Employers will have to offer better health insurance benefits that include mental health resources for their employees.
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 Lillee Jean.
Lillian Jean, a young entertainer with an active online presence, offers beauty, health, and lifestyle tips via her social media accounts. She writes, produces, and directs her own IMDB-approved web series, “Lillee Jean TALKS! Live” (which is in its third season), and airs on her website, as well as her YouTube channel. Lillee Jean is a strong advocate for protective laws to be put into place regarding online bullying, as well as a strong advocate for mental health issue change.
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.
Coming from a family of entrepreneurs, I have always had a strong work ethic. It’s time for a change when your business starts to overshadow your personal life. I definitely juggle work as an entertainer with my personal life on a daily basis, it is sort of the nature of the business, but it is learning to handle that line that is crossed that is the most important thing. I realized that I was letting the stress of my business lifestyle affect my personal well-being and mental health, and I needed to fix that problem for myself. Keeping myself healthy is my first concern every day. If you are cognizant of what is going on in your life, you can definitely find a happy medium.
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?
The fact that companies are promoting mental health is a wonderful thing, and it is a great idea to support their employees so they can be the best partners for their companies. I am always looking out for our team’s success. People tend to show their bad days, or moments, through their actions. As the leader of the team, it is up to me to make sure that the people who work for me at all times are happy and healthy. To make a difference, you cannot simply be a good boss; you must also be a good friend.
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?
The question never even occurred to me. Each of us can make a difference in what we do by feeling loved, protected, and involved in a moment. The purpose of entertainment is to make people smile, as well as to make them aware. In order to maintain that standard, it is my goal for my team and myself to make each day meaningful. We want people who are healthy and happy to work for us.
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?
It seems that people generally degrade the process. This is like asking yourself, do I really need this, or can I live without it. In my view, an investment in employee mental health is one of the most valuable contributions you can make to your company’s growth. To ensure that your employees are happy and healthy on a mental and physical level, there are no shortcuts. We have evolved so much as a workforce, that this is no longer a conversation, but a necessity. It is a must. In my opinion, anyone who isn’t concerned about the welfare of the employees is taking a shortcut to ensuring business growth.
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?
In spite of our small size, we believe we can have the greatest advantage for our company’s and our brand’s growth if we protect our team’s wellbeing. It’s an open door situation, where everyone knows the other can come to you if they need help. We keep track of what’s going on in everyone’s life. My perspective is that such a simplistic approach is necessary in a situation. The most important thing is to care about your colleagues.
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:
- Emotional Wellness:
- Social Wellness:
- Physical Wellness:
- Financial Wellness:
In my organization, I encourage trust. My team has been with me since the beginning, and I am fortunate to have such independent thinkers. It is extremely important for me that people who work with me feel able to take care of their families, as well as take care of things they need to do personally for themselves, as well as feel mentally calm and energized. When people are allowed to have this sort of freedom, I find it does not hinder them from doing their jobs well. Shortened work weeks are supported because I know the end result will be far superior to forcing people to conform to an old theorem of the nine to five, five day work week. We don’t assign unrealistic goals to our team or force them to work unreasonably long hours. In my experience, the workflow produced and received by allowing my team to provide input and tell us what their needs and wants are is far superior. The fact that we are mentally, emotionally, physically, and socially aware of our team members’ mood, wants, and needs has significantly benefited their mental, emotional, physical, and social wellbeing.
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?
In my opinion, many workplaces would find that letting go of old ideas and changing the way they think would result in more productive employees that contribute more to the company’s bottom line. It would be worthwhile for a company to at least give it a trial run, to see if this is a good fit for your organization. I personally cannot envision us working otherwise.
How are you reskilling leaders in your organization to support a “Work Well” culture?
We discuss what’s happening on our team at least once a week. It is important to know what’s going on in everyone’s life. The people in my company have become a family, and the culture has been one of teamwork and camaraderie. Fortunately, reskilling is not a necessity. However, retraining ideas might be a challenge for people who are set in their ways.
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?
Starting to trust those who work for you would be a good first step. It is important to embrace change. Trust the people who handle your affairs. Changing even these small details can have a profound impact on your work environment.
What are your “Top 5 Trends To Track In the Future of Workplace Wellness?”
1. I believe companies will need to invest further in their employees’ futures in order to manage ongoing issues, beyond the pandemic; I believe that mental health services will rise and thrive.
2. Redefining job benefits in general will occur; I think employers are going to find a more savvy movement from people looking for jobs; companies with attractive packages and I don’t just mean better health benefits, and vacations, but flexible days, working remotely, etc., are going to become a deciding factor in quality candidates working for a company;
3. Financial stability; I think that you are going to see companies shifting more towards fostering a financial well being for their employees;
4. Employers will have to offer better health insurance benefits that include mental health resources for their employees;
5. Remote stress management through global wellness programs is also likely to become the new norm in the coming years.
What is your greatest source of optimism about the future of workplace wellness?
There is inherent goodness in people, and I believe that companies will change with the new ideology to bring better benefits to people. Companies must evolve in order to grow.
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?
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCGQF-GZ2oWfgb1NN3QtJJlA (Lillee Jean)
Websites: https://www.lilleejean.com and https://www.lilleejeanbeauty.com
Digital Art: https://www.deviantart.com/lilleejean
Thank you for sharing your insights and predictions. We appreciate the gift of your time and wish you continued success and wellness.