping yourself first. Businesses have to scale internally before efficiently helping clients or customers. If you can’t keep up with your own business and everyone is unhappy, they won’t radiate the positive energy that clients and customers need.
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 Dan Pollock.
Dan Pollock, CEO of Advantis Global Inc. and Advantis Medical Staffing. He has 21+ years of experience in the recruiting, creative, and healthcare industry. He built a foundation of success connecting top-tier IT professionals, allied health, and travel nurses to opportunities across the USA. Within just 2 years, Advantis Medical Staffing was recognized as the #1 Travel Nurse Company by Bluepipes and Best Place to Work by Dallas Morning News.
Thank you for making time to visit with us about the topic of our time. 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?
One of Advantis’ core values is rooted in CARE. Care for ourselves, our teams and our communities. At Advantis we always champion the idea health and family come first, then work. We believe our mental, physical and financial wellness are top priority to best contribute, perform and lead at Advantis.
At Advantis, we provide all employees 3 weeks of paid time off annually to allow for a work life balance. In addition to paid time off, we also offer CARE days. A CARE day is a paid day off quarterly that can be used for mental health breaks or any other well-being reasons.
Measuring wellness for Advantis comes in many forms. With mid-year and annual surveys we add wellness based questions to measure across our remote and in-house teams. We also encourage our leadership to prioritize weekly check–ins with their team members to build strong relationships with our staff and build on trust and communication amongst each other. Finally, we host wellness initiative competitions amongst our internal employees. For example, for mental health awareness month we’ll be hosting a ‘commit to be fit’ competition utilizing a third party app to measure steps and activity amongst our teams and rewarding those who participate but also the winning teams will donate a set monetary donation on behalf of the company towards their favorite charities.
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? 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?
The leadership team and I are constantly prioritizing our culture here at Advantis. We believe in positivity, adding value to all of our stakeholders and caring for one other. In our minds creating a supportive and inclusive culture is an important component to supporting the mental health of our team members. Positive culture enables positive thoughts. Positive thoughts lead to positive words and actions. And yes, we spend money annually to evolve our culture and spend a much more precious resource on it, which is time. A leader votes with their time. A leader must model the behavior they want to see in their teams, connect with each person on a personal level and involve them in the running of the business. Doing this creates an incredible feedback loop of positivity and accountability which enables peer to peer support and ultimately happier colleagues and those we get to connect with daily whether it be internally, our clients or our contractors.
Speaking of money matters, a recent Gallup study reveals employees of all generations rank wellbeing as one of their top three employer search criteria. How are you incorporating wellness programs into your talent recruitment and hiring processes?
Recruiting and staffing at our core is what we do best. We’re also very transparent about our benefits and wellness programs like 3 weeks paid time off in their first year, quarterly care days, access to Employee Resource Groups (ERGS), fitness challenges, office accommodations, all-expense paid President’s Club trips for high performers, and plenty of leadership opportunities. Our recruiters always encourage talent to ask as many questions as possible about anything that may worry them. If current employees have certain career advancement goals, we’re also happy to walk them through the path to promotion. One of my greatest joys as an entrepreneur is empowering our employees and helping them hit their first $100k, especially early on their careers.
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.
- Mental Wellness: We offer an employee assistance program that offers mental health resources to our staff through our benefits packages. We also offer a series of affinity groups that allow for safe spaces to build on opportunities of mental wellness and belonging. We offer a variety of Employee Resource Groups (ERG)s to make everyone feel like they belong somewhere in the company. We have a Veteran group, Women in Leadership, Parents at Advantis, and many more in the works. Our employees have found that it grants them a safe space to walk about a variety of things and enjoy company from other life-minded individuals.
- Emotional Wellness: Everyone wants to feel appreciated. The quickest way is to send appreciation gifts. We love celebrating birthdays, promotions, anniversaries, and record breaking milestones. We do this through branded swag, gift cards, blankets, or even gifts for newborns! Showing our employees that they’re valuable and essential to the team is important for positive mental health.
- Social Wellness: We often host relationship building events. They can be concert outings, parties, cooking classes, or all-inclusive vacation trips for our record breakers. It gives your team a chance to connect deeply with others outside of work and create an emotional support group.
- Physical Wellness: For our remote employees we do run voluntary quarterly fitness challenges and track progress through apps. We have done virtual yoga classes in the past and encourage fitness breaks throughout the day. Our in-person employees routinely work out in office building gym or take classes at lunch time, which we encourage.
- Financial Wellness: Each quarter we have have financial advisors give presentations on wealth building strategies to help employees manage their personal finances. Finances aren’t easy for everyone and we get that. We want to be able to support them inside and outside of work.
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?
If you have good people working on your team, you want to try your best to retain them. Chances are, they’re currently getting at least 2–3 offers from other companies a month, even without actively searching for a new position. Improving employee wellness will help increase retention, which also decreases new hiring and training costs.
Additionally, by word of mouth, your business would be viewed as more progressive, caring, and ideal as a workplace. For example, when Google first publicly introduced their office workplace benefits, they were well-respected by the public and received multitudes of new applications from talent.
Do not underestimate the power of employee wellness!
How are you reskilling leaders in your organization to support a “Work Well” culture?
At Advantis Global and Advantis Medical Staffing, we offer mentorship programs with open conversations about life, careers, business, or anything that might need unloading. It gives our future leaders opportunities to learn from current managers and executives.
We’re also huge advocates for reskilling and career growth. Being in the recruiting industry, there’s always room to grow and advance your career. We like to invest in our team and cover for any expenses for courses or seminars. We’re also working on offering the same structure to the talent in our pipeline that we recruit for clients. If there’s a hunger for knowledge, there’s an abundance of resources available.
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?
Stop assuming and start listening. Stop thinking everything is perfect. There’s always something to work on and the best way to find out what needs to be improved or implement is to listen to your team. Encourage 1-on-1 calls with team members, group check-ins, and surveys. Make sharing opinions within the workplace a good and positive action to encourage others to speak up. Don’t brush off any concerns or suggestions from others. If the notion came up, there’s a reason for it. So take a moment and start listening to the brilliant people working with you.
What are your “Top 5 Trends To Track In the Future of Workplace Wellness?”
- Work From Anywhere. Remote and hybrid work is becoming the new norm since the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Many businesses like Advantis Global and Advantis Medical Staffing switched over to hybrid and remote work for the safety of our employees. In some cases, we had found that some of our team loved the change and thrived in remote work. To stay competitive when talent sourcing, businesses will have to adopt the new norm.
- Improved Benefit Packs. It’s no surprise that skilled talent is hard to find. When you find quality talent, you’ll want to bring them onto your team and retain them. Businesses will be competing for experts in their field with increased benefits (better healthcare, more PTO, workplace flexibility, sign-on bonuses, etc).
- Humanizing Leaders. Although it’s important to maintain a certain level of authority, it’s also important to remind your team that you’re human. Leaders becoming more open to communication will help make them more approachable, and in turn improve the workplace culture.
- Helping Teams Internally First. You can’t help others without helping yourself first. Businesses have to scale internally before efficiently helping clients or customers. If you can’t keep up with your own business and everyone is unhappy, they won’t radiate the positive energy that clients and customers need.
- Adopting New Technologies. Automation is king for us. Technology never stops moving. Improving our internal workflows to work smarter not only improves our business but it allows for teams to work at a less stressful capacity. With the introduction of Metaverse, many opportunities to improve workplace wellness are being opened up. From working more efficiently and virtual events to meeting rooms. Staying on top of IT news will become more important than ever to improve workplace wellness.
What is your greatest source of optimism about the future of workplace wellness?
Prioritizing workplace wellness is obviously the right thing to do. The companies which do not will fall further and further behind. The best talent will gravitate to the companies which use culture & purpose as a platform to then enhance the overall wellness of their employees. The talent of today has made their expectations clear and they require a company to focus on wellness. As more and more CEOs make improvements in wellness we will see a happier & healthier workforce.
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?
For healthcare staffing news and travel nursing, https://www.advantismed.com/.
For IT staffing news and getting connected to job opportunities, https://www.advantisglobal.com/.
Thank you for sharing your insights and predictions. We appreciate the gift of your time and wish you continued success and wellness.