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Wellbeing at Work: What Gallup Has Learned About Thriving

Wellbeing at Work: What Gallup Has Learned About Thriving

Webcast Details

  • What roles do leaders, managers and organizational culture play in promoting employee wellbeing at work?
  • What are the 5 elements of wellbeing, and how do they relate to mental and spiritual wellbeing?
  • What trends has Gallup been tracking during the pandemic, and what are some keys to improve employees' wellbeing?

Dr. Jim Harter, bestselling author and Chief Scientist of Workplace Management and Wellbeing for Gallup's Workplace Management Practice, was our guest on a recent Called to Coach. In this episode, Jim discussed the just-released Gallup book, Wellbeing at Work: How to Build Resilient and Thriving Teams. Managers, organizational leaders and coaches have a vital role in impacting employee wellbeing at work, and this can bring changes in culture that will help improve employees' wellbeing and move them toward thriving in all 5 wellbeing elements. Jim also spoke about how mental and spiritual wellbeing relate to the 5 elements, and vice versa, as well the role each employee's CliftonStrengths can play in facilitating wellbeing conversations.

Gallup Called to Coach Webcast Series -- Season 9, Episode 18

To change a wellbeing culture, it's got to start at the CEO level ... It's got to be very purposeful and intentional -- not just stated, but actually role-modeled at the executive level and all the way through as it cascades.

Dr. Jim Harter, 10:59

Strengths is such an important part [of a wellbeing focus] because it reduces those awkward conversations. You're starting with who that person is, and a common language.

Dr. Jim Harter, 27:59

Career wellbeing is the most foundational, and I would make social wellbeing a very close second to that. ... And they set us up for success in financial, physical and community wellbeing, if we get them right.

Dr. Jim Harter, 35:06

Jim Collison 0:01

I am Jim Collison, and live from our virtual studios around the world -- although today here in Omaha, Nebraska -- this is Gallup's Called to Coach, recorded on April 28, 2021.

Jim Collison 0:22

Called to Coach is a resource for those who want to help others discover and use their strengths. We have Gallup experts and independent strengths coaches share tactics, insights and strategies to help coaches maximize the talent of individuals, teams and organizations around the world. If you're listening live, love to have you join us in our chat room. There's a link right above me there on the live page; it'll take you to YouTube. You can sign in and use the chat there. Or if you have questions after the fact -- maybe you're listening to the recorded version -- you can always send us an email, and many of you do: Don't forget to subscribe there if you're on YouTube, or in your favorite podcast app, you can subscribe and make sure you get these automatically downloaded each and every time we produce them.

Jim Collison 0:59

Dr. Jim Harter is a Chief Scientist of Workplace Management and Wellbeing for Gallup's Workplace Management Practice here at Gallup. He's a coauthor of the New York best Times -- New York Times bestseller 12: The Elements of Great Managing, which we've covered extensively in our Q12 for Coaches series, as well as Wellbeing: The Five Essential Elements, a book we wrote 10 years ago, before a lot of people were thinking about the importance of wellbeing as they are today. And of course, It's the Manager, which has been a bestseller over the last 2 years and has been kind of the guidebook for us in a lot of the things that we do around coaching. And so Jim, welcome to Called to Coach!

Jim Harter 1:37

Thanks for having me, Jim.

Jim Collison 1:39

It's a busy season for you. And it's a busy season kind of as we come out of, you know, as we kind of come out of -- not everybody; I have to be sensitive to that. Not, not all countries are coming out of the pandemic at the moment, right. And so, being sensitive about that. But, but it's busy because we and you have been locked down in some research around wellbeing. Can you just kind of give us an overall, as we, as we kind of come up to speed, as we think about this idea of wellbeing, especially wellbeing in the workplace, as we think about the new book coming out on May 4. Can you kind of give us that elevator-pitch overview of where we stand today and why we're thinking about it so much?

Jim Harter 2:19

Yeah, sure. So just to kind of give people a sense for why we wrote this particular book, since we already have one out on wellbeing in 2010, that book in 2010 was primarily aimed at how to help individuals improve their own wellbeing. We did address some organizational issues in there. But just a small amount. This, this book was 100% aimed at managers, leaders and organizational culture. So it is really about how an organization can think about their culture. And you might ask, Well, why? Well, the reason is, and it started pre-pandemic, actually.

Jim Harter 2:57

If we think about the trends pre-pandemic, we had a newer workforce who is more diverse, more remote working than in the past, and more matrixed kind of environments where people are working on multiple teams, increases in digitization and mobile technology. People wanted a job with a purpose; they wanted to connect to a purpose, they wanted a job where they can develop. They didn't just want a boss; they wanted a coach. They, they wanted ongoing conversations, they wanted an organization that leverages their strengths. And they also wanted a workplace that improved their life, not just a job, and not just, you know, a job that gives it gives them their paycheck and is separate from the rest of life.

Jim Harter 3:37

That, that was the trend pre-pandemic. All these things became magnified or amplified during, during COVID, really, because the pressure was on the workplace to, to, to change quickly. We call it the great shift, where we went from 4% of people pre-pandemic working full-time from home to 48% full-time at the peak during the pandemic. 70% of people some of the time were working from home. So it's a, it was a massive change. And we had all kinds of, we have had, still have all kinds of things coming at us.

Jim Harter 4:11

When we see threats to wellbeing for individuals, it tends to be the result of compounding effects. People are very resilient to one thing going wrong. But when we have all these variables coming at us, in fact, impacting all the 5 elements that we wrote about in, in the 2010 book -- and we can list those off again for you here for those that aren't familiar. But so the workplace plays a big role. And one of the reasons the workplace plays a big role is when we look at engaged workers who aren't thriving in their overall lives, they report a 61% higher rate of burnout often or always than others. So you can be engaged and still burn out. So the rest of your life matters. And that's why it's part of the organization's responsibility, I think, and the organizations of the future that are really going to do the best job of developing people are gonna be those that think, that think about the whole person in a way that's right for them, not forcing it on them, but in a way that makes it comfortable. And we'll get into some of those, those details here about how organizations we think can do that.

Jim Harter 5:15

The other thing I'd mentioned about the importance of wellbeing now, and even pre-pandemic, but now especially is employment brand. To attract the stars of the future, as this, as the workforce starts to change going into the future, and people start having more, more choices about where they work, they're going to remember what happened during the pandemic, and they're going to, they're gonna choose organizations based on those that help them improve their overall life while they're helping them be productive as well.

Jim Harter 5:44

So those are some of the things, Jim. And so we aimed at really at all aspects that might influence how an organization can change their overall culture, to impact some of these trends we're seeing now. We're seeing, we're seeing, have historically seen increases in stress and worry globally among workers, even sadness, even anger has trended upward, unfortunately. And so those are daily experiences that people are having now. And organizations are in a place where they can do something about, about those trends. And we thought it was the right time to, we've been digging into data collected all kinds of data during COVID and pre-COVID. And we don't, as you know, we don't just write a book every year for the purpose of writing a book; we write one when we think we have an accumulation of information that we think we need to share with people.

Jim Collison 6:32

Yeah, I think I remember early, as the pandemic was starting, we were seeing these trends happening. And it was like, we've got to get some, we've got some data around this, and we got to kind of get the word out. The book title: Wellbeing at Work: How to Build Resilient and Thriving Teams. Jim, is that a follow-up to the, the first book? You know, it said that in the title here, The Five Essential Elements, or is it a companion guide for It's the Manager? Is it both? If we think about it from a resourcing standpoint, what would be your hope as we have these coaches in our community very familiar with our work? How would you, how would you say you position that book in, in that kind of light?

Jim Harter 7:11

Well, we have, we did leverage a lot of our global knowledge of wellbeing in the 5 elements from our first exploration back in 2010, and prior to 2010, really, but published in 2010. So we have continued to study those 5 elements, and we've continued to update that research. And we leveraged, you'll see some content in this book that, that is consistent with what you saw in 2010. But it's aimed now at, really, directed for managers and leaders in terms of how they can impact wellbeing. So the angle on it is different, different from the 2010.

Jim Harter 7:45

So I would say if you're going to think about it as being a follow-up to something or a companion to something, I think it'd be, It's the Manager, because It's the Manager is aimed at the same audience. And I would actually contend that, and this is a point we make in this book, that It's the Manager and all the content there are the nuts and bolts of managing that make the wellbeing work much more efficient. Think of, think of It's the Manager as the foundation for impacting wellbeing in a workplace. So both of them are about how to change culture. It's the Manager is about the basics of getting those conversations right, which opens the door for deeper conversations with people if they allow that.

Jim Collison 8:23

Yeah, we've been saying the 3 pillars of really healthy workplaces, of course, are strengths-based, engagement-focused, and now this element of, of a thriving wellbeing culture. Jim, how can organizations create that? You alluded to that just a second ago. As we, as we think about the opportunities and what we've learned about organizations being able to have an effect on this, what kind of things can they do? And especially today, practically, how can coaches help organizations implement these?

Jim Harter 8:53

Yeah, I think we've got to start with what we know, from a scientific perspective, impacts wellbeing. So what are the actionable areas that an individual and managers can do something about? And so I'd start with those 5 elements of we can all impact our career wellbeing to some extent. We can all impact our social wellbeing to some extent, our financial wellbeing and our physical wellbeing and our community wellbeing. Those are, those are 5 areas -- let's just start there -- that impact the percentage of people who are thriving.

Jim Harter 9:28

We call it Gallup net thriving, which is the net of how you think about your life today and how you think your life will be 5 years from now. The net of that is, is thriving: 7 or above present; 8 or above in the future. And just an interesting side note, interesting to me, anyway, was that during the pandemic, the drop occurred on life present. People's perception of their life in the future actually went up a little bit. Maybe that's a contrast effect of, you know, here's my life now, which is, you know, not so great. And then the future is going to be better in 5 years. And people can, so my point is, people could see their way out of this, even though it's such a devastating kind of time to go through for, for many. But I think if we get grounded in those 5 first and what we can do about each of those 5, that's the first step to changing the culture, because then we know how to direct our energy at different elements that are really going to have a lasting impact on our, on our lives.

Jim Harter 10:27

But I would also say, to change an organizational culture, we need to use those 5 elements as an organizing structure, where we connect the different things we offer individuals to those 5, so that, so that, so that whatever we offer somebody makes sense to them, in terms of, Here's why this exists, they're more likely to remember that it exists if we do that. They're more likely to, to think about it, if they have an issue on one of the 5 elements in their lives. I think in organizations, to change a wellbeing culture, it's got to start at the CEO level, where it's an intentional part of here's, here's who we want to become, just, just like we've seen with engagement. It's got to be very purposeful and intentional -- not just stated, but actually role-modeled at the executive level and all the way through as it cascades.

Jim Harter 11:22

We've got to equip managers to include wellbeing in, in the conversations that they have in the right way, that's, that's comfortable. So those 5 conversations we discussed in It's the Manager, wellbeing fits right in there. It fits really nicely, I think, into the Boss to Coach Journey. That if you're doing the Boss to Coach Journey right -- one of the problems that I've seen in organizations over time is that most well-intentioned initiatives exist in silos, and, or they're just events, right. And so you've got a performance management thing over here; you've got learning and development programs over here. And you've got an engagement survey over here. And you've got, and they're owned by different people even. And so what a Boss to Coach Journey should do, in my -- or, and you have a wellness program over here. So you got got that also, right.

Jim Harter 12:18

And so what a Boss to Coach Journey should do, if it's done right, is to pull those things together and the expertise from all those areas, so that it makes it easy for a manager to know why these things exist and what the resources are. And I think that wellbeing, as a wellness program, most of the data show haven't been greatly effective. Most effective for people who are already on the road to good health. But we can get a lot better if we, if we, if we equip managers to have the right kinds of conversations and upgrade their skills. So, and I think strengths is just an essential part of that.

Jim Harter 12:57

The other thing I'd say is, and this will resonate with this group for sure, is the development of a network of wellbeing coaches that can not only coach individuals, but share best practices, so people improve most on wellbeing through, through peers. And the reason for that, I think, is that it's hard for people to take seriously somebody saying what they did if they maybe make twice as much money as them or are in a, in a different, just a different situation, right? "What can people like me do?" And there's just an enormous number of examples on each of those 5 elements, creative ideas in terms of how people manage them to get to thriving. And I think there's a lot that wellbeing, a big, big role wellbeing coaches can play in, in sharing those best practices and learning about them over time. So there's just a ton of learning there.

Jim Harter 13:46

The other thing organizations can do, and Gallup can help them with this, I think, is to audit their practices and policies to make sure that they, they -- well, to audit how much they're used, for one thing, and a lot of organizations are doing that. But then how does that use connect to improvements in wellbeing? Whether it's rules and guidelines that, that the organization has or how they communicate things, or the facilities they have in place, or different incentives they have in place -- they work for or against, when you look at it -- improvements in wellbeing. How people are recognized, what kind of events are offered and, of course, development programs. And, you know, we can evaluate organizations on that, give them some feedback on just how much awareness is there? How much involvement is there in the organization on that? What's the impact and what are the -- the other important thing is what are the interrelatedness components of the 5 elements? One key to getting these right for individuals and organizations is to think about how they, how they're interrelated. So if, if I'm working on something, how many of those 5 elements does it, does it impact? Your chance for improvement goes up if you've got multiple wellbeing elements involved in what you're trying to get done.

Jim Collison 15:02

Jim, we spend a bunch of time in the book kind of tying wellbeing and strengths together. And this is really the first time I've seen us do it in this kind of form. Can you talk a little bit about, about why and what, and just give a few details on resources that are going to be available inside the book for our, you know, our Gallup-Certified Coaches or our enthusiasts around the world? How could they use this and tie strengths into wellbeing?

Jim Harter 15:29

Yeah, so the way we thought about strengths in the context of wellbeing is, is really that we shouldn't expect everybody to be this superstar athlete or to have to become what maybe some inspirational person is that might be running them through a program or whatever it is. I shouldn't have to become an athlete to improve my physical wellbeing. I shouldn't have to be a multimillionaire to, to have high financial wellbeing, because financial wellbeing comes down to how we manage our money to reduce our daily stress and increase our long-term security. Those are the two outcomes that people with thriving financial wellbeing are, are how you experience your days through your money and, and long-term, and how you use your money really to have the right kinds of experiences so that, you know, so that it lasts, and it doesn't just fade away.

Jim Harter 16:29

And physical, the outcome is, should be, How do I increase my daily energy so I can get done what I need to get done, regardless of what situation we're in? People, many people have some form of disease burden that they had, had no part in. And it's about figuring out ways to manage your your daily life so that you can do what you want to do. And of course, there are important elements underneath that, like what we eat and how, the quality of our sleep, which is often overlooked. And then the, the, how much we move around.

Jim Harter 17:02

In this particular book, we did include a chapter review on some of George Gallup's really early work on what he called, he called them "the oldsters" -- people who lived to be 95+. And they moved around a lot through their work. We call this "exercise" nowadays, but they just moved a lot. And they ate smaller meals, and they didn't, they weren't as selective about what they ate. But back then -- this is in the late '50s, early '60s -- back then, there weren't as many processed foods, so that probably played to their advantage also.

Jim Harter 17:34

But to get back on topic here, Jim, the strengths, strengths plays into this because it builds some efficiency in terms of how we can aim who we naturally are at improving each, each one of those. We shouldn't, it shouldn't be such a big mountain to climb to improve on these 5 elements. And sometimes it feels that way, because we feel like we have to be like this person over here and go to the gym and be like the gym rat. And that's, that's fine for a lot of people. But it's not, it doesn't fit for everybody.

Jim Harter 18:06

And so that's, that's why -- the, in terms of resources, we've got an Appendix that a bunch of us, many of which you've, you've seen on, on this, on this show -- Jaclynn Robinson is one of them; Jim Asplund; Austin. But a bunch of folks here at Gallup spent some time going through each one of those strengths and looking at how each of those strengths tie to each one of these well, each of the 34 strengths tie to each of the 5 wellbeing elements, to give people a starting point in thinking about how -- whatever strengths they have, or, or their employee might have, or the person they're coaching might have -- here are some ideas about how they might improve that wellbeing element through those particular strengths. So that's an Appendix.

Jim Harter 18:55

We also have an Appendix that is a manager guide, could also be used as a coaching guide, that will take you through some example questions. By the way, on that strengths-to-wellbeing piece, this, this group is going to just have incredible depth to add to those. Think about that Appendix as a starting point. But I think we have just a great amount of learning to do as we keep studying this. A lot of, a lot of green grass out there for us to explore.

Jim Collison 19:22

We, you know, 12 years ago or so -- I joined Gallup 14 years ago, and it took me a year or two to kind of get all the way into the culture. I met Ryan Wolf, who, who, we began a kind of a journey on physical wellbeing together. And it's not all about that, but I always kind of think he, I think secretly, played to my Arranger-Woo combination, because I always wanted to, and I didn't want to win things; I just, I used to, you know, you and I ran a lot together in those years. We did the same races together and spent some time running. You were, fortunately, always faster than me, and, and so I

Jim Harter 19:58

I don't remember that.

Jim Collison 19:59

I strive, I strive to be like Jim Harter. But, using those themes, I figured out I was a social runner. That's kind of what I named, like, I didn't run because I liked running; I ran because I liked being, and winning people. That was the, you know, the more people we could get at a race, the, the bigger the crowd, the more participation we would get -- I think we got to a point where we had 120 or something registered for Corporate Cup. I was the mouthpiece for helping the recruiting. Right. I think it was a great example of being able to tie my strengths into some of our wellbeing initiatives. And by the way, wellbeing initiatives aren't just physical activities. I think sometimes wellness programs become about physical activities or diets, right. And there's so much more to that.

Jim Collison 20:46

Jim, a question I got from the chat room a couple times, and you and I addressed this a little bit as we talked about Resiliency Through CliftonStrengths, a series we did at the end of 2020 together -- you covered community and, and, and social wellbeing. Where do the areas of -- and this is a little bit off topic, but let me address it. What are the areas, when we think about mental or emotional or spiritual -- these, these other wellbeing terms, how do we, how do those fit into this? Is it an exhaustive list, or are there room for other areas of wellbeing to be explored as well?

Jim Harter 21:21

Yeah, that's, that's a really good question, and one we've thought about a lot, actually, and thought even more about lately, as we've seen all these trends in mental health. You know, people are reporting, the, the U.S. Census Bureau and CDC [U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] reported a third of people have, in this past year have had incidence of -- pardon me, signs or symptoms of depression and anxiety. And that's more than double the, if you go all the way back to 2014, it's more than double that trend. So the mental health issue is a really big one to be thinking about.

Jim Harter 22:00

At Gallup, we're not experts at the treatment of mental health. And that's not an area that we're, we're seeking to become experts at. But we do think that as organizations improve their cultures, and we've got evidence of this, they can reduce the chance of mental health issues in the future. So it's kind of getting ahead of it, where there's EAPs to take care of that, it's getting ahead of it. So how does it, how does it fit into our dimensionality here? I want to talk about spirituality too, but mental, think about mental health or emotional health as one of many outcomes of getting these 5 elements right. So it kind of sits underneath all 5, to some extent; they all, they all predict various mental health symptoms that we have been able to track in the past and emotional health. They're all predictors of how people experience their days emotionally. They're leading indicators of new incidence of depression and anxiety -- that is, if they're, if they're low.

Jim Harter 23:05

So I would think about the 5 elements as these are 5 areas everybody can act on. No matter where they're at in the world, they can do something about each of these 5 to some extent, or at least the, there's possibility there for improvement. And that improvement will relate to better emotional health and reduce chance of mental, other mental health issues. Spirit -- were you going to ask something, Jim?

Jim Collison 23:30

No, no, keep going.

Jim Harter 23:31

OK. Spirituality, we did a bunch of study of that as well, and religiosity. We looked at it globally and in some of our longitudinal panel studies. And what we found is that spirituality -- well, let me say it a different way. These 5 elements are mediators of the impact of spirituality or religiosity on wellbeing outcomes, like how people evaluate their lives and their emotional health. So think about these 5 as mediators. It's almost like, you could interpret from those data that if you have got healthy spirituality or religiosity, it's going to flow through each of those 5. And you could direct that at that those 5. So think about those as kind of be in the middle of spirituality, religiosity and some of those important outcomes, like how we think about our overall lives and how we experience our days.

Jim Harter 24:26

The other thing I'd say, I was talking with Deepak Chopra when we first came out with that Wellbeing 5 book in 2010. And he said, "These 5 elements are spirituality." So there's that -- it's kind of interesting way to think about it. The other thing I'd say about spirituality, and the reason it is like a separate dimension in the, like a 6th dimension, is that when we studied it globally, its impact on life evaluation and daily emotions varied quite a bit around the world. So these 5, we saw consistent relationships around the world. It varied, in fact, it was more strongly predictive in more religious societies. So it wasn't quite as generalizable as these 5.

Jim Collison 25:07

Yeah, and I loved, in the very beginning of the first book, you talk about, these are 5 elements that we discovered in the millions of interviews we did globally around the world. And we're able to put them together in a way, one, we can measure them, and two, we can make a difference in. And I don't think they're exhaustive or the only 5 that are out there -- I get this question a lot from our coaching community: "But what about -- ?" I love that, that, that your answer to that is that they, they're an underlying foundation of all of them. And so we get this opportunity, then, to see through those, whether it's emotional, spiritual, we get to see those elements through those -- the lens, I like to say, those we see those through those.

Jim Collison 25:51

A comment from chat said, Why, why the at least perceived need to shift the responsibility of personal wellbeing from individual to their employer? I see the apparent shift is, you know, we've, we've said now It's the Manager, and we're also putting out a workplace book on wellbeing. Doesn't this lead the training away from personal agency? Jim, you and I were talking a little bit about it like that in the preshow. How do you feel about that? Are we taking the onus off the individual with this?

Jim Harter 26:19

I don't think so at all. It might, I could see how that might be perceived, but it's really about, so it is ultimately on the individual, much like, you know, even engagement, you could say, has a lot to do with what that individual does. But the manager is in a position where they can set the tone. They can direct people to the right resources in the organization at a very basic level. At a higher level, they can listen to someone and think about how their, their life is going. I would, I would argue that managers and coaches are in the best position to help individuals impact wellbeing because they're, they're close to the action. They can, they're in a position where they can understand their life situation, they can understand their work, their, their, their, their goals. They can help, I think, they're in a position to understand what, what team they're on, what purpose they're going after, what metrics that they're tracking, in terms of their life overall, how they're developing, what kind of strategy they have in place for their future. I think I mentioned team, and they're in position to think about, help an individual think about their wellbeing.

Jim Harter 27:30

So ultimately, it is the individual, and with, with wellbeing, with, with wellbeing in particular, it's a little touchier than engagement, because engagement's very much directed at what's going on at work. I think the best thing a coach or a manager can do is open the door to have those conversations. And I think that happens through setting the right kind of culture so that people natural, naturally feel comfortable and don't feel awkward about it.

Jim Harter 27:58

I also think strengths is such an important part because it reduces those awkward conversations. You're starting with who that person is, and a common language. So I think it's both. But I think organizations haven't done enough job, a good enough job up to now of putting a culture in place that supports that. So you got individuals who are trying to do the right thing for themselves, and you got organizational pressures and, and policies and, and cultures that are working against what they're trying to get done for themselves. So the point is, organizations play a huge role in, in setting, setting the tone, I guess, and supporting what individuals are already trying to get done.

Jim Collison 28:43

Yeah, a both, a "both-and approach," right, of tackling it from both sides. As you were talking, I was thinking, Wow! Wellbeing is almost like a personal engagement measure, you know, in some ways. How am I, you know, we, we used the Q12 to kind of measure how we're doing at work. But as I think about those elements, career wellbeing is certainly a part of that. But all those other elements really bring this idea of personal engagement. How am I engaging with the planet around me -- with those, you know, personally doing that?

Jim Collison 29:13

If, if I was an individual, and we've, this book may, the title may position at the workplace. But if I was an individual, and I'm maybe struggling at this point, Jim, how can I -- what kind of steps could I take right away? Or what kind of things have we found are helpful to getting back into a thriving state. Because we have a lot of people suffering at this point.

Jim Harter 29:35

Yeah, and in the U.S., it's more struggling, I think. Because suffering is, is a real desperate state. You know, on that scale I was giving you earlier from 0 to 10, someone suffering is at 4 and below present, and 4 and below future. So they're feeling pretty hopeless, and that's a smaller percentage in the U.S. and a smaller percentage globally, but it's still, that's, that's an important chunk of the population. And some people have gone into that, gone into suffering.

Jim Harter 30:04

The first thing that I would say is, you know, to take, take note of the the 5 elements we can do something about; to think about them holistically. They are independent but also interdependent elements of our lives. That, that, so to think about them holistically means that we're best if we think about how we can, we can get involved in, in activities and, and set goals around things that impact multiple domains. But even before all that, to start with strengths is really important, because that's a foundation that makes everything else more efficient. So I know this group already knows that, but I'll restate it anyway.

Jim Harter 30:47

I think we can aim our strengths at each one of those elements, and it just makes, makes it a lot easier. So we're not expecting to be somebody else; we're kind of working through our own tendencies. And, and then we can develop. Think about wellbeing elements almost as competencies that you can continue to get better at, you know, it's -- the other thing I would say, is that we should all kind of recognize that everybody's on this, this journey, and not too many people are all the way there. You know, it's, everybody's got stuff they're working on. And I don't think we should expect that people think that other people have these lives where they're maxing out on each of those 5 elements. It's just not, you know, we don't see in the data. And I think if you sat down and everybody had honest conversations about them, they would have things that they, they would improve on.

Jim Harter 31:39

So I think knowing that we're all in the same boat, at least in the sense that we're, we have things to work on is important, too. That's why I think that those peer kind of connections are really important. How do we partner with other people like us that, that we can learn ideas from in each of those areas, and in many cases, work together on. I think we can all sit down and assess ourselves on each of those 5. We, in our 2010 book, we did put a, an instrument in there that anybody could take that, that will give them, you know, a measurement on where they're at, but I don't know that it's necessary. I mean, it's there, but I think anybody can sit down and, and ask themselves questions about each of those 5, just like we have in that manager guide and as a resource in the book. And just having the conversation, I think, much like strengths, the important thing is that we improve productive conversations. And that we don't just assess, "Here's your score," and, and move on. It's, it's more, How do we have a conversation so, so that it leads to something better?

Jim Collison 32:47

Yeah, I appreciate you saying that, because sometimes that Q12 score can, the score itself can be distracting from the conversations that need to be had around, around teams, around organizations about what do those numbers actually mean? And if it becomes more about the number, I just recently went back to the Wellbeing Finder is what we called it in those days, and it's still there, still works; you can take it. But I was always then thinking, I was kind of gaming that. I took it a couple times, and I'd game it because I wouldn't, I wouldn't want my score to be lower than, you know, the second or third or fourth time that I took it. And, and so a great opportunity to, to kind of review -- at least for me to kind of think, OK, now wait a minute, the importance here is how I feel during the pandemic, during the year. You know, I would say my physical wellbeing took a hit. But I know that. I'm having conversations about that. It's a temporary thing until we, you know, return to some, you know, the fitness center that we have at Gallup is very, very important for me. That became a routine and a habit that I got into that I got out of when we were, we were no longer there. So it's -- I love that.

Jim Collison 33:53

Jim, are there other resources? So we talked a little bit about some, some workplace, some organizational helps in there. We talked about, we wrote some things around integrating strengths into this. Other resources that are a part of the book, just as we kind of wrap this, that you'd like to highlight in there that folks could use out of the book?

Jim Harter 34:12

Well, the, the book, what we tried to do is, is make this as actionable as possible. And so we've listed off a lot of, there's a ton of research we've listed in the back of the book, but we've, we've listed off a number of what we think are actions individuals and organizations can take on each of the 5 elements related to their work. And a really important point in my mind is that there is an order to those 5 elements. And even though, you know, if somebody is suffering on any of them, of course that's their priority. If somebody has extreme physical pain, they got to take care of that; if, if they're living in an unsafe area, that's got to be the priority. If they're, if they're bankrupt, that's got to be a priority to fix that. And if they're lonely, and they don't have, you know, good relationships, they got to fix that.

Jim Harter 35:04

But career wellbeing is the most foundational, and I would make social wellbeing a very close second to that. And the reason has to do with how many kind of tentacles those two have, and how much they impact the rest of our life in terms of the amount of time we spend in each of those areas. And they set us up for success in financial, physical and, and community wellbeing, if we get them right. And a point about those two is that if we, if we start first on those engagement elements, that's why I think that It's the Manager piece is kind of a foundation for this, then we're already working on those two, those first two, career and social. They're embedded in there. And so, at least from a, in a work context, we're helping people improve on their careers and their, and their social wellbeing, if we're getting that, those engagement elements right. And then it's a matter of thinking about how we can open the door even further. Those two will build trust. When you, when you build trust, you've got a better chance of having good, productive conversations on, on these deeper wellbeing issues.

Jim Collison 36:14

Jim, you've alluded to this in here throughout, but I'll ask it again, because I think it's important in the, in the context of this conversation. When we think about our Certified Coaches, our coaches in organizations having an impact in this area, what kind of advice would you give them today, to say, Here's 2 or 3 things -- you just gave one, saying that career and social are super important in this, and we don't, we don't want to miss those. Any other piece of advice that you give to coaches, as you would kind of help them in orgs or with individuals around this?

Jim Harter 36:55

Coaches are like experts on this. So it's kind of hard to give them advice, Jim. They're dealing with people all the time. I bet they'll have a lot of advice to send my way; I'd like to learn from, from all of them. But I think we've got to keep it very simple and practical to start off with. And, you know, what can we achieve now? You know, what can we help someone achieve in the short term, to give them confidence that, that they can move this in the right direction. You know, if it's, if they're an Activator, might be around rallying people to improve social wellbeing. If they're an Analytical, it might be connecting to other people through insights and problem-solving and sharing knowledge with others.

Jim Harter 37:33

And financial wellbeing, if they're competitive [Competition], maybe it's some form of gamification, or maybe they get a boost out of comparing themselves to others on finances. If they're a Developer, you know, it might help the Developer who really wants to spend a lot of time -- maybe sometimes, they'll spend too much time on others and not themselves, on a, from a financial perspective, to help them know how them making money can impact others through charity or some other means. So I think there's just all kinds of creative ways of thinking about how we help individuals through their strengths on these 5.

Jim Collison 38:08

OK, good advice. And, you know, I think we all can come to this together, like we did with It's the Manager. When that book released, as a community, we spent a bunch of time figuring out ways to use it. You know, we saw book clubs pop up; we saw folks jumping on and talking about it online. You know, we, we saw all kinds of different advice around that. So we welcome that in our Facebook groups, if you're one of our Certified Coaches or enthusiasts champions, strengths champions around the world. We'll continue this conversation; we're excited to get that book in your hands.

Jim Collison 38:41

And, and we also know if you're, if you're registered before May 15 for the, for the Gallup at Work Summit, you'll get that book free as part of the, the physical box we'll be sending out, as well as a cool little wellbeing gadget that's coming included with that, as well. So you can get that, or, or you can preorder it right now, as well.

Jim Collison 39:00

Jim, a couple, couple questions came in, really specific questions. So we're gonna kind of work our way through these. Nancy had asked, To what extent did employees cite psychological safety as an important element in the workplace environment? Does that show up in our research anywhere, this idea of psychological safety?

Jim Harter 39:21

Yeah, if you kind of break down psychological safety, it overlaps with a lot of the concepts that, that we measure in engagement and wellbeing, particularly when you, when you think about the elements that relate the most to feelings of inclusion and belonging. And there's belonging components in engagement. Belonging, you know, if you, as we're tracking data through COVID in organizations that were working on engagement, we continue to see increases in, in, in those elements during -- and again, this is a subset of organizations that are actually working on trying to improve it, so organizations that we're working with. But the social component, having a best friend at work, for instance, didn't see quite as much growth as we normally see. So being in these different locations and remote, particularly, we saw a pattern with newer employees.

Jim Harter 40:16

So newer employees, and I think that's something that we have to be really conscientious about as we move forward and as organizations continue to evolve through this situation is to think about how different employees in different situations are going to have different needs socially. So longer-term employees like Jim and I, we can get on, we get on video and it's just like, just like the same, you know, almost. But longer-term employees have already established relationships and some trust. And so you, it's easy to maintain friendships from that perspective.

Jim Harter 40:58

But the newer employees, I think it's tougher. So how we onboard people effectively, there's some keys onboarding we wrote in It's the Manager that I think could be leveraged there. But, and one big one is how do I -- who are my partners? And so we got to speed that up and find ways, maybe even in a safe way, have some in-person, more in-person time with the newer people and, so that we can build that trust, but that's a part of psychological safety. Feeling cared about in engagement is a part of psychological safety. At a basic level, it's feeling like you're treated with respect; that's a real key to people feeling safe anywhere. It's, it's almost like a, it's almost like an assumed thing, but less than half of people will strongly agree that they're treated with respect. And if you don't strongly agree, if you even give a "4" [on a 1 to 5 scale] to that one, you see all kinds of negative things. So those are some kind of top-of-mind thoughts. It's a great question.

Jim Collison 41:54

Yeah, it, I know, when the pandemic started, there were a few new employees that I reached out to, and said, Can I just schedule some time with you every week? Because I know -- you're brand new. And I want to make sure you succeed through this time. (We didn't know how long it was going to be.) But a great opportunity to reach out to them and make sure they've continued to be contacted with and have time with. We started a bunch of new employees on Monday. And it was fun to see that -- we hadn't onboarded anybody in a while, and so they did a, they did some things for them that were in-person and will continue to be virtual. So I think we got some challenges ahead. Marcia asks this question about neuroscience. Do you see the integration of neuroscience as an important resource to aim strengths to improving your wellness?

Jim Harter 42:43

I think neuroscience can help us. And we've done some, some work on this, particularly with our first study, which is on customer engagement. But I think, I think neuroscience can help us understand why, and help us explain why. We actually just got a proposal from somebody to do some work on this with strengths, which, be kind of interesting to follow up on that. So we're thinking, we're just considering which parts of the brain light up, you know, when, when you, when you discuss areas that are your strengths versus areas that aren't. So I think it can help us understand and provide more clarity around why strengths are so important. We can look at how strengths relate to outcomes. We've done big meta-analyses on that.

Jim Harter 43:28

But, but another example is, we did an employee engagement study looking at how engaged employees physiologically react. So we found that less-engaged employees have actually more, more of the, of the hormone cortisol in in the mornings than people who are engaged. And so that's the stress hormone. So it kind of helps us understand and explain, you know, what's actually going on and make tangible what's actually going on inside of us when we experience these things? And it's another form of validation too. Neuroscience is kind of tricky, though. It's, it's a different way of looking at data, because it's a ton of observations on a small sample. So, you know, it can kind of, it's kind of anecdotal in that sense, in that, you know, you can, you can take it and say, Well, this is kind of an interesting way of looking at how, with these these repeated measures on the same people, they, they responded to these kinds of stimuli.

Jim Collison 44:28

Yeah. Marta gets the, I think, the prize for the best question, by the way. So Marta, this is awesome. And I think it's the elephant in the closet in every Q12 is this idea of having a best friend at work, right. And so, Has the best friend notion shifted to a virtual connection? So have we seen anything? I think, Jim, you alluded to this a little bit when we first started. But because we're virtual, we don't see each other. Have we seen through our Q12 data, and I think later on here this year, we're going to release some, some new reports around this, but have we seen a change? Has that taken a hit, have best friends taken a hit?

Jim Harter 45:04

Well, well, it's still extremely important. But I would also make sure everybody understands, it's not always the first thing you work on. The foundational issues like expectations to get people's roles right, getting people in the right jobs, doing what they do best -- you get those right, then the friendships become very dynamic and innovative and powerful in organizations. On the other hand, if you don't get those basics right, then friendships can be kind of codestructive. So there's that. But as we're tracking through the pandemic, engaged, or it's best friend, that particular item was more difficult to improve on than the others.

Jim Harter 45:47

So for people, for people that, and largely because people were working remote again, and we, we know that working remote, we had more challenges. And social distancing, all that, created a lot more challenges in terms of, in terms of our social wellbeing. And we know that all forms of social time count; we've seen that in the data, whether it's video like this, or whether it's even email or -- any kind of connections help. But in-person time matters more. It doesn't mean -- this is an important takeaway, too, I think -- it doesn't mean we have to have in-person time all the time, though. In-person time matters up to a point. So it's almost like the event of the in-person time matters more than the total amount of time. So that's kind of something to kind of take note of too.

Jim Collison 46:45

Yeah, that is, that's interesting.

Jim Harter 46:47

So scheduling them, I think, the in-person times in a safe way is important to do if we can, because it boosts your wellbeing a little bit more, and something in our human psyche that -- I think the video does help some. You can, at least, you know, we can get like a one-on-one. I like the one-on-one videos, because you can really have a kind of normal conversation. If, when you get like 100 people on a screen, it's, you know, you don't really know, you can't really sense what people are feeling.

Jim Collison 47:21

Sure. Well, but, but those, those kinds of meetings have their own purpose.

Jim Harter 47:25

Yeah, they're more functional.

Jim Collison 47:26

Yeah. Yeah. To get I think about, you know, we shifted our year-end awards ceremony from in-person, which was always a big party, to virtual. And, and I think we did a pretty good job, but I think we've got some improvement to do on it. And by the way, it had an unintended consequence of making our global employees feel more included in this. And so we began to kind of think through, OK, how do we keep this virtual because it worked better for everybody, but continue to tweak it to make it better for everybody in the process? I think there's never an end point to that.

Jim Collison 48:01

But we, we probably wouldn't have discovered that if we hadn't been forced into that model. I think this has been a really beneficial factor for us at Gallup and some of the things we've learned. Jim, last question for you, a little bit of personal, but how are you doing in your wellbeing like coming out of the pandemic? We live through it as well. How are you doing? And are there, you research this thing every day. Are there areas for you -- like, if you were going to think about like, yeah, I've got, this has slipped a little bit for me. Any, any insight there? Be, be as transparent as you'd like answering that question.

Jim Harter 48:35

Well, there's kind of two sides to it. On the one side, I've learned some things that I kind of knew, but I didn't really, didn't really hit home enough in the past that -- working from home, I had a good setup for it pre-pandemic. And I always scheduled some time working from home because I have high Focus and I, but I realized how much I can get done without a commute. That's, that's one thing. But the other side, the other side of it is -- and I kind of, I have to get absorbed. And so those long periods of time to get absorbed help a lot -- especially when you're trying to write a book during a pandemic, and trying to write a book in the summer is when, when we kind of did a lot of the main content was, that's challenging. Because there's a lot to do in the summer. It's easy to write a book in the, in the winter, especially a Nebraska winter.

Jim Harter 49:30

On the social side, though, I think, and I think we have to be, I think I have to be and everybody needs to be strategic about how we measure social wellbeing going forward, that we might learn things like that, but like to give you another kind of personal example is I, if I had my druthers, I would probably just sit home and read a book or something. And I have a spouse who forces me into social interaction and I ended up enjoying it. So I think we've got to be strategic and have partners that help us, help nudge us to make sure that social in-person time happens when, when it can happen safely.

Jim Harter 50:11

But I think, so, as we're kind of coaching people, I think that strategy part of, of wellbeing is really important, about what is my strategy for how to improve each of these areas? And how can I actually make that work in partnership with the, in the social realm, in partnership with the people that I, that I'm wanting to be social with? Right? So and this is a challenge for organizations going forward in the near term is, OK, OK. Most are saying we're going to have this hybrid-type environment, or they're going to try to do that, right? How do I do that in such a way, so that when I'm in the office, my coworkers are too, so we can actually collaborate, which is the reason why we're here? So we can collaborate in person. And so I think, so people might say, Well, I'm gonna go in the office 3 days a week or 2 days a week, or whatever it is. Well, how do we make sure some of those days overlap, so we can actually -- ?

Jim Collison 51:07

A little more coordination on that. I found myself doing that now, as we're making our way back in, and we're starting to say it's OK, Tuesday is going to be the day, you know. And we're all going to come in just to try to coordinate it, to kind of help. Because there is a, there is a certain momentum that happens as, as people physically arrive; it's just different than -- I didn't, that's one of the areas of the pandemic I underestimated what, as we, as many of us went home -- not everybody was able to do that. And a lot of people in, in essential jobs continue to go to work. But, but for those in, in that kind of situation, it's been harder to restart that engine than I, than I anticipated, of getting people back in the office. And so there's that struggle as well.

Jim Collison 51:52

Jim, I'm glad that your wife did such a great job because, of getting you out to more social events, because some of the best conversations I've had with you have been at some of those events as, as we're standing around talking. So it's always great to see you. Thanks for taking the time. It's a particularly busy time for you. Preshow, we were talking, you've got plenty of podcast interviews and all kinds of things happening as we get ready to launch the book. Again, Wellbeing at Work, it goes -- the launch date for that is May 4. Available where most books are sold. You can preorder it; we'll have a link to it in the show notes here. Jim, thanks for taking the time today to be a part of this, and appreciate it. We can't cover everything, but we sure gave it a try. Thanks for coming out today. I appreciate it.

Jim Harter 52:39

Great to be with everybody again.

Jim Collison 52:41

Jim, hang tight for me one second. I'll remind everyone to take full advantage of all the resources we do have available. And if you head to and just search "Wellbeing at Work," you'll actually find our post on this and be able to, to preorder the book, if you want to do it that way. If it's after May 4, 2021, I'm sure it's available. Just search Gallup -- search "Wellbeing at Work." And you can find that available there. If you're interested in coaching, master coaching or to become a Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach, or -- we mentioned this early in the conversation today -- maybe your organization would love Gallup's help in kind of doing a wellbeing audit, we do that as well. You can send us an email: We'll get somebody to get back with you right away on that as well. If you want to follow our webcasts, we have a whole bunch coming up. And they continue to be very, very successful in a lot of things we're doing. You can follow us on Eventbrite. Go to and just follow us there. You'll get a notification whenever we do something new. Jim, we mentioned the Gallup at Work Summit that's coming up, are you, you're, of course you're speaking at the Summit. What's your session on?

Jim Harter 53:43

Wellbeing at work!

Jim Collison 53:44

Yeah, there we go.

Jim Harter 53:45

Vipula Gandhi and I are doing, are going to be doing a session there. And there's, I think, 3 on wellbeing at the Summit, at least. So there's, there'll be plenty of content covered.

Jim Collison 53:55

June 8 and 9, 100% virtual, and you can join us from anywhere in the world. Registration:, and our Certified Coaches get a discount as well. You can find us anywhere on our social platforms by searching "CliftonStrengths." And we want to thank you for joining us today. And thanks for coming out. Jim, again, thanks for joining us today. If you found this useful, we'd love to have you share it. And so we appreciate you doing that as well. With that, we'll say, Goodbye, everybody.

Dr. Jim Harter's Top 5 CliftonStrengths are Achiever, Focus, Learner, Relator and Futuristic.

Learn more about using CliftonStrengths to help yourself and others succeed:

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