Health & Wellness: Thinking Outside The Box

By Wayne R. Bodie, MBA, SPHR

Photo by NIDHIN MUNDACKAL on Unsplash

Not long ago, health and wellness were hot topics. You couldn’t walk anywhere without tripping over these industry buzz words. Though often discussed in meetings as a matter of policy or detailed in summary plan documents, over time many company programs honed in on employer cost savings via employee health screenings and staff virtual wellness courses.

Right now, mental health disorders and suicides are on the rise, and more common than ever before. Thus, we grapple for workplace wellness programs that can cope with today’s rising tide of stress, anxiety and clinical depression. Narrowly focused health programs must broaden their scope. If they don’t, their glory days are over. We need more than cosmetic cover-ups, where we mindlessly re-apply polish to restore our program’s original luster. Only a comprehensive retrofit with integrated solutions will do.

Over the last 30 years, anxiety, depression, and suicide have dramatically increased. No demographic has escaped this epidemic’s grip. The National Institute on Mental Health estimates that 40 million adult Americans suffer from some form of Anxiety Disorder. That’s approximately 18% of the United States population.

To complicate matters even further, most employers are ill-equipped to recognize, intervene and mitigate the full impact of clinical depression on staff performance, workplace engagement and the company’s bottom-line. So that 18% threatens productivity, workplace safety, and moral. One thing is certain. If we ignore the trend and do nothing, we will see greater numbers of mentally unhealthy employees in the workplace.

After scrutinizing the conventional methods they’ve used in the past, given the increasing prevalence of mental health problems, many employers have broadened their health management tactics. They now advocate positively managing and supporting their employees’ total well-being. It’s the only way employers can ensure their staffs perform to their potential – allowing businesses to achieve peak performance.

Considering how much time we spend on the job, it’s logical our jobs affect our well-being. Although there’s a mountain of program alternatives, I only want to concentrate on one of them:  A liberal policy allowing emotional support animals in the workplace. I bet you’re picturing a “mad house” or a “petting zoo” at work. Hang on for a minute and let me explain. Even better, hold on and enjoy the ride.

Over the past decade, the mega-shift from the physical world to the virtual reality of consuming content online, including digitally purchasing items, simulation gaming and electronic socializing compounds our isolation. In this merged reality movement, our work habits are steadily more and more computer-centric. As technology explodes and constantly deluges us with information, many of us struggle at home and at work with virtual connectivity overload.

Although there is no Ph.D. in my titles, l strongly encourage you, especially if and when you’re upset, to look at the picture below. Does that make you feel better? If not, there’s no need to read further. However, if it made you smile or feel better or at least say, “Ahhhh”, please continue.


Photo by Andrew Branch on Unsplash


Titles II and III of the ADA regulate the utilization of Service Animals in the workplace. The Act limits the use of Service Animals to those with mental illness to those that require medication reminders or calming an individual with PTSD. While Emotional Support Animals (ESA) or Support Animals are prescribed as part of medical treatments, they are not considered Service Animals under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

I haven’t attached a generic Emotional Support Animal Policy since you will want to customize one for your organization’s unique advantage. Instead, my goal is to make a compelling enough case that well-intentioned key decision makers put positive reinforcement to work for them. A happy employee is a productive employee. In a world adjusting to mainstream workplace violence, assaults, and increased depression and mental illness, it would be really something if all it took was a puppy in the office to start repairing the social damage.







Mission Possible: How To Increase Your Business Sales By 37%

By Wayne R. Bodie, MBA, SPHR


Several years ago, a former colleague and close friend launched a financial services company. He’s the “It Guy” with a stream of profitable ventures in his wake, so it was no surprise when his latest start-up took off. While I watched from the sidelines, his upwardly mobile trappings multiplied. Rolex timepieces, flashy supercars then a multi-million dollar home and frequent international vacations.

The day the invitation arrived to personally tour his new business enterprise, I jumped at the chance. Onsite was just as impressive as I imagined with expansive views, trendy offices, an open workspace sales floor, and an inviting break room. I patted him on the shoulder saying, Wow, nice job!” That moment, he gets a call from down the hall. “I have to take this,” he says to me, “feel free to show yourself around.”

Drawing on my own sales background, I can’t help making a beeline straight into the sales department. For sure, my blatant enthusiasm about shadowing for a while is plastered all over my face, because without hesitation, one of the sales agents thrusts a headset into my palm. I listen in, realizing this guy is good! Guys and gals, they were all good! That conclusion wasn’t a bolt out of the blue though, given that my buddy had strategically recruited each team member from top national firms.

Besides their exceptional talent, one other thing became glaringly apparent: The turbulence. A war raged. Between calls on the floor, they grumbled, clearly upset with management while the sales manager cracked “a whip over their heads”.

I was shocked! I thought, given inexperience and/or incompetence, this sales manager doesn’t know how to run a sales floor. Mindful that my buddy may not be fully aware, I contemplated working my observations into casual conversation, as I headed head back to my friend’s corner office.

Since chief executives are expected to grow sales, I wondered whether this CEO would blow up the fire or put out the flames. My answer surfaced in a private conversation where my buddy said, “The number one way I increase my sales team’s efficiency and productivity is to get them excited.” He added, “The more noise and drama the better.”

What struck me was not so much the sales team maelstrom, but that my friend would allow it to exist. Long story very short, he was aware but preferred it that way. He explained, “I prefer a thumbs down approach to management, and my commission structure keeps staff onboard.” No way would I let our differences in organizational philosophies affect our friendship. Rather we agreed to disagree.

Unfortunately a missed opportunity for my friend, but in the spirit of wishing every company progress and profitability, here’s a free lesson for every operations manager. Happy workers are not only more productive, but they also sell better. How much better you may ask? Excellent question! Let’s explore some statistics:

  1. Companies with happy employees outperform their competition by 20%
  2. Happy employees are 12% more productive
  3. A Happy Sales Force will yield 37% greater sales
  4. Happy Employees take 10x less sick days

I’m just an HR guy. But, I have a sneaky suspicion that if I walked into your company and offered to increase your sales by 37% your operations guy might listen. Now, you may be asking, “OK, how do I make people happy?” This article doesn’t give you the full cookbook of secret recipes for happy employees, that’s for another day entirely. But, fostering an organizational atmosphere of trust, dignity, and respect is a good place to start.


Statistic Source:

Growing An Awesome Personal Brand: 8 Tips for Job Seekers

By Wayne R. Bodie, MBA, SPHR


Nowadays pretty much everyone is personal branding savvy, even non-techies. Very much like a product on a store shelf, the way we dress sends a strong message to those around us. So, obviously it pays dividends to invest in the right clothes, personal fitness, and to exercise presentable grooming techniques.

But You Are Smart, You Already Knew That.

So, let’s segue into much more topical issues. How much thought are you putting into your digital footprint? If you are in Human Resources or Operations, you already recognize how prominently social media factors into sourcing and researching potential talent. What your social media presence says about you today will have a huge bearing on your future employment successes.

The days of using a passive approach to social media have come and gone. If you don’t have a social media presence, you better get one. The absence of an online presence can be almost as detrimental to your future job opportunities as having a poorly presented brand. Resisting social media will affect your marketability.

At a bare minimum, if you haven’t done so already get a LinkedIn account up and running. To blow away the ever-expanding competition, consider spending money on the most important facet of your profile, a professional headshot. That investment pays off when that positive first impression entices the viewer to read further.

But, how do you leverage your personal brand into a much larger brand? Keep that LinkedIn account current with your most recent educational and professional history. Fill out as much profile information as you can include skills, achievements, and certifications. Once the basics are in place, you can regularly work the account. This means soliciting endorsements, writing and sharing industry relevant content, and arguably the most important strategy will be developing key relationships. This isn’t your social account, this is a business network. Avoid collecting connections that serve no strategic importance.

Start conversations, interact and join groups. Carry those relationships offline and meet for coffee to talk shop, or plan an after-hour networking mixer. Take a little time each day to work on your social media account and establish professional, valuable, and strategic business partnerships, not just “connections.” Meet a vendor or two that can undercut a current price or provide a better service. This justifies time well spent.

Don’t Stop There!

Consider a piece of digital real-estate to call home. A personal website and a custom URL is not just for graphic designers or amateur photographers anymore. Regardless of your industry, a personal website is the new norm that delivers wonderful opportunities to further develop your brand and be creative too.  Don’t believe me? Fill out a couple of online resume’s today in any industry and see how many now ask for your Linked-In URL and your personal website.

A Final Suggestion

Take the time to tidy up your personal Facebook account.Even if your privacy settings are set to: (1) not show on search engines or (2) can only be seen by friends, don’t be shocked if your interviewer, a recruiter or hiring manager asks you to log into your Facebook account. It is happening with greater frequency every day. Don’t let pictures of a seemingly innocent night out with an old friend end up costing you a six-figure job opportunity.

It’s no secret traditional networking is a huge advantage in a job search. Personal connections land most jobs. The good old-fashioned way still gets results so pick up the phone and dial a friend. But the remaining 20% of positions available that everybody battles for will be online. In this heated arena, only the very best branded online candidates will triumph over those poorly represented or worst yet, those having no online branding at all.

Hiring A Safety Manager: Consider Ex-Military or Paramilitary Professionals

By Wayne R. Bodie, MBA, SPHR


Your safety manager just left and with him his 20 years of experience out the door. Since you have rapid fire choices to make, you need this position filled quickly. Do you groom someone internally?  A learning curve in a safety role could cost your organization greatly in terms of fines, penalties, or even worst an on-the-job injury or death.

You know you need OSHA compliance, check. You need someone safety driven and goal oriented, check. Probably most importantly you need someone on-site who has a “Command Presence.” Ah, a term that many of us don’t consider in a job description.

We all know the mantra, “every accident is preventable.” We proudly hang our signs “X number of days accident-free,” but achieving success is easier talked about than putting into practice. Pardon the pun, workplace safety best practices do not happen by accident. To establish a safety-first culture as a core value, upper management buy-in is essential, and your safety manager must sell safety solutions and the program benefits to your troops.

Keep in mind credentialing is not the end all be all. You could have the highest credentialed safety manager in the world, but if he can’t sell your line personnel on a safety culture, accidents will happen. Don’t create a “paper” safety culture. Rather, hire a leader who can motivate and inspire others on the importance and strict adherence to safety plans.

Ex-military and paramilitary professionals have an abundance of safety training. In many cases, their equivalency of training far exceeds their civilian counterparts. In addition to their formal safety training, they are bred to lead even the most defiant employee. They function extremely well under pressure. Even the worst in a 9-5 civilian world will not faze these professionals. Consider this talent pool has functioned in the absolute worst conditions, at times in complete sleep deprivation mode, while managing teams and critical incidents that others can only imagine or watch on TV.

Ex-military and paramilitary candidates possess value-added skills. Their ancillary certifications and professional associations can greatly benefit your organization. Many are CPR Instructors, Emergency Medical Technicians, and Paramedics. Providing skills training in basic CPR/First Aid to personnel may make the difference between a survivable and un-survivable worksite injury. Consider these individuals as a tool in your recruitment toolbox for safety manager roles. Along with expanding your talent pool, come interview day, you will surely hear an interesting tale or two on interview day when you ask, “Tell me about your most difficult situation and how you overcame it.” Take it from me, I have some wild tales to tell.