What would the world of work look like if we genuinely asked our team members how they are doing? Tim Reitsma and Anjan Pathak—Co-Founder at Vantage Circle—talk about Anjan’s approach to employee wellness.
- Anjan is from India and worked in the UK for almost 15 years. He is a technology leader, starting his career in programming and then working in e-commerce companies mostly in the UK. Anjan spent most of his career in building web-based systems. That’s how he co-founded Vantage Circle, along with his co-founder Partha Neog. [2:36]
- Anjan came from a technology background, so leadership is not very natural to him. His advantage is that things are getting more and more technical. He just tries to be himself and navigate things from a technology point of view. [4:39]
At the end of the day, life is just one rule. It’s just to treat people the way you want to be treated.Anjan Pathak
- To Anjan, it’s more difficult to be a follower than to be a leader. [7:01]
- According to Anjan, the concept of a job or the world of work has gone through three different phases or evolution: industrial evolution, information evolution, and digital evolution. [9:02]
- At industrial evolution, most of the job was very manual, so opportunities were least. [9:37]
- The information evolution was the time when we looked for a standard of living. [10:19]
- Now it’s a digital evolution, and people are not looking for a standard of life anymore. What they’re looking for is the quality of life, and there’s a difference between standard of life and quality of life. [11:07]
A quality of life is not just a better job, but also a better work where there is a lot of learning opportunity.Anjan Pathak
- At Vantage Circle, they are in the space of employee engagement. They’re in the space where they are actually trying to give other companies and their employees a better quality of life. [15:48]
- What Anjan learned over the years is that our life or wellness depends on essentially three things: what we eat, how much we sleep, and how much we exercise. [17:40]
- At Vantage Circle, they came up with a framework called DREYMSS and it’s basically drinking, running, eating, yoga, meditation, strength, and sleep. Those seven parameters combined can define your wellness. [18:10]
- Meditation or mental health is a big part of employee wellness nowadays. [18:28]
- Employers have a big responsibility to bring employee wellness into the business goals. [19:21]
- What they’ve seen recently at Vantage Circle is that employers are finding out that health and wellness is essential. Employee wellness is a very integral part of employee engagement. [22:48]
- The essential part of the current way of doing health and wellness or employee wellness is basically doing it virtually, because ultimately everything is virtual. [24:25]
- At Vantage Circle, Vantage Fit is one of those products where you can engage your employees through a virtual health program. [25:14]
As companies, leaders, and stakeholders, we need to look after the employee’s health in the real term. It’s not just about asking the question, ‘how are you?’, but actually providing them solutions as well.Anjan Pathak
- We have to recognize that employee wellness is a very important part of the business goals. It should weave into our overall mission and vision. [31:16]
Meet Our Guest
Anjan is a technology leader with over two decades of experience building and deploying cross-channel web applications. Gifted with a strong analytical mind, he can quickly adapt in new contexts, grasp complexity, link different domains, and communicate with both business and technical people. He has a wide bandwidth of skills in Agile Methodologies, People Management, Software Development, Operations Management, and Networking. As the CTO and Co-Founder of Vantage Circle, Anjan is responsible for the technological progress and evolution of Vantage Circle. In addition, he has played a key role in the design, architecture, and technical implementation of the company’s core functions.
The better world of work that is coming in is to give the employees better quality of life. It’s not just better work anymore.Anjan Pathak
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Read The Transcript:
We’re trying out transcribing our podcasts using a software program. Please forgive any typos as the bot isn’t correct 100% of the time.
Anjan Pathak: Everyone needs to basically, you know, be healthy. We need to provide the tools to become healthy. You know, that's another important thing. And so, so I think this is the most important thing that as companies, leaders and, and stakeholders, we need to look after the employee's health in a real terms. It's not just about asking that question, how are you, but actually providing them solution as well.
Tim Reitsma: Welcome to the People Managing People Podcast. We're on a mission to build a better world of work and to help you build happy, healthy, and productive workplaces. I'm your host, Tim Reitsma. So let me ask you this—how are you doing? No really, how are you? What if I said you can't answer with "good". So I know here in least North America, we often reply to that question with "good", even when things aren't.
The reason I ask this today is we're talking with Anjan Pathak—co-founder of Vantage Circle, an employee recognition and wellness platform—about his approach to employee wellness.
There's a common theme to the questions I seek answers to through this podcast—ask your people what matters to them. One wellness program may not work for your company, but the starting point is the same. Ask. If wellness is an afterthought, man, we're failing. Employee wellness needs to be at the forefront and Anjan makes the case for how to do this.
Anjan, welcome to the People Managing People Podcast. I've been following your company, Vantage Circle for, for quite some time now and really intrigued and impressed with what you've built there. And, so I'm really excited to dive into this conversation today. We're gonna be talking about a holistic approach to employee wellness and.
But before we get into that, take a minute and share with our guests, our audience, a little bit about yourself and maybe what's top of mind for you these days.
Anjan Pathak: Sure, Tim. Nice to be here, first of all, and thank you for having me. I have seen what you guys do at People Managing People and it's great. So yeah, I think we are in the same space, so it'll be nice to have a conversation with you. Also understand your experiences around employee engagement and around employee wellness, employee wellbeing. All these are topics which are very close to our heart and it'll be nice to have a nice chat.
Okay. So, essentially, with my background. I am, as you know, I'm from India basically. So I was born and brought up where I'm here right now. And I was born and brought up here, but I went to UK for, and worked there for a very long time, almost 15 years.
So, I am a technology leader, so I am into the technology space, mostly. And, uh, so I started my career into programming, and then I worked in e-commerce companies, mostly in the UK. So I have been, I spent most of my career in building web-based systems. And that's how I, that's how I co-founded the Vantage Circle as well, along with my co-founder Partha Neog.
So initially when he started and there was no technical co-founder, so I joined after two years and, uh, yeah, this is where I started this division, which is right now where we are right now. And so, yeah, we started with just me and now we are about 150 people working from here. So this is a team that, you know, we have built in the past 8 years now.
And yeah, we are quite self-sufficient in a way, like we have got all the kind of, you know, departments in here now, right from technology operations, sales, marketing, which is another big idea. So, yeah, I, I look after mostly the, mostly the technology, the product, and a bit of marketing, the technical marketing side of the whole thing.
So that's, yeah, that's my day to day job.
Tim Reitsma: That's, that's fascinating. Building a company from an idea to 150 people and growing, that's no small task. So, so congratulations on that success. I think that's pretty phenomenal and I know Vantage Circle plays in the employee engagement, employee wellness, wellbeing space.
And so I'm really curious, as we get into our conversation about how does that translate even into your organization and, you know, what are those fundamentals around employee wellbeing. But before we get there, you know, I, I always ask a couple questions, sometimes for my own selfish purpose, um, because I'm, I'm, I think I'm a curious guy and I, and I really am curious about, from your perspective, what does it mean to be a leader?
Anjan Pathak: Yeah, that's a great question. And to be very honest, I'm still learning, primarily because I come from a technology background, so leadership is not very natural to me. And I must say that when I look back, I don't think I was ever considered to be any kind of leader on any kind of things that I have done before.
So I think my advantage is that things are getting more and more technical. So, um, so I just try to be myself and just navigate the things from a very technology point of view most of the times. And it kind of works and over the years also, I think I have kind of learning about this, you know, how to.
Well, at the end of the day, life is just one rule, I, I guess it's just that treat the people the way you want to be treated. Right? So that's the only rule I follow. And I just want to be a little bit empathetic along with the other literacy lifestyles like, you know, be authentic, have this is a power and all this things.
So actually I, I've got a list of qualities that I wrote a blog also, but it's a pretty big list. But at the end of the day, I think it's just, you know, being authentic and, and just be yourself and listen to people to what they say and behave as if you know, you are, you are expected to, you know, the behave, that the way you want, you want other people to be treated that. Treat yourself like you want to be other people to be treated in the same way.
So that's, that's the, these are the things that I, I look at. And there's nothing really different that I do in my day to day job compared to what I was doing when I was not a leader at all. So that's how I look at it basically to be very honest.
Tim Reitsma: Well, I, I love that. I love that principle to live by, right, when you're leading people. Cause often I have, I've come across many people. I, I, even myself early on in my career is, Alright Tim, you're doing great leading, you know, the side of the business. Hey, do you wanna lead a bunch of people? And you know me, I say yes to too many things. And so I said, sure. And realized, wow, I, how do I lead people?
This is something new to me. And, but I love that is treat people the way you wanna be treated and be so be your authentic self. Now, if you wanna be treated terribly, you're gonna treat people terribly. And you're not gonna be a leader for very long, but I would say most of us don't want to be treated terribly.
Anjan Pathak: Yeah. And to be very honest, I also look at it in another way is that it's not that difficult to be a leader. I think it's very difficult to be a follower. So, I really thank the first couple of followers that followed me because without them, I would've never become a leader. So it's just that because, and those people now of course have themself become leaders, right?
So this is how it's been growing, basically. What I've realized is that, and, and I was myself a follower for a very, very long time, and I understood what needs to be a leader in a way, what the good leaders were. Because I could see the difference being, you know, in a, in a environment where you were cared for, you know, your leadership really wanted you to do well.
Uh, so I, I, I have grown up in that kind of environment. So, I always look forward to people, actually the followers who wanted to follow the first couple of people who worked with me and, and, you know, at, at the end of the day, I think they made me what I am today at the end of the day.
So, yeah, that's interesting as well. It's just, so I think it's very difficult to be a follower and a leader.
Tim Reitsma: Yeah. It's, oh, that's, uh, shifting some of my perspective because that's something, you know, I've read so much about leaders, and leaders lead and people follow. And, but when we flip that around, I think you're onto something there. It is difficult to be a follower, especially it's, it's difficult to be a follower for and follow somebody that you don't trust, or you don't believe in, but yet you still need to follow. It's so, so much easier to follow somebody that you...
Anjan Pathak: Trust and believe. Yeah, definitely.
Tim Reitsma: Trust and believe in and would work extra hard for, and the list goes on. So that's an interesting perspective. And, and I think maybe that, that plays really well into my next question, which our purpose here at, in, in our digital publication is to help people like yourself and people like me build a better world of work.
So when you hear that phrase, build a better world of work, what comes to mind?
Anjan Pathak: Yeah, I think that's an interesting way of looking at it. So first of all right, I think I'd like to say, what is work in a way or what is a job and where does this term called job came from? Right. I mean, we, we come from an, I think as a human being, we, we were probably before this concept of jobs, right.
We were into the education revolution. So most of us as farmers. And then the industrial evolution came. Right. And that's where the concept of job started. So I think the concept of job or the world of work has gone through three different phases of, anyway you can say evolution.
And the first was industrial evolution, which is probably our grandparents where the work was very manual. Right? Most of the job was very manual, so opportunities were least. So in the industrial evolution, IDA, you have to listen to your boss. There is no other option, basically, even if they're abusive, even if they're not, not nice.
You have to still just go and do your job basically, you know, day to day, because the main reason was getting a job and, and, and being paid for. That was the thing that we, I mean, the human beings, uh, we looked at. That was the industrial evolution. There's no social security. I think there is no culture, you know, it is just a manual kind of job that people did, industrial, during the industrial evolution time.
Then came the information evolution, right? The information evolution is where I think I started my job. So at that time I was not looking for, you know, a day job or I was not looking to just, you know, have a job where I was paid.
I was looking for a standard of living. Maybe I was looking for a, you know, because my parents looked after me just, just what I could live by. It was something that most, most of the things will look after by my, my, my father's, my parents basically. So that was the time when we look for a standard of living.
So maybe we wanted a vacation, we wanted probably buy better car, or we wanna have some, you know, nice gadgets or whatever. So that was the information evolution, right? So we wanted just a better standard of living, better way of life, basically. Right? Now, it's different. Now it's a digital evolution, or it can also say social evolution.
So now, people are not looking for a standard of life anymore. What they're looking for the, the young generation is the quality of life, right? That's not, there's a difference between standard of life and quality of life. And when I look at it, what is a quality of life? It's actually, it's not just a better job, but also a better work, kind of where there is a lot of learning opportunity.
There is a better environment, you know, your workplace is very nice. There is better rewards. There is better recognition, of course there is better pay. And most importantly, there is a lot of learning opportunity. So in the information revolution, right, information was very important, like learning the work was very important for us.
How to do a job or how to do something new. Nowadays it's not, because nowadays everything is free. You know, you go to YouTube and you can learn coding, right? It's pretty much you can learn anything that you want. So information is not scarce anymore.
So it cannot just, you know, say that you don't notice because you know, people can learn something very, very easily. So information is not a concern anymore, or you, you almost guaranteed that the person who comes in as long as they, you know, they are enthusiastic and most of the people are. Because they know what they can do if they learn, you know, on the job that is there, you know, and, and the, and information is there if, if you want really learn.
And they know also that what other people are doing, for example, all these great leaders like Elon Musk and, you know, Steve Jobs, they have shown us that, you know, if you work hard, then you can, you can really excel in your field. So those knowledge is there. So they're not looking for that.
What they're looking for is, is a quality of learning and, and the better work opportunity, better recognition, better rewards, better environment. So I think that is where I think we need to look at, that is the better world of work that is coming in, which is the, which is to give the employees, uh, better quality of life. It's not just better work basically anymore.
Tim Reitsma: I love that. Better quality of life. And I would agree with that. I think it's, it's not the era of our parents or our grandparents where we, you know, I, I I've asked my dad in the past, who was a trades guy, trades person his whole life. And so I asked him, you know, what, what was his aspiration when he was a, a kid?
And he said he wanted to be a cowboy. He wanted to have a farm and, and have animals. And so I said, well, why didn't you? And he said, well, because my dad was a trades guy. So I'm now a trades guy. And it was just that, that's what he had to do. And now we look at our generation, the current generation and the, and the upcoming generation.
It's that quality of life. It's this, there's no separation between work and life. It's just life and how to make a good living and how to be able to afford, you know, things to suit our lifestyle, which is a challenge. Because as business owners, we have to balance, and we did a recent podcast about balancing people, profits, and progress.
So you have to balance that, but also know that there's this new expectation or this new standard of, of work. And so, yeah, I think it's, it's going to be an interesting age, especially in the next, you know, couple of two to five years and see how, how the world of work does evolve.
Anjan Pathak: Yeah, that's correct. Yeah. I think it is going to change massively. And as leaders, I think that's what is the most important thing, because what we have learned, it's not gonna work or even the way we used to work, it's not gonna work anymore. So, I mean, the fascinating thing about my job is that I work with some really young people who have just started their jobs, uh, in the, and they just a pass off of college.
So their way of looking at life and work is very different than how I used to look at. So it's about being able to listen to them and understand what their aspirations are and, and, you know, aligned our business goals according to their aspirations. That is probably one of the most difficult thing to do, basically, for me. To understand the young people's aspiration and the way of life there.
Tim Reitsma: Well, that's interesting. It's, it's a different approach of, Hey, here's our business goals. Do you fit into those goals? Rather, I mean, yes, of course, you've got your business goals, but Hey, up and coming, you know, that emerging leader, emerging manager or that great contributor.
What are your goals and how can we align that to our business goals? Versus, here's our goals, if you don't fit, then you're, you're not part of the organization anymore.
I'm curious about that and how does that look at, at Vantage Circle and within your teams?
Anjan Pathak: Yeah, interestingly, right. We are in the space of employee engagement. So we are in the space where we are actually, you know, trying to give other companies a better quality of life, their employees a better quality of life. So, unless we can give a better quality of life to our own employees, right, that is not gonna work. So our job itself is basically a place to experiment, you know, what works, what doesn't work.
So that is, I mean, there is nothing, probably a better place to, you know, start or, or, or do a job probably at, for compared to an employee engagement company. Because we do experiment with what is coming and what the young people wants. And, and how to, you know, improve the better, you know, quality of life, quality work and, and have a nice, you know, have a, have a very cordial environment and work.
So that is the job that we do. So, and at the end of the day, we have to basically do what we, what we love as well as implement all those things in our own workplace. So yeah, we, we do those, we leave those, you know, values that we, that we preach to other companies.
Tim Reitsma: That's great to hear. If, if, if we heard something different, that would be a whole different podcast and a different topic, but that's a great segue into employee wellness and employee engagement.
I know we're talking about just this, this idea about employee wellness and let's unpack what that means. What does employee wellness, what are the fundamentals of employee wellness and what does it mean to you and to, to your team at Vantage Circle?
Anjan Pathak: Yeah. So, at a very high level rate, I mean, I, I started this company when, when Partha and then we never had employee wellness initially.
It's only probably about, you know, 5 or 6 years back that we started with employee wellness. And I do have a background of, kind of, you know, wellness are being fit and being healthy and all these things. So yeah, essentially what I learned over the years is that your life or wellness depends on essentially three things, right? What you eat, how much you sleep, and how much you exercise.
So these are the macro parameters of an employee, of any individual I'm not talking about employee. That's how your wellness is defined. Beyond that there is other things like, you know, financial wellness, environmental wellness, social wellness, and all those things, but I'm not looking into those things, but just on the physicality part of the thing. These are the three macro parameters.
On top of that, you have got things like, you know, we, we came up with a framework called DREYMSS and it's basically drinking, running, eating, yoga, meditation, strength, sleep, those, you know, seven parameters combined, which can define your, you know, wellness as such. Meditation or, or, or the mental health is a big part of employee wellness nowadays, wellness in general, nowadays.
But what I think about employee wellness, right? Where, where does it come in, basically? What is an employee? Employee is basically a person who works in a company like, or, or an organization, right? So if you think about it, right, the way we used to, I mean, we used to work as a, or we used to learn as a group when you were college, but after that you start working in a company and there you spend about, you know, 8 to 10 hours or whatever, uh, with a group of people, you know, which you call colleagues.
So there is a group thing, right? There is a, there's a hard man, hard thing that going on there in a company. So unless you have that wellness thing also, you know, there in that, that heart or a group of people, I think you are gonna miss out basically, you know, the most important thing, which is your health.
And that is where I think I feel that employer has a big responsibility to bring employee wellness into the business goals. So employee wellness is nothing but basically wellness in a group, and where you can leverage the whole, this whole group of people who work with you, basically. Compared to an individual wellness, because the problem with individual wellness is that once you start working, right, unless you go to a gym, you know, you do, you have no friends or to play with, for example, right?
So you got to basically start somewhere and, and I think the workplace is the best place to have a conversation about wellness. And that's where I think the employee wellness comes in. So it's a very, very essential. And when I look back, look back at my own learning over the years, I left college when I used to play a few things.
But after that, I learned so much from my colleagues. Without those colleagues or without those workplaces where I worked, I'd have probably never learned, I would never gone into this wellness thing. And I was very fortunate and very lucky to have people around me who were extremely, uh, you know, health conscious.
And that's where I learned. So, so that's where we understood, uh, at least personally I understood that, I think the employee wellness thing is going to be the next, you know, business driver for most of the companies. Because if you do not take care of your employees, through employee wellness, you know, it's not going, you're not gonna sustain withal.
Tim Reitsma: Uh, I've recorded a podcast recently with a market researcher who was doing some research about this great resignation, people quitting their jobs and, and out of his data, what he had found was in the sector of people he was looking at, people were leaving their jobs without a backup plan. And so he started to ask, well, why is that happening?
And one of the reasons is this idea of globalization. You know, I can, you know, again, we talk about just the evolution of work. Previously it was, Hey, I'm, I'm live in this city or I live in this town and this is where I need to find a job. Now, it's you, you need a laptop and a, or a computer and an internet connection, and you can get a job around the globe.
And so that idea of people are burning out. We know that. The data tells us that. So how do we, as an organization, then focus and build something that, like a robust employee wellness program? Because often I hear it as, okay, we've got an engagement program, we've got a recognition program and then we've got a wellness program. And they almost sound like they're standalone, but how do we integrate all of these together?
And, and I know, you know, one answer could be, Hey, Vantage Circle has a great tool for this. But I'm, I'm curious, like how do we integrate wellness into engagement and into recognition? Because you're, you're right. You know, we need to take care of our employees, not just from a financial perspective, but also from a wellbeing perspective.
So, talk us through that. What does that look like to you when we look at that integration?
Anjan Pathak: Yeah, this is a very interesting question. Actually, uh, when we started our, our company Vantage Circle, we started as an employee engagement company. And in those days, employee engagement mean, meant essentially employee benefits, technician and baby pulse, which is survey basically.
So those are the products that were very important part of employee engagement products, suite of products, you know, employee engagement is a very kind of an umbrella term. A lot of, lot of companies fall under employee engagement. But, uh, what we have seen recently is that, this employee engagement, companies which, which we primarily doing employee engagement, they're actually now buying companies which are into health and wellness.
So it has become such important. There is a company called Reward Gateway and they bought a company called MoveSpring. MoveSpring is basically a totally into health and wellness.
So employers are essentially finding out that this is very essential now. It's employee wellness is, is a very integral part of employee engagement. So it's not like you cannot, you cannot ignore employee wellness. And why this is happening basically, right? First of all, number one thing is that what happened with COVID and work from home or remote work?
Of course, when you were alone, right, the commute, what I used to do, and there was a bit of exercise while doing commute as well, and that went off suddenly. So people started working from anywhere as you say, everywhere. And, uh, the people's connection becomes very loose, right? We started communicating to platforms like Slack or Skype or, you know. June, we had started having video calls, but those were very, not, not very good in, in terms of your overall health and wellness, right?
So that is given, basically. We are not meant to work like that. So essentially employers understood that there has to be something else. So, and one of the things, and, and the other thing that happened was that, companies used to have, no, some kind of health and wellness program running in their premises.
But that's no longer there anymore because people are not going to offices. So then, then they came out in this solution that let's have some virtual health and wellness programs. So I think the essential part of now the current way of doing health and wellness or employee wellness, and how you build is basically having virtual, because ultimately everything is virtual.
So you have to move employee health as well, or employee wellness also, also virtual. So employers are looking at right now how to engage the employees, not just at work, because work when you don't meet or, or have those smaller composition, right? You are missing a lot of engagement in that because a lot of engagement happens over the, over the, you know, over the coffee or whatever, basically. Right?
So those things are totally missing now. So we need another way and those things can happen if you can engage the employees beyond the 8 to 10 hours of work. And one of the things that he can do is probably a virtual health and wellness program. So, just to, you know, give an example, and of course at Vantage Circle, Vantage Fit is one of those products where, you know, you can engage your employees through a virtual, uh, you know, health program.
And what we have seen is that people do compete. You know, it's a very fun way of being in touch with each other. And yeah, it's, it's different from what you do in a day to day work. And people like that basically, you know, just have a bit of fun while just walking, you know, most of the program is basically based on walking.
So, yeah. Number one thing is that only that, okay, engage the employees to, you know, just to a bit of more walking, because at the end of the day movement is medicine and movement is what is missing from our, you know, because of remote work. So what we try to encourage is basically, you know, have bit of better movement, more movement through our programs.
So yeah, I think that at the end of the day what I think the employee wellness is so important now because of this remote work concept only at the, at the end of the day. So this is going to be integral part in the future.
Tim Reitsma: I think you hit something that a couple of themes that, that are coming up for me, which is the intentionality of a wellness program. So it's great to say, Hey, we have this virtual meetup. Join if you want, but it needs to be intentional. Whereas you said, even at Vantage Circle is, you know, something around walking, getting out there and walking, whether it's virtual and you track your steps and it creates some competition and healthy competition, whatever that looks like, but encouraging your teams and encouraging your remote workforce to get out and connect over something aside from the big project you're working on.
Um, like you said, there's a lot of connection and wellness. I mean, I think connection and wellness go hand in hand. Connection used to happen where you're getting a coffee or you're sitting at the lunch table, or, you know, you're commuting. You have connection with people. Now it's you roll outta bed.
Maybe make a coffee at home, eat some breakfast, go to your desk, sit there for 8 to 10 hours and then go make a meal, go sit on the couch and then go back to bed. And often even for myself, I was finding that I was, I was actually getting pretty miserable. Like my wellness, my mental well-being had suffered.
So I had to change. I actually implemented a walking schedule into my, my remote work life. So every morning I go for a thinking walk. And every evening I go for a commute, I call it a commute. My kids call it a dad walk, but I go for a commute. 20 minutes, I come home. My kids are happy to see me. My, my partner, my wife is happy to see me and my head is clear, because I've been able to create that separation.
And so, yeah, I think it's fundamental.
Anjan Pathak: Yeah. And the other thing is that, because of COVID, right, it's very essential to basically know now, ask this question. How are you? Because and 'how are you' is not just, you know, just how are you, but it's actually healthwise, how are you? Because almost, you know, COVID is not gonna go away, right?
And I don't know if there is any, any way to get around, but to basically, you know, improve your immunity against all the things that are coming. And, and 'how are you' means that okay, you need to basically really ask, you know, as an employer, if you're asking this question, how are you, but what are you providing this really?
Are you providing anything for your employees so that they can look after themself? Are you giving any tools? Are you giving any help? So, all my, you know, interactions with all my employees now, you know, uh, all my colleagues, it starts with that question, you know, how are you? And that, I really mean it.
How are you do physically? Are, are you okay? Are you walking? Are you, are you doing your daily steps? You know, I can't see you, you know, those are the things that I need to really take care about, because that's part of my, you know, thing that I look after. I look up to that, everyone needs to basically, you know, be healthy and we need to provide the tools to become healthy.
You know, that's another important thing. And so, so I think this is the most important thing that as, as companies, leaders and, and stakeholders, we need to look after the employee's health in a real terms. It's not just about asking that question, how are you, but actually providing them solution as well, allowing that.
Tim Reitsma: It's so, so true. It's, 'how are you' at least here in North America is just, it's a common greeting. Hey, how's it going? Good. How are you? Good. And, uh, as soon as somebody says, I'm okay, then it either leads to a good conversation or an awkward encounter. Because I wasn't prepared to have that conversation, but as employers, it's so, so important as employers, as leaders, managers, as, as well as employees, to be honest when leaders are asking, we need to hope and that they're asking with the intentionality that, that we care.
And because it sounds like, you know, people who are listening to this or might look you up and say, I gotta work for, for Anjan at Vantage Circle because he cares, which is, which is great. That's what employees are looking for. And the data supports that, is people leave, you know, it's, it's no secret people leave bad bosses all the time and continue to look for that, that great boss that cares.
It creates the space for advancement, for learning opportunities, as you mentioned, but also wellness. Are you getting your steps in? I, I think that's something I'm gonna be talking to my team about is a step challenge. And, so you've planted some ideas there in, in my mind.
And, you know, I'm curious as, as we kinda wrap up our conversation, you know, wellness needs to be front center in our organizations. Often I have heard, and I've seen personally that organizations say, Hey, we've got this wellness program going, you know, spend $500 to whatever wellness you want. Is that enough? Or what could we be doing intentionally to start putting wellness, employee wellness at the forefront?
Anjan Pathak: Yeah. First thing is to recognize that it's a very, very important part of the business goals, basically. So it should weave into your overall mission and vision. And leaders needs to be, you know, it has to run from the leaders themself, I think. So that is the number one thing.
So, what we would encourage people to do is like, there are a few elements that you need to really think about when it comes to running a successful program.
One of the things to understand is that you're never going to have a hundred percent participant to participation in everything that you're going to do, because we are all different. Right? So I think that most essential part is to have that conversation going in the company, right from leaders to managers to the employees.
You know, about wellness, if you're talking about something, you know, it's, it should be centered around health and wellness, at least half of the conversation. And that conversation is to flowing, you know, that, I mean, if I see from my experience, you can either do things which you can influence others to do better, or you can do the other way around.
So I look at it that way, that how I'm increasing other people and if I do something on my own, which is positive, then only other people will be influenced. So I think this is the number one thing that, it's to have the converstion going on inside the company about wellness, you know, it should be centered communication.
And there is, there should be a lot of communications going around, you know, different stakeholders. And there can be also like, some kind of champions, you know, we call it health champions because you need motivation. You know, you need people who are really first movers and they're going to buy into your program.
So those are the things that you can do, and it should be fun in socio in all these things. So, and you should never always look for a hundred percent participation. The other thing is that you should always discourage that 10% of the people, who are anyway healthy, right, they always go to the gym and everything.
So you don't need to really attract those people, ultimately it's and you never be able to attract those people anyway, because they're already looking after themselves properly. It's 90% of the people who are not aware. So if you can target something, which is going to be at least, you know, have that as the target audience of 90%.
But he can have at least 50% of the, you know, engagement or, or from, from those people. And I think it can be, it can, you are probably going to be running a successful health and wellness program. So it's very important that you have a goal, like you have a, you have a yearly kind of plan, what you're gonna do and you have a goal and you want to track it and you wanna see basically how you're doing.
Even A/B test, we call it A/B testing, because not, again, you'll probably roll out something, you know, 50% to some people, half of the people and another 50% program will have half of the people and you see which one works basically. Right? So, as I said, different organizations have different goals, different kinds of workforce.
Some of the people, some of the organizations can have very young workforce. So there needs to be different compared to an organization where, you know, you have a slightly older workforce. Similarly, you know, companies which were mostly where the jobs are mostly sitting jobs there, they come be different compared to sales, construction company, for example. Right?
So all those things, all those parameters come into place. So I think it's very diff, important to understand what you want. What is your organization or what is your employees want? And then run a employee wellness program.
Tim Reitsma: That's, that's great. It's a common theme and is, is talk to your employees. You know, it's, uh, it's whether it's a survey or getting out and, and just actually talking and learning what your employees are interested in.
Cause if you're gonna implement, yeah, we're gonna go for, you know, implement a jogging program and 90% of your workforce is against, doesn't like to jog. Well, it's not gonna work. Or if you're gonna go cycling and nobody owns a bike, it's not gonna work. So, talk to your employees, understand where their, where their stresses are.
You know, what's coming up? Ask, ask people, are you moving throughout your day? You know, what does that look like? There's opportunities for setting up a home office with standup desks or whatever that looks like or scheduling breaks or using programs like Vantage Circle or another great site is called CheckingIn, which is all about mental wellbeing and checking in with yourself.
So, there's so many opportunities out there as employers, as leaders. We don't, you know, don't wait for necessarily your, your exec team or HR team to find something to implement. When, when you lead people, you're, you hold a great responsibility. And so with that, I, I love it. You know, like you said, it's plan, set a goal, iterate, A/B test it and try. If you don't try something you don't know. You don't know if it's gonna work, so.
With that, Anjan, thank you so much for coming on today to talk about employee wellness. It's definitely not a standalone program. It's all tied together with employee engagement and it leads to employee engagement. So thanks for, for coming on.
For those who are listening, head to peoplemanagingpeople.com to our podcast page, we'll have link to all the show notes as well as how to reach Anjan if you have questions, as well as a link to Vantage Circle. Please check them out as well.
So, Anjan, thanks again for coming on.
Anjan Pathak: Sure. Thank you. Thank you Tim for having me.
Tim Reitsma: All right. And again, for those who are listening, please send us your feedback.
I always love to hear your feedback, your thoughts, whether it's positive or constructive, whatever it is, you can send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and, or head to our, our podcast page. And you can reach us through that as well.
So with that, I hope everyone has an amazing day!