The world is very different today than it was 10 years ago.
Take it a step further, since 2000, 52% of fortune 500 companies have either declared bankruptcy, been acquired, or cease to exist altogether. In 2005, only birds tweeted, hitching a ride with a stranger was illegal, and the Kodak moment was a polaroid you framed and hung on your wall.
Today, 500 million tweets are sent daily, dads send their daughters to college in an Uber, and you hold the photo album of every person you’ve ever known in your pocket.
The companies that have been on the losing side of this digital transformation have not failed because of an inability to innovate, or to invest in new technologies—they have failed because they underestimated the degree of change happening right under their feet. Kodak invented the digital camera, invested in that technology, and even recognized that photos would be shared online. Where they fell short, was grasping that digital photography WAS the new business, not just a way of expanding the image printing business.
The consumer products industry has certainly seen a steady stream of disruption over the past two decades, in large part creating the Natural Products Industry. The upswell in consumers gravitating toward products that are better for them, their environment, and their community has delivered a recalculation of the impact our businesses have on a broader ecosystem of stakeholders.
What we’re witnessing with the growing prevalence of conscious consuming and healthy living, is leading to a shift in the role that work plays in our overall well being. The modern workforce is radically different than it was just a couple of decades ago, and while some of that is due to evolving technologies and products, a visible transformation in values has taken center stage. With that, what it takes to attract, keep, and support talent has fundamentally transformed with many businesses vying to be the solution.
Great resource to dive into the above graph and supporting context is Josh Bersin: LinkedIn
There is no work-life balance, there’s just life.
The reality is, digital disruption has cut both ways—although it’s made our teams more efficient, it’s created a workday that never ends. Two challenging implications arise:
1) For a generation of people that have selected jobs only tolerable because they end at 5 pm, competing in today’s ultra competitive landscape will be an uphill battle regardless the tools used to make it more endurable.
2) Even for your most dedicated teams, if your organization operates as a daily obstacle in the basic wellbeing of the people that work for you – recruiting, performance, and retention will increasingly be a challenge.
The remedy is not necessarily fewer hours but having the tools to feel and perform your best to get the most out of them.
A robust wellness program is not the solution, it can be, one of the solutions.
The good news is that there’s a whole generation overwhelmingly demonstrating a willingness to work smarter and harder, fueled by a desire to make an impact. This wave has one clearly differentiating quality: we want to buy from, invest in, and work for businesses we believe in. This is not coincidental to what we’ve seen from consumer behavior transforming the food industry, it is the continuation of it.
Let’s face it—with entrepreneurship, remote-working, and side-hustles forcing us to reimagine the role that work plays in our lives, professional mobility appears to be an acceptable and even advantageous strategy for professional progression. Employers are tasked with doing more than projecting a uniquely attractive employee experience—they must continue to deliver that promise if they want to retain the talent that buys in.
Now, more than ever, the authenticity of a brand goes deeper than sustainable packaging shipped with a clever marketing message. Companies like SPINS and Glassdoor are lifting the proverbial veils for us to see into the organizations that produce the products and services we choose to engage with.
Surprisingly, even brands that seem to be ‘socially progressive’ have been slow to meaningfully respond to this opportunity within the walls of their own organizations. We’ve gotten particularly good at innovating every step of the supply chain to meet new consumer expectations, yet have arguably neglected the most important part: the people responsible for producing these products and services.
What we can do about it today.
We’re decades in to understanding the influence of fitness and mental wellbeing on cognitive and professional performance, yet most companies still define health screenings as a wellness program. We’ve come a long way in elevating the conversation, but we must recognize where improvements can be made in order to capture the opportunity in front of us.
As the leaders of our companies, we need to ask ourselves some simple questions. For one, given what we know about health and performance, are we making it more or less challenging for our teams to meet the expectations of our customers?
The truth is, complimentary massages at work won’t transform an uninspired team into a successful one. But providing tools that make maintaining your health while working hard, can make teams of capable people perform better and more consistently over time.
You can be an obstacle or a platform for your people to be their best.
At hiitide, our team of exercise physiologists, nutritionists, PhDs, and engineers echo these changing times with a bias for impact. We don’t design spas, we partner with ambitious teams to craft conditions for supported and engaged employees in order to create valuable loyalty inspiring experiences for customers. You’re welcome to learn more here.
Over the next few months, I’ll be sharing a series of tactical strategies to help you perform your best as a leader. We’ll use fitness as a catalyst to achieve and inspire, better.
Your wellness wingman,
About the Author: Evan leverages a decade of nutrition and exercise physiology research and coaching to make optimizing fitness more accessible for high-intensity work environments. With published work in American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, author of “Fitness that Fits”, and contributing author to collegiate textbooks like “Food for an Aging Population”, Evan’s background has created a diverse formula of science-based methods with a bias for practical application.