Choose: Employee Engagement, Burnout Prevention, Or Corporate Wellness?

Wouldn’t All Three Be Better?

During dinner last night my daughter and father were talking about someone who divorced a few months after they wed. A comment was made about a Kardashian and once the comment was made my dad thought everything my daughter said was about the Kardashians but she was still talking about her friend’s experience. It wasn’t until the conversation became very specific, delving into how the location of the wedding can affect divorce laws, that they discovered they were having two different conversations about two completely different couples.

Fortunately, it was just an interesting conversation and no major decisions were being made from the conversation. Unfortunately, this sort of miscommunication happens all the time when a lot more is at stake.

We see the world from our own perspective and most people stop there. When we see people observing a situation from inside their box and we have a different box we recognize that they are missing important information they would benefit from knowing. We can overcome the limitations of our box or expand our box and become more effective.

We have the capacity to ask ourselves different questions and see situations from multiple perspectives. We can use the same strategy to recognize when we don’t know the answer to the question and may want to bring in an expert whose perspective will be helpful.

Last week I observed hospital system leaders attempting to address the physician burnout crisis and all their solutions came from the business perspective, which is not where the full solution will be found. You can see what they should consider in the article I wrote.

Traditional employee engagement programs ignore research that shows that an employee’s core self-evaluations account for between 27 – 40% of engagement because they don’t know how to improve the employee’s core self-evaluations. They’ve attempted to throw compliments at them but basic psychology reveals that approach won’t work when the employee has low core self-evaluations. In other words, it won’t work with employees who need it the most.

I found it so fascinating to see employer’s and employee engagement consultants ignoring the most important factor in employee engagement that I switched the subject of my dissertation so I could justify the time to explore it further. After I submitted my dissertation, I turned it into my 5th book, Empowered Employees become Engaged Employees.

Corporate Wellness Programs are another area where I see leaders either not knowing what they don’t know or ignoring areas they don’t know how to improve, even though they are critical to health promotion and primary prevention of illnesses and disease. The amount of stress an individual is experiencing has direct impact on their decisions about pro-health behaviors and on the bio-chemistry in their bodies but most wellness programs just encourage employees to do pro-health behaviors they would do naturally if they weren’t stressed.

In the arena of employee engagement and burnout the results of adverse situations can be traumatic. Because of that and, I’m sure, the negative impact of low employee engagement on the bottom line, many employers are actively seeking employment engagement/burnout prevention solutions. I’m happy to help them achieve the best possible results for their organization.

In the arena of corporate wellness, apathy seems to be settling in. It is as if employers believe they’re already doing all they can to improve employee health when the truth is they’re missing a lot of low-hanging fruit.

The good news is that the same solution that improves engagement and reduces burnout also improves employee wellness. For example, this study shows that stress can make the body respond to a healthy diet as if it was an unhealthy one. If you’d like to know what your organization could accomplish with empowered, engaged employees who are less stressed, contact Dr. Joy today (Click on eMail link or my Website link below).


Jeanine Joy, Ph.D.
Jeanine Joy, Ph.D.
WORLD CHANGER, International Speaker, and Trainer – Dr. Joy stepped up to do everything she could to help humanity thrive more after she discovered that she could help to improve societal problems by empowering people to manage their mindset, develop psychological flexibility, and use their innate emotional guidance. She began studying the genesis of human thriving in 1995 and as her knowledge grew she became a thought leader and educator. The evidence-based techniques she teaches and writes about create improvements in physical, mental, emotional, and behavioral health. Her approach has a direct, positive effect on crime, violence, relationships, racism, educational outcomes, suicide prevention, employee engagement, happiness, career success, and more. She focuses on solutions that are both affordable and scalable because she wants to help everyone have a greater opportunity to achieve their dreams and goals. As the owner of Happiness 1st Institute, a Thrive More Now Company, Jeanine speaks internationally and provides training to organizations through her empowering, practical, and usable techniques that target the root causes of human thriving. She is recognized as a bridge builder who creates bridges by translating jargon-laden research into usable information with practical examples that help individuals fulfill more of their potential.

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  1. I was attracted to the title of your article because I wondered, if I had to choose – well – which would I choose? I would want them all and envision working on them one at a time. In your consulting practice, you give guidance and direction but it’s up to the organization to put into practice your recommended solutions. Would you have them work on all three simultaneously? Or one at a time? I think of this like going to a marriage counselor, getting the tools to use, being instructed on how to use them, then ditch them on the way out the door. Back to the same practices that were broken to begin with. Organizations that really want to fix what’s broken will follow your recommendations.

    • Hi Jane,
      Thank you for commenting. When employee engagement, burnout prevention and recovery and corporate wellness are approached at the root cause no choice is necessary because the root cause is the same.
      27 – 40% of engagement/burnout stems from unmanaged stress.
      65-99% of illness and disease begin with unmanaged stress.

      Teaching how to approach potential stressors in a way that minimizes the hit from stress and pro-active coping skills and an understanding of the newly defined evidence-based purpose and use of emotions reduces stress and increases the ability to pro-actively address stress which increases engagement, reduces burnout and improves wellness, including pro-health behaviors.

      The potential to leave the tools at the door is the reason the training I provide takes time but once trained they use the tools and continue using them because their life is better because of them. Once they experience a workshop where they actually use the tools and see how powerful they are and how much better they can feel without too much effort (and no pain) they are eager to continue applying the tools. The training moves them from an intellectual understanding (where they’ll nod their head and say things like, “that makes sense”) to a visceral understanding where they can feel the release of stress and tension and know it is working and helpful.

      Because I deliberately designed the workshop to work with large groups it remains cost effective.

      The bottom line is that an employer can have it all. That’s the beauty of finding the root cause and working from there. It took me six years of primary research to identify the root cause and another decade to test the theory before the program was ready to offer six years ago.

  2. Great and excellent points.

    Twenty five years ago I learned the consequences of vague language. The vague language was in a contract that made the scope of services vague as well. The result? We provided 1 million dollars more services than what was originally agreed upon.

    Vague language makes it hard to solve the problems in a business or even in a society because the words mean different things to different people. Even common words like “strategy”, “analysis”, and “plan” mean different things. In policies and now Canadian laws we have “Islamophobia”, “gender identity” and “gender expression” which can mean pretty much anything.

    Vague language opens the door to miscommunication, division, and abuse of laws, policies, and procedures. Worst, using vague language doesn’t solve the problem that is attempting to be solve. It just creates more problems, distracting us with the game whack-a-mole.

    • Chris,
      Thank you for commenting. I enjoyed your comments about vague language. Do you think it would be fair to say that labels are vague language? I think labels always obscure details while allowing for categorizing into categories that are interpreted differently by different people.

      Ouch re: the extra 1 million in services. There is a great lesson there.

      All the best,

    • Yes. I feel labels are vague language. I see “Hitler” used quite a bit; so much that it is a label. And yes, my 1 mill experience has taught me a lot about scoping, articulation, and using straightforward “action” words. aka “let’s strategize” to “let’s plan” or “let’s number crunch”.

    • Interesting Hitler analogy, Chris. I can see where if one wants people to follow them they can use vague language and labels so that the people they want to attract can interpret the words in a way that they find resonance with which would increase loyalty because there is a perception that their values are aligned even when they aren’t.

      Thank you for spurring my mind to new insight. :o)