Unapologetically BOLD: I'm not sorry for....
Living through a pandemic with Sara Martin
January 22, 2021
This pandemic has changed the world of work and Sara Martin is not sorry for it. Now don't get us wrong, we are sad for the lives it has taken and the sadness it has brought into the world. But in this session, we are specifically talking about how it has reshaped the need for well being and care from companies. Listen in and let us know what good you have seen from this season?
This pandemic has changed the world of work and Sara Martin is not sorry for it. 

Now don't get us wrong, we are sad for the lives it has taken and the sadness it has brought into the world.

But in this session, we are specifically talking about how it has reshaped the need for well being and care from companies.

Listen in and let us know what good you have seen from this season?

About the guest: 
Sara Martin is the CEO of the Wellness Council of America (WELCOA). This is a non-profit organization that helps shape the landscape of well being for the world of work. In the meantime, Sara is a dog mom, Enneagram 7, and a lover of people and experiences. 

[00:00:02] spk_0: this is This show is brought to

[00:00:05] spk_1: you by Safety FM. Welcome to unapologetically bold. I'm not sorry for If you are a person that is tired of apologizing for being you, you know the human part of you that sometimes feels like it has to be different at home versus work versus play. The human side that just wants to be hot, humble, open and transparent about your wants, desires and uniqueness. If you answered yes, this is for you. Join me, Emily Elrod as I dive into conversations with Amazing Guest. About what? That you're not sorry for and creative and loving ways. Let's get started, Everybody Welcome back. Another unapologetically pulled I'm not sorry for. And I'm so blessed today, toe have my good friend here with me. Sarah, Thanks for joining me.

[00:01:01] spk_0: Thank you for inviting me, Emily.

[00:01:03] spk_1: And I know you from well, koa. But also I know you from just mutual friends to and the amazing group of ladies that we all know. It's just it is such a blessing as I talk about the severe of influence and how much can impact you. So I'm blessed for you to come on and just get to give some of your knowledge because I get I know I know a little bit about you. So I'm excited for the listeners to hear in. So for the people that do not know, you know, um, just describe yourself or just tell a little bit about you here,

[00:01:38] spk_0: and I have to say yes. You've had some really powerhouse women on You're on the show, so thank you for inviting me into that community. I'm excited to be here. So my name is Sara Martin. I am a advocate for humanity at work. I see myself with someone who works for humanity and is trying Thio really let my freak flag fly when it comes to how I do that. And so what I do is lead the Wellness Council of America. I am the CEO of Oneness Council of America. Well, koa and we are a membership based organization that works with thousands and thousands of organizations who are trying to create better experiences that make their employees happier and healthier. So, personally, I am a an extrovert. I'm a seven. If you're in any grand person, I'm an enthusiast. I am a manifesting generator. If you are a body graph person. Andi. I am, ah, lover of all people and food and experiences. And I love having people into my home. So this has been a very difficult time for me. Eso and I have and I'm a dog owner. So I'm a dog mama, and that has to be part of my identity because I'm obsessed. E love it, love it, love it.

[00:03:02] spk_1: And I think that shows just who you are. You're such an awesome person and that your riel and that's what this whole show is about to is about bringing hot people their humble, open and transparent, and about bringing humanity to the forefront. And you're doing such amazing work with Alcoa. And I think that's also to what I love. What? You're not sorry for you and your boldly saying it. And so let's just go ahead and dive into that. What are you not apologizing

[00:03:27] spk_0: for? Yeah, I am the sounds inflammatory, but we'll talk about it more. I am not sorry for the fact that we're living through a pandemic and I have the most extreme reverence for all of the loss of life and livelihood and purpose. and career and health. So that is not at all what I'm saying. I'm I'm very sorry for that. But I'm finding a silver lining here, and it's not about toxic positivity. I legitimately feel like the world's eyes are finally open to something that I've cared about for a long time. I'm not sorry for that either. So

[00:04:03] spk_1: I think it's so powerful to about this is the year and this time is 2020. It's 2020 vision. You know everybody in the beginning of the year. This isn't your provisions like, seriously, I think this year gave us a lot of focus and vision on what we were lacking. And so I love for you to go into that even Mawr on the depth because I know your heart. And some people might be reading this first off and just be like like, uh but I know you. So I'd love for you just to dive, tap it deeper into it on Why

[00:04:39] spk_0: so just very briefly. I grew up being terrified of work because of what it did to my family, wrecked my father. And for those who've heard my story, I was trying to choose a career during a time that I was watching my dad's entire life and career unravel because of a toxic work environment. So because of that scapegoating, manipulative cultures, an awful environment where he was unable to live and work within his purpose, it really spiraled into his addiction. And he was had a cocaine habit that led to ultimately him losing his freedom and his job and his family. And that was when someone, you know, people. I was an independently wealthy and you had to work. So I was like, Oh, my gosh, I'm terrified of what work does to people. I thought that was the option. And so, knowing that I had to get a job and figure something out, I decided to study the psychology of work and do graduate research on cultures that impacted alcohol, tobacco and other drug use and and try toe be a part of making work better for people. And so that's that was my entree into employee wellness. So but unfortunately for the last, you know, 10 years that I've been in this space 10 plus, I guess now and you can consider the graduate work, you know, my experience of the wellness space is not has not been necessarily very pro human. I didn't realize until I got here the things that we have cared about, where you know, health care, dollars savings and and the programmatic approaches. And I got 23 years into my career managing a wellness program for a large health plan down in Tennessee not too far from here. And I had to ask myself, The question is the work that I'm doing, going to solve the problem, that I got into this to solve the biometric screenings and health risk assessments on the walking challenges and the gift cards and incentives and the setting standards for people and asking them to rise to those standards. And of course, that would never have helped my dad. He was broken. He was purposeless, and he worked for a place that made everyone miserable. So it was clearly something that was built into the work environment. And so I back 56 years ago started asking people to dream bigger about this stuff. But now we don't have we don't have even if we could, I mean, I guess I guess we do have the option try to go back to before March and and pick up where we left off, but I would strongly encourage is not, too. We can't go back and pretend like this year didn't happen. And so what we're learning is the animal Selves that we, I mean humans or animals. And there's a lot we have to do to keep them well, it's a fragile thing that we have to hold really like lightly. And so that has to be thought about in ways we never thought about before. Also, engagement the employees who are coming back to a work environment, you know, physically coming back to work, environment that took care of them are gonna be very different employees than those who felt like they weren't taken care of. That that the same expectations applied that applied. When the world is very different before March and we have a brain you value proposition for our space because I don't imagine that there's gonna be a time and then your future where an employee is not going to show up for a job interview and asked the employer what did you do? How did you treat employees through the pandemic it's the new question I think everyone should ask, So

[00:08:10] spk_1: that's so powerful and so true. Thio There's irony of this is that some people that I know had left a job because of the pandemic went to another job, and I gave the advice that, Hey, you're not hurting for money. So just wait. They didn't and guess what? They're feeling the ramifications of it wanting another job because they have to work all these hours. They're feeling undervalue, underpaid and all these other things. But the thing is, is I love that you call it the animal side of it. Because what I always give the always say is you wouldn't throw a fish and dirty water and expect it to thrive, right? We throw people in dirty environments and say soil be good And guess what? If something goes wrong, it's It's the fishes fault. It's your fault and how much power this time has happened because a lot of those companies are feeling the hurt. They're feeling the turnover there, feeling that the financial thing that they really focused on, they put their profits first and not their people. And now they're saying their profits ache So for people that are listening to this, and especially because we both come from that wellness space. Um, what would you advise people going forward, or what invitation would you give to them on continuing to think bigger instead of that I've cows is the problem Poke method like you're doing no different than the cows like we're sending them through. And then we're gonna say if they're too heavy or too light and then we're gonna say, Hey, you're good. See you next year. So how can we be different? Because we can

[00:10:00] spk_0: Absolutely. And I have to say that because we can. I wanna make sure that that people don't lose that because it's what I'm seeing that's missing here. And I've been people have heard me speak lately, going like, Oh my gosh, there she goes again is the agency is what's missing, You know, the agency toe act. We know more now about the wrong ways of doing this because we've seen the organizations that have gotten it really wrong in a really public way. But do we now have the agency to take that and make us wise to make a better choice and we have to because to your question, what's at stake. And I advise, you know, two things. One, you know, think about my metric for choosing is would this help my dad? And that's my little built in measure another. If you don't have a story like that, that's personal. Another metric could be what I feel proud to tell. A perspective employees, how we navigated this Would I be proud? And I think if the answer is no, take the have the agency Thio doom or do better do differently. The other thing that I think we forget about is when we're asking employees to adhere to a wellness standard. You know, high fiber, low fat diets. 10, 8 hours of sleep, you know, 10,000 steps a day. All of those things. Biometric values and targets Wait and be my targets when we're asking them to do that, if you can. If you're in a spot in your life where you can care about that, where that excites you, where you're trying to figure out what has more nutrients, asparagus or broccoli so that you can work more of that one in your diet you are at like the Maslow higher. He needs self actualization. That means nothing else is wrong with you, right? That means that you don't hate your boss. You don't hate your job. You're not caring for an agent Aging parent. You're not caring for kids with special needs. You're not struggling financially. You're not having marital problems. You're not concerned about your health and safety in the public space or in your job or a mask mandate that your employer still hasn't taken the agency to mandate, which I still know. These employers that exist in my state of Nebraska, they exist. So, you know, if you're caring about any of those things, if someone comes up to you and asks you to do one more thing, you're gonna wanna punch him in the face. So think about what you're asking employees to do in terms of hierarchy of needs. And remember that just like that bottom level of, like, shelter and survival think about that is that could be your wellness strategy or your employee engagement strategy or your employees experience. Strategy for 2021 is just fixing the and removing the barriers that are keeping people from being able to thrive in there lives in general Before you add things on top, that's what we're trying to educate. Our members will koa on on how to do,

[00:13:02] spk_1: and that's so powerful to because that's there's two fold of that. You know what I do? And my listeners do its work wise and always say knowledge is useless because you get it and you do nothing with it. Knowledge and action is called wisdom. And that's the thing is that agency is to do something with it. We have enough thought leaders that air talking. Let's actually do something with it. We need those action leaders with in the power. When you understand that this stress impacts your health mawr, then sleep food, mood and movement like that. It's like it's hard to say and coming from, and you and you probably feel this too. And any of the wellness people. It's like the first thing employers air like Well, are you gonna have US wellness challenges? Are you gonna are you gonna do biometrics and we don't do biometrics? Are y'all? Um but the thing is, is what I always tell is my story, and that whenever I was pregnant, I was eating writing. I was exercising, but I about died. And the reason I about died was because of stress and a shame that I was going through because I was a single mom and I was living through that time. Do you know how many people right now are doing that like the power of it? And if you look at the research on top of it, about how much stress impacts your body mawr and it doesn't allow you to actually even digest the things that you want or it jacks you up to put it right playing simple and employers have the ability, there's the study that came out, or I think I can't remember who it was. And maybe in Gallup that said that your employer has more impact on your health than your primary care

[00:14:46] spk_0: doctor. Yeah, absolutely. 19,000 hours of our lives that we spend at work for North Americans. Europeans 80,000. So if you ever thought about being expat, you can add that to your prose list. But yeah, I mean, we spend more time at work than doing any other thing. So of course it's It's the perfect place to address wellness in that regard, but it's also the place that we have most to lose. Mhm.

[00:15:10] spk_1: And so here's a question, too, because I'm hearing some employers still talk about how it's not their responsibility. What would you tell them? Especially since the fact that we're living through this pandemic that it iss sure,

[00:15:27] spk_0: I mean, Number one is the burnout piece. You know, if we don't, if you really can't move their hearts and minds that it's just the right thing to do, Fine. If you want to get the CFO to sit up straight and write a check here, here's a few ideas. One. So 47% According to There's a Global Study by Qualtrics, 47% of employees have reported that they have been pretty much in a constant state of burnout since the pandemic started. Out of those folks, 49% of them say that their employer has done anything about it and what that looks like when your employees are showing up, burnt out when half of your employees they're showing up, burned out and you're not doing anything about it is anywhere from 20 to 30% of them are doing one orm or of these things they're showing up without the ability to jump, start, start their day. They don't they They're showing up there having a hard time getting out of bed and and being productive. They're snapping at their coworkers, customers, clients. They are, um, they're having their sleepy and low energy on the job. They're unable to think clearly. So if

[00:16:36] spk_1: you want to

[00:16:36] spk_0: remain competitive this year next year, what have you even in the short term, you have to address that issue. You have half of your employees who are coming in every day who don't have the basic resilience to function. So that seems like an employer issue to me. The second pizzas There will be a time again when we can choose your point about your friend, or we really can choose and a stronger economy who we work for. And this is, you know, for generations ago was the generation that lived through the Great Depression and World War Two, and they saw every single system around them crumble and have to be rebuilt in a different way, and it changed our values, and that really strong, innovative generation banded together had the civic engagement and the agency to write a different future for themselves. And that's going to happen again. Millennials are gonna be that generation that do that again because we're the ones who are making up the majority of the work force right now. And we already wanted a better workplace. And now we had a taste of what it could look like to have more flexible hours to have more considerations for our health and well being. And also we've seen organizations who have taken that had the agency to make great decisions to protect their employees, health and safety. And if we are not a part of one of these organizations and we have a choice, we're going to work somewhere else. So

[00:18:03] spk_1: unless you

[00:18:03] spk_0: want an entire organization of employees who don't have a choice, they have to work for you because they don't have another option, because they, for whatever reason, I think we have toe. We have to address that. That, to me, is the market demand that is, the talent pool is going to make that CFO write a check

[00:18:20] spk_1: that's so powerful because the thing the two things that you really talked about is I know that stress shuts off the learning centers of the brain that kills the words that everybody talks about. Innovation, collaboration, engagement. You always hear those. Your if you're not addressing that stress, if you're not turning that stress into a strategy like you literally are, Like you said, you're having people that are there because they have to be there, maybe for your benefits. Or it might be because that's where they think they need to stay. And that's nothing wrong. I don't want to say that these people bad, and I know that you you aren't either. But if you want to tap into that different potential and here's the cool thing, though, those people actually have, like I always say, be the genius with 10,000 geniuses. They've been doing these jobs forever, but you've turned them into robots so they don't want to use that energy to think they don't want to use that energy to do anything out there doing their job. They're getting their paycheck. They're going home,

[00:19:23] spk_0: right, right. And if you asked anyone leader of any organization, do you want innovative, thriving, flourishing employees to keep your competitive in the marketplace. They're going to say yes, of course. But then are they Are they taking the steps? They need to ensure that that's what they have And that's the massive gap.

[00:19:41] spk_1: Oh, that's so true. And that's so powerful. And again, that's the reason why I am with you. I am so with you that I'm not sorry that we're living through a pandemic because it brings humanity so life. It brings the power of not only safety but wellness is breaking down silos, and it's making people care who humans are at home, work and play, because now it is truly brought all together. It is truly integrated, which makes my heart happy. So for any advice that you hear that you could give to people that are apologizing for this, then keep saying like I'm

[00:20:26] spk_0: sorry, but I don't

[00:20:27] spk_1: want anybody to know, especially my employer. Like, what would you say to them?

[00:20:32] spk_0: Oh, well, in the general sense, apologizing for anything. One of the things that I have written in my one of my journals that I review when I'm having my morning meditation ritual is is lean into. And don't be afraid of your quirky traits because it is what's beautiful about the world. What's powerful about the world is the diversity of perspective. And so, if you're denying the world your unique quirky whatever opinion that you have, you are not contributing to the world song in the way that it and it will be. It will go missing in some small way. And it meant And so you are designed to be here Whatever you believe about the world. You You were here for this moment and you your experience has got you here and listening to that little voice inside of you that's like, oof! I don't feel right about this or roof. I feel very right about this. It is almost your compulsion is a human to show up with that and contribute it. So that's one of the things that I really, um, it's not easy for me always to remember, because it sounds like a more confident than I am. I have tow recite it like a mantra, but that is one of the best advice I give to myself. You know, if someone is in a position to as a leader, even a decision influencer in their workplace. The specific advice, you know, is kind of What I already shared is if you're feeling those seeds of change and it's exciting you and you're feeling like actually I like, I like what's happening in our organization because of this pandemic. Here's the five things I like, then asks, um, really curious questions of your leaders, you know? Wouldn't it be cool if we blank in the future? You know, what would it look like to reshape this? You know, start ride the wave of the change and start putting some scaffolding around it and build it in.

[00:22:36] spk_1: Uh, wouldn't it be cool if is probably one of my favorite prompts to Dio? Because it turns you back into a child and that child like imagination without boxing yourself in and just open thinking to see what could come. It's so powerful. And I think that again is needed now more than ever, and that also with action because And you know this to like, you're going to face adversity even in this change, even though with all the moment, um, that's coming with it, you're still gonna have these hard stops and it may Nothing comes in instantaneously. Even with this pandemic, a lot of these things have not. It probably was, if it is instantaneous. My guess is that you already had a culture, that you could make those quick decisions that humans were already put in a priority position. But if not, just know this could take 234 even five years. But it is worth it if it affects the next generation. In my opinion,

[00:23:40] spk_0: yeah, absolutely. I could not agree more. Emily and I think that, you know, going forward, we can't to your point exactly be afraid to be wrong. I think we just need to move forward the most powerful, strong, inspirational leaders that I've watched and organizations through this have been wrong multiple times or been honest about not knowing what to do. Mhm. And then asking for help trying things, monitoring things in adjusting. And I think we have to be comfortable with some of that. I think that, um, Dr David Batman on the I love his name. Yes, Batman. He was on the Virgin Pulse. Who's wonderful Coast premier providers. And obviously no virgin pulse is, um he's on their advisory panel. He's, uh, anyway, he said last week on an event that we had, you know, in terms of what we need next. When and I think people thought he was going to be very clinical. In his answer, he just said, We need a raft of empathetic leaders.

[00:24:45] spk_1: Yeah, it's like, Yep, that's the new

[00:24:50] spk_0: power. It's not how smart and right we could be anymore.

[00:24:58] spk_1: That's so everybody. It's taken down that pride and setting it aside and doing it with humanity in mind. So thank you so much for this amazing conversation. I'm so blessed from it. And so, for the listeners that are hearing you talk, how can they find you or learn more about, Well, co er or just What are you all doing?

[00:25:20] spk_0: Yeah, thanks for asking. So they can always email me at S. Martin. So S M A r t I n at well, koa w e L C O a dot or GTA confined me on LinkedIn, Sara Martin. And then, if you ever want to see what's going on at Alcoa, go too well, co dot org's click on the events drop down and you could see what's fresh and new and happening. Um, and and please, we have so much that's free to the public cause we're nonprofit. So come join the community.

[00:25:46] spk_1: Love it. Thank you so much. And y'all definitely go check out. Well, co uh, I know I have a lot of people in the safety space. I am ready for wellness and safety to come together and be best friends and quit following. So the people there hearing this specifically for your own safety or leadership or development, Let's go over to it. So thank you all for listening in. And I hope you have an amazing in Blessed day. Thank you so much for tuning in to this episode of unapologetically Bold. I'm not sorry for this to shoot anyway, please, like and subscribe and share with your friends as we continue the message of being unapologetically bowled by being hot. Humans who are humble, open and transparent. See you next time