How to Build Strong Company Culture Through Greater Engagement
For Your Benefits
For Your Benefits
How to Build Strong Company Culture Through Greater Engagement
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How to Build Strong Company Culture Through Greater Engagement

Nearly half of job seekers say that company culture is an important factor in their employment decision-making. One way to drive optimal company culture is by improving employee engagement. It can also promote profitability, increase employee satisfaction, improve recruitment and retention.

In this episode, Brad Shuck, EdD, a recognized thought-leader in employee engagement and leadership, shares his extensive research on the value of employee engagement and how corporate leaders can (and should) build and sustain a strong company culture.

We discuss:

  • How to define engagement and company culture
  • The importance of positive engagement
  • The ways engagement and company culture are intertwined
  • The ways dysfunctional leadership can negatively affect an organization
  • What organizational leaders can do to drive a strong company culture

Want to learn more about how to encourage engagement in your organization’s health and wellbeing program? Read “Four Key Factors for an Effective Employee Engagement Strategy” to discover tips on what you can do to drive program participation.

In This Podcast

Dr. Brad Shuck, University of Louisville Professor, How to Build Strong Company Culture Through Greater Engagement Podcast

Dr. Brad Shuck

Dr. Brad Shuck is an internationally recognized scholar, entrepreneur, and business thought leader in the areas of employee engagement and organizational culture. His work has been featured in international media outlets including Forbes, India’s Economic Times, and the Washington Post. Shuck is a tenured Full Professor of Human Resource and Organizational Development at the University of Louisville and Co-Founder of OrgVitals, a disruptive, purpose-built culture management software platform.

Meghan Henry:
Hey, everyone. Welcome back and thanks for joining this episode of For Your Benefits. I’m your host, Meghan Henry, Director of Marketing for SentryHealth. In today’s episode, we’ll be talking with Dr. Brad Shuck about the impact company culture has on employee engagement. We’ll discuss the principal drivers of employee engagement and why it’s important to drive an organization forward. Brad’s also going to share specific ways leaders can encourage better company culture to improve engagement.

So, a little bit about Brad. He’s a tenured Associate Professor and Program Director of Human Resources and Organizational Development at the University of Louisville. He’s also an internationally recognized scholar, entrepreneur, and thought leader in the areas of employee engagement, leadership, and employee health and wellbeing. Brad’s also the author of Employee Engagement: A Research Overview. Thanks for joining us today, Brad.

Brad Shuck:
I’m so excited to be here, Meghan, thank you so much for having me today, and I cannot wait to dig into this topic. Employee engagement, culture, building places of work where people can really thrive and flourish is personal to me. It’s something that I’ve thought about how it applies in my own life. And I’ve used myself as an experiment a lot in my own research, and we’ve really tried to understand what is this thing, we call engagement. What is this thing that we call culture and what do we do about it? And why does it really matter?

If I can, before we go much further, I want to talk directly to the audience for a minute and just say, thank you. The last 18, 24 months, they’ve been really stressful. And while I had a chance to pivot home and to work from home, I recognized that a lot of the people who may be listening today did not get that opportunity. They’re on the front lines, they’re on the front lines of a crisis that continues to unfold. And I recognize their hero status and I believe those folks to be absolute heroes, and I’m just so grateful. And I know that you must be tired, you must be stressed, you must be exhausted. You may be feeling things that you haven’t felt in a really long time. And if you’re listening, for this next hour or so, or 30, 45 minutes, there’s no expectation here. There’s just anticipation for you and for what could be. And I just wanted to take a minute and say, thank you.

What is Company Culture?

Meghan Henry:
Let’s dive in, Brad. I want to first talk about company culture. And I think before we discuss all the details of company culture, let’s talk about what is company culture and why should we even care?

Brad Shuck:
Yeah. So, company culture happens on two different levels. Pre-pandemic, I think people thought of it as the policies and the procedures and the structures and the systems and the ways that work occurs on a day-to-day, month-to-month basis. I think right now, what company culture means is the way that we are connected, the way that we collaborate, and then the way that work gets done, on an individual day-to-day basis. Culture is really about that experience of work. How do I feel about work? How do I feel about what’s happening around me? Do I feel supported? Do I support other people? Or am I actively reaching out? Are folks actively reaching out to me? And so, culture really is how work is getting done every day.

What is Employee Engagement?

Meghan Henry:
Okay. So, we’ve got company culture, and then we talk about how company culture affects employee engagement. So, tell me a little bit about, at its core, what’s employee engagement then?

Brad Shuck:
Yeah. So, to be honest with you, we could ask every person listening to this podcast, what employee engagement is, and they’re going to come up with a different definition of what that is. And here’s the difficult thing about employee engagement, you cannot buy employee engagement on Amazon. It doesn’t go on discount on Prime Day. You can’t go to the grocery store and get more engagement. It doesn’t sit on a shelf someplace. We have a very difficult time seeing it and holding it. I’m unable to hold it in my hand. And so, because of that, it can be difficult to spot sometimes. But I tell you what, we know it when we feel it. We know it when we feel it in our work, but also when we see it and feel it in our colleagues. When we’re collaborating on a completely different level, we’re totally in the flow.

We define employee engagement as the maintenance, the intensity, and the direction of effort and energy that we give to something. So, let me just pause there for a second, maintenance, the intensity, and the direction. So, it’s how long I’m willing to sustain this. And to be clear, engagement cannot, is not, an unending reservoir of engagement energy that we all have. There are these natural ebbs and flows that have to happen. When we pour out a lot, into a big project or a stressful situation, it’s very common for us to need to rest and recoup. Directionality has to do with what are we engaged with. Engagement for engagement’s sake isn’t a vacuum. It doesn’t mean anything.

My wife teaches kindergarten, and one of my favorite things to do is to go into her class. I can’t do this right now, but pre-pandemic, I could. I would go into her class and you can imagine, 25 little 5-year-olds running around the room all the time. And my job was to rile them up. I would tell jokes and we would run around the room and then I would be like, “Okay, I got to go. See you guys.” And I would turn the class back over to my wife. I would imagine engagement for engagement’s sake, looks a little bit like a chaotic kindergarten classroom, just people running around all over the place.

And then the intensity is how much of myself I’m willing to give, how much of my energy or my creativity. We see this sometimes when people raise their hands in meetings. I mean, how many times have we been in a meeting before and somebody’s asked a question, we know the answer to the question, but we don’t raise our hand. Am I willing to put myself out there? And so, that maintenance, intensity, and direction of the effort and energy that we give the work, is really how we define what employee engagement is.

High-Levels of Employee Engagement to Drive Company Culture

Meghan Henry:
So, as a leader, as a company leader, why do I care? Why do I care if my employees are engaged, not engaged? Or why do I care about the level of engagement that I might be seeing in my organization?

Brad Shuck:
That’s a terrific question, and I think that’s a really fair question. I want to answer that on two different levels. The first is, organizationally speaking, engagement is related to almost every positive organizational outcome we can think of, from creativity and innovation to safety, to communication, to even by performance and profitability. There’s some recent work that is really linking up engagement to profit margins and high levels of performance, KPIs that are really driving organizational success. And so, from an organizational perspective, we should care about that because these things play in the same ballpark.

But I think, right now, engagement probably has never been more important. As a leader, as a person in a company, I should care because engagement impacts how I live my life, not only inside work. But our research is suggesting that there’s a work health connection. There’s a work-family connection. There’s a work community connection.

And when employees work in spaces in which they believe they can give their full energy, they can be engaged. What they also tell us is that they’re able to go home at night and be great husbands or great wives or great partners or great moms or great dads and great community members because they’re not drained. Engagement has this spiral-up effect that helps us live better lives in all atmospheres of our work.

And so, I think that engagement is important organizationally, but I just think engagement helps people live better lives throughout the whole spectrum of their life. And I only have to ask folks who might be listening about maybe a really disengaging experience they had, and if it was sustained, what it was like when they went home and how they felt and what their energy levels were like, and how it impacted their sleep. And so, we have really leaned into, organizationally this is important, but at an individual level, it’s absolutely crucial.

Correlation Between High Employee Engagement & Overall Health

Meghan Henry:
So, what I’m hearing is, is if you’re highly engaged at work you’re likely to be happier. I suspect you’re likely to be more supportive of the company goals and things like that. You’re probably more fun to work with, easier to work with, and probably more productive as well. Are there any studies, Brad, that talk about the correlation between high employee engagement and overall health, overall wellbeing? I mean, I assume there must be.

Brad Shuck:
Yeah, this is a great question. There absolutely is. The research team, and I’ll speak for a minute about the research that I’ve worked on with my team here at the University of Louisville, where we really tried to build the business case for creating spaces where engagement can flourish and thrive. And we looked at some health indicators, some things like sleep, eating behaviors, physical activity, and exercise. We looked at drinking behaviors. We looked at, do you go to a primary care physician? Do you do the kinds of health things that you need to be doing? And overwhelmingly, those who told us that they worked in places where they experienced high levels of engagement, slept better at night. They also drank less alcohol. They also made better-eating decisions and physical activity decisions.

Work Determinants of Health

Brad Shuck:
We’ve come up with a term called work determinants of health. It’s a new term, and it’s a play on social determinants of health. Social determinants of health are these systemic issues that impact health at a real social level. Well, we’re beginning to wonder, are there work experiences that also impact our health and can we isolate those experiences and then solve for those experiences that might be negative, and then elevate those experiences that might be really positive?

Catecholamine levels right now, cortisol levels, we’ve got some biodata that we’ve connected back with some social science measures. We’re really excited about what that research might tell us about how work is really impacting health. But there are absolute indicators there that our experiences of work absolutely impact our individual physical health and mental health as well. Things like stress, exhaustion, burnout, depression, and so on.

Meghan Henry:
Can the opposite be true? So, how you’re feeling physically, how you’re feeling mentally, can that affect your level of engagement at work?

Brad Shuck:
That isn’t a two-way road yet, that we’ve had a chance to look at because we’re trying to look at that work to health connection, but I can’t imagine that that’s not true.

Meghan Henry:
Anecdotally, it seems like it would be true, yeah.

Brad Shuck:
Absolutely. My question on that would be like, are you physically feeling not yourself, are you mentally feeling not yourself, and then the question of why. I think these things, they’re symbiotic. Our work is so much a part of our identity and our home lives are so much a part of our identity, that I can’t imagine that these things aren’t commingled in some way that how I’m feeling is also impacting my work and that these things are cyclical over time. Yeah, for sure.

Dysfunctional Leadership: How it Affects Culture

Meghan Henry:
Yep, that would make sense. So, let me jump back to leadership again. I’d be curious to know if let’s say there’s an organization that may have dysfunctional leadership or perhaps leadership that maybe isn’t as performing as highly as it could be, how does that affect employee engagement?

Brad Shuck:
It’s terrible.

Meghan Henry:
Shocking.

Brad Shuck:
Yeah, I know, I know. News alert to everyone out there. Dysfunctional leadership is bad for an organization. I know that’s super shocking.

Meghan Henry:
Oh, breaking news.

Brad Shuck:
We have a line of research that we call stinky leadership, and it’s a real disarming way to talk about really terrible experiences that people have at work. And we use the analogy of a skunk and much in the same way that my dog can be skunked. And it takes a lot of intentional work to clean my dog and get that stinky off of her. And even after that, there are still some lingering impacts. I don’t want her real close to me.

The same thing can happen to us at work with really toxic dysfunctional leaders. It takes intentional work, so it’s not something that once the leader’s just removed or once I move on, I free up my future in a different way and I move on, there’s still work that needs to happen. There are still conversations that need to happen. There’s healing that needs to happen in that space.

The interesting thing about this for me is when we looked at the behaviors of leaders that are the most toxic and the most dysfunctional. And we categorize these, we did a two-step study here where we looked at all the behaviors and then we tried to figure out, okay, can we rank these in some way. I would have expected that throwing staplers across the room or flipping tables over or yelling curse words at me and large meetings was the most dysfunctional thing that could happen, and those things did happen.

Meghan Henry:
That’s super dysfunctional, those are real things that happened.

Brad Shuck:
Yeah, if you’re listening, please don’t flip tables today or throw objects across rooms. But here’s the most dysfunctional thing that happened, that people told us that happened the most frequently and was the most traumatic for them, it’s being ignored. It’s when someone just ignores your presence. “You know that I’m physically here, but you choose to ignore me.” And I think this really folds into conversations that are increasingly important. Had they been important for a long time, but they’re getting their due now. And that’s conversations about inclusion, that’s conversations around equity, that’s conversations around purpose and belonging and connection. And when people feel ignored, we can expect disengagement. I don’t know why you wouldn’t expect anything other than that.

And the first time was kind of like, “Oh, well maybe they’re just having a bad day,” but then the second and the fifth and the 10th time that happens. I’ve been in workshops where we’ve talked about this and broken this concept down. And you’re looking and you’re watching people cry in the audience because they’ve had these really terrible experiences. Somebody’s given them a name and then also said, “That does not have to be your reality.” I want you to know you’re not alone because it feels very alone in the moment, and it also feels embarrassing and it’s awkward because maybe there’s something wrong with me. And when I talk about this being very personal, I had this happen to me and which is why I wanted to understand this. And I had a leader in my past, that was just dysfunctional. They weren’t abusive. They didn’t throw the stuff, but man, this person really did a toll on me mentally, and it took a long time for me to heal from that experience.

And so, we wanted to give a name to this and to talk about it, but then talk about the other side of it, like, okay, well, what happens when you don’t have a leader like that? Then you have somebody that pours into you, that checks in with you, that makes sure that you feel connected and you belong here, and that’s the currency of engagement. That’s the currency of what it means to be really in a place where you feel like there’s equity, there’s inclusion, and I can belong here. And those things are really important right now.

Meghan Henry:
Dysfunctional leaders, can they be rehabilitated? What can you do? I mean, are there things that we can do to help those leaders develop and grow?

Brad Shuck:
Of course, there are, but I will tell you, it’s difficult. Some of these are tendencies and habits that have developed over the years that have just been reinforced. And so, it’s breaking those down, isn’t an overnight thing. And there isn’t a 10 step process to rehabilitating your dysfunctional leader. There are things we can do. And personally, having worked in this space and worked with leaders before, some of it is about having conversations around accountability and saying, do you know?

I had one leader in particular that I worked with and I was very young in my career. I had zero business doing any executive coaching for somebody who had been in the industry for 40 plus years. And they put me in front of him and he believed himself to be the best leader in the company, and, “I’m amazing. I do all of this really great stuff and my performance metrics are high.” Which is one of the problems with dysfunctional leader sometimes is they tend to fly under that radar a little bit. And I said, “You realize that your entire staff hates coming to work. On Sunday night, they physically get ill in their stomach.”

Meghan Henry:
Way beyond the Sunday scaries. Yeah.

Brad Shuck:
Yes, way beyond the Sunday scaries. And when they’re driving in, they develop headaches.

Meghan Henry:
Oh, my gosh.

Brad Shuck:
Do you understand that everybody wants to quit?

Meghan Henry:
His entire staff?

Brad Shuck:
His entire staff. Well, he had a fairly large staff, to be honest with you. And this guy starts to, he was like, “That’s not me.” And I’m like, “Here’s the data. Here’s the de-identified data. These are the stories that people are telling.” And this guy, he was kind of shocked and he was upset and we had a really uncomfortable, but accountable conversation, like, all right, well, what can we begin to do differently? I’ll be honest, I don’t think that people get up in the morning, for the vast majority of people, and say, “I cannot wait to be dysfunctional today. I’m going to be a superhero dysfunction.” And I think what happens is there are conversations early in somebody’s career that just never happened. We just pass folks alone.

When we talk about compassion, which is an area of research that I’m really interested in right now, and done some modeling, accountability is a part of that compassionate leadership model, because having an accountable conversation is part of caring enough about somebody to have a difficult conversation. At the same time, we also have to hold this space of dignity. So, it isn’t about humiliating the person and saying, “Do you know how terrible of a person you are?” I mean, we want to say that sometimes, like I have totally wanted to say that.

Meghan Henry:
As you’re ducking the staplers being thrown at you.

Brad Shuck:
I’m dodging tables being thrown across the room and stuff, but it is about holding that space for that person. And I’m often so moved by someone’s story. The behavior that we see someone display is often an artifact of something that’s happened or a story that they’re telling themselves. And so, I like to peel that back when I can. It’s difficult, it’s hard, it takes trust.

Brené Brown talks about vulnerability, I think those things are really super important when we’re having conversations around, how do we change behavior? And I’ll tell you, in the same way, that it doesn’t work on my ten-year-old to say, “Hey, I need you to do this differently.” No one changes behavior because I tell them to do so. I can dismiss that.

I have all of these biases in my mind and within my belief systems, that I’m going to find a way to counteract that. Here’s how we move behavior change. It has to be felt. I have to believe it. I have to believe there’s something here for me, and I have to believe that I can do it. Otherwise, it’s not going to happen.

Meghan Henry:
What’s the point?

Brad Shuck:
Yeah, what’s the point?

Correlation Between Engagement & Company Culture

Meghan Henry:
Right. In the beginning, we did say that we were going to talk about company culture. So, I’d like to talk about that a little bit. Brad, let’s talk about the correlation between engagement and company culture. How do those two relate to each other?

Brad Shuck:
Yeah. So, they live in the same space. They play in the same ballpark for sure now. And company culture predicts employee engagement. It’s a predictive variable when we talk about how someone feels at work and vice versa. This is a two-way street and we’ve got some data to suggest that. I will tell you about when it comes to culture, a decade ago, employee engagement was the gold standard. It was everything. Oh, I just need my engagement score. And the higher I am, the better that I am. I just need that.

Today, culture’s a little bit more nuanced. And we want to think about things like mission and vision and conversations around equity and inclusion and mission and purpose and belonging. And so, while engagement has for such a long time been that gold standard, we are encouraging organizations that are really trying to drive positive organizational culture to really think more nuanced about how they’re measuring and the data that they’re using to drive that company culture.

Meghan Henry:
And I think if we look at maybe 30 years ago, company culture probably wasn’t even anything anyone cared about, talked about, or was concerned about. I think now, especially, I’ll say the kids that are graduating from college and are looking for jobs, it seems to be so much more important to them. And me, as a mother, it’s important as well.

Brad Shuck:
Absolutely.

Meghan Henry:
We’re working a lot these days. Gosh, a lot of us are working from home too. And I think, if I wasn’t working for a place that had a great company culture, what a miserable experience it would be, and would I even stick around, would I even have taken the job in the first place?

Brad Shuck:
Absolutely. We see culture as not only a recruitment differentiator but a retention differentiator as well. And so, not only does a really great culture where you can experience high levels of engagement. I love my work and I’m sold out to this work. Not only do I want to go to that place to work, and I’m telling everybody about it, but also at the same time, I don’t want to leave. I love this here. And I’ll tell you this, and you to bring it up, I’m going to bring it up, is the issue of pay here. Now, I think that pay, I will always say, if the pay is an issue in your company, it is the only issue you have. You have a distributive justice issue that you will never get over.

Brad Shuck:
We have to pay people enough money to take money off the table as an issue. However, beyond that, culture is the predictor. It just is. And things like engagement and where I feel like I belong, and the sense of purpose that I have in my work is driving my experiences of why I stay here. And over and over, the research is just super, super clear about that.

Meghan Henry:
And I think often you ask people, in previous jobs that I’ve had and previous coworkers, what did you like best about working there? The people, the people, the people. I mean, 99% of the time, it’s the people. If the people suck, who cares what else is happening. So, I think if that culture is good. Agreed with the pay, you can’t pay somebody or underpay them and expect culture to make up for it.

Brad Shuck:
You can’t. It will be the only issue for you. You reminded me of my daughter, who is 10. From time to time, she wants to earn a little money. She likes fidgets and poppets.

Meghan Henry:
Oh, yes, yes.

Brad Shuck:
Everybody who’s listening right now is like, “Oh God, he just said fidgets and poppets, and she wants to earn a little money to do that. And we have various things she can do around the yard. One of those things is to pick up sticks. Now look, picking up sticks is terrible. Nobody wants to pick up sticks, but I’ll give her a dollar.

Meghan Henry:
That’s why you’re paying her to do it.

Brad Shuck:
That’s exactly right. Yeah. I’ll give her a dollar for every bucket she fills up. Well, sounds terrific, pay sounds great. Everything’s great, we agree on this. Everything’s fine, here’s the bucket, go have a big time. She’d get up, she’ll get about half. If I leave her to go do something else, she’ll get about half of the bucket filled and she’ll walk away. Money’s not worth it. I don’t want to pick up the sticks, I want to do something different.

What changes is when I do it with her, “Hey, let’s do this together. And I’ll help you pick up these sticks.” And we’ll do this together. And doing that, we’re having conversations. I’m asking about how’s math, how was school this week? Tell me about the friends that you’ve got. Oh, look at this stick. Oh, this is cool. Oh, did you see this bug or whatever while we’re outside? When we’re doing something with people who know care about us, we can pick up buckets of sticks and it’ll be okay. Now, do we like picking up the sticks? No, physically, no. I’m old, it hurts my back. I’m going to pay for this in the morning, but I’ll do it because I’m with people that I know care about me.

We talked earlier about stress and we’ve been following levels of stress throughout the pandemic. And we tried to figure out, okay, what is mitigating? What is helping people mitigate? About 73% of the people that we’ve surveyed across the United States would suggest that they’re moderately to severely stressed, chronically stressed. This isn’t like I had a bad day like this, I’ve had a bad 18 months. And there were three things that mitigate that, I feel supported by my leader, I feel supported by my coworkers, and the work that I do here is meaningful.

And when people can answer those three questions positively, they’re less likely to have chronic complications from that stress, and that connects directly with the stick store here. I feel supported by the person who’s going to pay me and they’re doing it with me, and they’re helping me. They’re asking me about how I am. And also, this work is really meaningful because at the end of this, if I get enough money, I can get myself some fidgets and some poppets, and I’m excited about it.

Monitoring Company Culture and Employee Engagement

Meghan Henry:
Right. Right. Right. So, as a leader, as organizational leaders, let’s talk about the importance of paying attention to company or company culture and monitoring employee engagement on an ongoing basis. I think that some people say, company culture is great and engagement is great, but maybe they’re not monitoring, measuring, are there ways that you can do that to really ensure that your team is happy?

Brad Shuck:
It’s been pretty standard for us to have a yearly employee engagement survey or a yearly culture survey. And what we’re finding is that yearly isn’t enough to keep a pulse on things. You would never go into a doctor’s office, do one quick check, and then assume that for the rest of the year, everything is going to be okay. We have these continuous check-ins that are really, really important for us, and so, we recommend that we check these things multiple times. I was fortunate to co-found a company called Orbitals with a friend of mine, Charlie Miller here in Louisville. We’re a Louisville-based startup. And we’ve tried to really find different avenues to drive this idea and this conversation around culture.

And not only do I recommend that we look at employee engagement, but we do look at some of those other dimensions of culture that are driving things like performance and productivity in companies. But yeah, there are great tools out there. And if anybody has any questions or wants to learn more about that, I’m happy to share any insights and resources and tools and tips that I’ve got with anybody who might be listening today.

What Can Leaders Do to Drive Better Company Culture to Improve Engagement?

Meghan Henry:
Let’s talk about what are some specific ways leaders can drive better company culture to improve engagement. What are some things that they could start doing today to help drive that?

Brad Shuck:
So, I think I’d offer up real two practical strategies, but let me put some context on that. Yeah, everybody wants a big transformation. When I go to the beach in the summertime, I want somebody to not know that I’m a dad by looking at my body like, “Oh, this guy’s a great dad. And based on his body, he’s a great dad.” And so, if I don’t want that to happen, it isn’t about me taking a week off from eating donuts or just showing up at the gym a couple of times throughout the year. There are these consistent small behaviors, changes that I need to make in my life to be able to get to that end-state goal, and engagement works the same way. It isn’t a light switch that we turn on and that we turn off. It’s not a variable that works in a binary like that. It’s a fluid, very dynamic experience.

And so, what we have to agree on here is that engagement is really grounded in the things that are easy to do, and also easy not to do. It’s really easy to treat somebody with dignity, but it’s also really easy not to because we don’t have to. I’m a leader, I don’t have to pay attention to these folks at the other levels, or I don’t have to say hi in the morning.

So, the first practical strategy I would do is to try to find ways to connect people back to the mission and purpose of the organization. And I would do that through shifts in language, through subtleties and communication, and making sure that every person in the organization knows that they’re not just doing a job, but they’re helping improve helping a patient, I’m improving the lives of the customers that we’re working with. But we’re connecting directly back to that and that wouldn’t miss that as an opportunity to do that.

The second practical strategy that I would recommend is it’s really about belonging. And right now, belonging is so important to how people are experiencing work. And I would find unique ways to make sure that everybody on my team knows that they belong. Now, this isn’t about doing trust falls and-

Meghan Henry:
Kumbaya.

Brad Shuck:
…and kumbayas, and stuff like that. But it is about noticing people. It is about somebody really crushes a meeting, or they have a really insightful comment. It’s about pointing that stuff out and being like, “Hey, Ashley, I heard you in that meeting today and you killed it. Wow, I just wanted you to know how appreciative I am of you.” It’s about sending an email. Maybe you’re a virtual leader, your team’s kind of dispersed all over the United States, maybe it’s sending an email on a Sunday night and saying, “Hey, listen, I was just thinking about the team. I hope everybody’s doing well. Tomorrow morning, let’s jump onto a virtual coffee, and let’s just connect with each other. Now, how are you doing? How’s your family? We don’t have to talk about work stuff, I’m just curious. I want to do a quick check-in with folks.”

Maybe it’s about sending an email that you’ve been meaning to send for six months, but just have not gotten around to it, to recognize somebody. Maybe you have a recognition platform that you utilize and I would use that platform. I think I would challenge everybody who’s listening to this today, to take two minutes. Who is someone who you have been meaning to recognize or reach out to or say thank you, do that today.

By the end of the day today, send that note, write that card, drop it in their office. Don’t overthink it, just extend kindness, just extend compassion, and watch what happens. Here’s what I love about this is not only is that person going to be completely blown away, because it’s an amazingly unexpected thing that’s about to happen. And it’s small, it’s not a big deal, but it’s going to impact your day as well.

You’re going to receive the reciprocal benefit of having extended compassion for somebody or extended kindness. And you’re going to feel better. You’re going to walk away. Pay attention to that when you do it, when you hit send on that email or you step out of that office, pay attention to how you feel. I promise you, you will feel different as a result of that experience.

Meghan Henry:
Well, Dr. Brad Shuck, I want to thank you for taking the time to chat with us today. You are appreciated, and we are so thankful that you have joined us today. This has been such a great conversation, and I really appreciate you sharing your expertise with us. I know that people are leaving with a lot of good takeaways and a lot of good information.

I hope that we get to chat with you again soon. Is there a website or anything that if people are interested in talking with you?

Brad Shuck:
Yeah. So, I’d give you two. My personal website is drbshuck.com. And you can find me on socials; Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, and YouTube at @DrBShuck. And then the company I mentioned earlier is OrgVitals, and you can find us at orgvitals.com. If you want to know more about how to leverage culture, how to manage culture, please reach out to us, let us know how we can help and really drive experiences of work that help people live better lives through the work, not just come to work.

Meghan Henry:
Very good. Well, thanks again. That does it for today’s episode of For Your Benefits. We want to thank everybody for joining us. If you like what you heard today, don’t forget to subscribe to our podcast. And if you want to learn more about SentryHealth and WellOnMyWay, visit our website at sentryhealth.com. Have a fantastic day.

And thanks again, Brad.

Brad Shuck:
Take care, everyone.

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