Show Notes: Episode 157 – Innovative Benefit Offerings
December 5, 2022
Show Notes: Episode 158 – Collaboration in the Workplace
December 19, 2022

Click here for this episode’s show notes.

This transcript was created using an automated transcription service and may contain errors.

Paul 00:02
Prior to the pandemic, as leaders, we didn’t really think about, talk about, and embrace emotional well being and mental health as a business imperative.

Bill 00:12
What people are surprised to hear is that one in four Americans suffer from a chronic digestive issue.

Susan 00:18
Welcome to The JoyPowered® Workspace Podcast, where we help HR and business leaders embrace joy in the workplace. I’m Susan White, owner of Susan Tinder White Consulting, an HR consulting practice. Joining me is my dear friend and co-host JoDee Curtis, owner of Purple Ink and Powered by Purple Ink, a professional network I’m part of.

Susan 00:39
Today’s topic is innovative benefit offerings. We haven’t had an episode on employee benefits, JoDee, since Paul Ashley of NFP joined us back in 2019 to discuss benefit trends. We thought it would be good to touch base with Paul, now that we’re three years later, to get an update on what he’s seeing in the benefit marketplace. And then we’re going to talk to Bill Snyder, the CEO of one of the companies offering what I think is a much needed and very innovative benefit. Many of our listeners are business leaders and HR professionals who, like us, want to keep abreast of new happenings in this front. If there are benefits available that may differentiate us as an employer, that just might enable us to attract the talent that we need, so I want to know about it.

JoDee 01:27
Yes, me too.

Susan 01:29
So let’s talk to Paul first. Paul is Vice President and Consultant at NFP, formerly known as FirstPerson. He holds his CEBS – that’s a Certified Employee Benefit Specialist – designation, and he’s also an adjunct professor in Butler University’s Lacy College of Business, where he teaches an employee benefits and total rewards class to students in the Davey School of Risk Management. Paul, thank you so much for coming back to The JoyPowered® Workspace Podcast.

Paul 01:57
Honored to be with you again.

Susan 01:59
Since we were with you last on The JoyPowered® Workspace, back in 2019, what changes have you seen in how business leaders and HR professionals are viewing benefits that they’re offering employees?

Paul 02:11
Oh, 2019… Nothing’s happened since then, my friend. Very calm, peaceful. Oh, yeah. Nothing… nothing in terms of virology has happened. There’s been no political discord, nothing. No.

Susan 02:25

Paul 02:26
For me, the biggest one as it relates to kind of what the pandemic triggered… really, I guess, two big ones, and then there’s some other ones that I think are happening now. One is that prior to the pandemic, back in ’19, as leaders, we didn’t really think about, talk about, and embrace emotional well being and mental health as a business imperative. Now, there were pockets where that was untrue. Certainly some leaders were… were out front. But I think now if you were to poll the same people we would have polled in ’19 versus now in late ’22, people are talking about it, they’re wrestling with it, they’re doing things that they’ve never done before or would have considered, and that… the pandemic has been awful, and that is… that is a very important sea change that I will take as a silver lining. And so employers are investing in employee assistance programs that are very robust, not just the free ones that come with their life insurance, right? They are bringing clinicians on site and mental health clinicians on site. They’re upgrading benefits and access to benefits in ways that support emotional well being and mental health than they never would have done in ’19. And thank God we are, because it’s been long overdue.

Susan 03:37

Paul 03:38
The second one I see is – we were forced to embrace this in the height of the pandemic when the healthcare system was essentially shuttered for anything but emergency or pandemic care – and that is using virtual and telehealth as a way to access acute care, some specialist care follow up, and also bridging the urban rural divide that we have historically seen in access to care, particularly mental health professionals, but really all… all clinicians. Often it would be that if you lived in a metro area, you would have plenty of clinicians to choose from, particularly in mental health – psychiatrists, psychologists, licensed mental health counselors – if you lived in a rural area, good luck. Well, now with virtual and telehealth, most of those talk therapies and sessions can be done in the same way we’re recording this podcast, and so let’s bridge that divide using telehealth.

JoDee 04:31
Yeah, that makes sense. I love the telehealth… I mean, even just sometimes if I just need a quick question or something that I don’t really need to be in the office for, it is just so much easier, so much more convenient, so much time savings, and I feel like I get the same answers.

Paul 04:55
Yeah, you do. And honestly, pre-pandemic, that technology was there and you had access to it. You know? It was being wildly underutilized. The big thing that changed was is the providers. It wasn’t the specialty telehealth like LiveHealth Online or Teladoc, which are actual companies. What was that… what really shifted in 2020 is then the end user providers that you had a direct office relationship with, they then pivoted to allow telehealth, and now they – most of them – have kept it as a choice. You can either come in office or… and/or we can do telehealth. Now certain things, obviously, you physically have to be present. But follow up care and ongoing care can just be done virtually, which is way more efficient for both the practice and the end user patient, which… listen, efficiency is a good thing in the healthcare system, it drives out waste.

JoDee 05:44
Exactly. Well, and Paul, what are some of the more creative or innovative employee benefit offerings you’re hearing about or working with?

Paul 05:55
I’ll list three. I’ll list them all and then we can go back through them. The first one, which makes me sound really smart when I say it – and you ladies know I’m not smart, it’s all… it’s all duct tape and baling wire.

JoDee 06:07
Don’t burst our bubble on that, we think you’re very smart.

Paul 06:11
Well, you’re easy to fool. So the first one is called pharmacogenomics. Pharmacogenomics. I’m gonna come back to that. Next one is this idea of gut health and gut science, and there’s a particular partner we’ve used – NFP nationally – called Vivante Health. And then the last one is a broad category called family support benefits. Let me start with pharmacogenomics. So what is pharmacogenomics? Now, as you know, I’m not a PharmD. I’m also not a scientist. But essentially, in layman’s terms, what it is, is it… it’s using simple genetic testing, like cheek swab, for certain therapeutic classes of pharmaceuticals, primarily in the area of mental… mental health – so, like, depression, anxiety meds, ADHD medications – and then also in pain management medications. Those were kind of the two most… those aren’t the only categories, but they’re the categories where we see the most success in this. And what it’s doing is it’s using this cheek swab to then run a pharmacogenomics test to then tell the prescriber and the care team, here is the green, yellow, red within these therapeutic classes – let’s take pain management as an example – that because of this person’s genetic makeup and biology, they’re going to respond great, okay, or terribly to these medications. So really helpful in pain… pain management. But if you think about it, if you’ve ever had a personal experience or have a loved one, a lot of times with depression or anxiety medications, it’s sort of, you know, try, doesn’t work, try another, try, doesn’t work, try another. And it can take weeks, maybe months to see if it actually works, and then you have to start over. With pharmacogenomics, it gives the prescriber a head start of what to avoid and what to focus on. And so those tests are fairly inexpensive. We see a lot of employers starting to pay for those, because it shortcuts and brings people to a better clinical outcome at a quicker pace. And that’s, again, more efficient. So that’s pharmacogenomics.

Susan 08:14
I’m not going to ask you to spell it, Paul. Don’t even bother.

Paul 08:18
You know, P-H-A-R… M….

Susan 08:22
Eh, close enough. Close enough.

Paul 08:27
Yeah, so it’s a… it’s a pretty cool field, it’s definitely a googlable term, if you can phonetically spell it, it’ll open up a bunch of research for folks, and it’s pretty cool to see. A lot of times it’s being offered by self-funded… self-funded health plans through their pharmacy benefit manager, right? The PBM does this because it’s part of them trying to help people get the right drugs at the right time at the right price that are effective and efficient. So we see it there. The other one is gut science, right? So this idea that your… the biome that’s in… living inside our stomachs and our intestines, which sounds gross, but it’s kind of a big organism. It’s almost like its own organ. And there’s been a lot of research connecting gut health with overall physical health, but gut health specifically with brain health. Right? There’s sort of a, as I understand it, and again, not a clinician, there’s sort of this vagus nerve that exists that connect the two and it’s all… I think researchers are still trying to figure out all that there is to unlock there. But if we can help… help people have healthier guts, and I don’t mean just be thin. That’s not what I’m saying. Yeah, yeah, that might be a byproduct, but…

Susan 09:35
Darn it.

Paul 09:36
Yeah. Which, yeah, like, let’s take that, right? But if… if what’s happening with their, you know, probiotics and what’s happening inside the gut that is healthy, it helps with the immune system and brain health and other disease states. Well, some of this can be tested, and then they can be given different clinical supports that improve that state of gut health and help to avoid conditions and help to improve mental health. And it’s like, well, this is, like, this feels space age, but it’s what’s now emerging. And so there’s a… there’s a company out there called Vivante Health that NFP has partnered with at the national level, and we actually – this is very interesting. We just went through some of our data analytics, so our larger self-funded customers, they’ve got their data in Springbuk, so we were able to go through, de-identified, and look at all of our self-funded customers, and see what is the opportunity, potentially, in this gut health space specifically for Vivante Health. So in 2023, we’re actually going to go deeper into that data, bring it forward to our clients, and talk to them about, hey, this might sound crazy, but do you want to explore this? Do you philosophically believe in this? Here’s the science – obviously, I won’t be talking, we’ll actually bring a clinician in that knows what the heck they’re talking about. And do you want to start to do some pilot programs or invest in this as a way to improve the well being of your population? And we’ll see what happens. Could be interesting.

Susan 10:57
That is terrific. We’re gonna have Bill Snyder, the CEO of Vivante, on this episode, as well. So that’ll be fun.

Paul 11:02
Well, if I said anything that’s different than what Bill said, cancel what I said. He probably knows what he’s talking about.

Susan 11:10
You got it. And then the third one?

Paul 11:12
The third one is family support benefits. So I think historically, where people focus on this is employers helping their employees who are experiencing infertility with fertility, and that is still a big deal. And why is it a big deal? Well, generally speaking, female workers are waiting later in life to get married and/or get pregnant. And as we wait later in life, we tend to have more infertility issues than if we did it prior, right? It’s just kind of human biology. So that demand has increased, but at the same time, we’re seeing people want to grow their families in new ways. We’re seeing adoption, we’re seeing fostering, we’re seeing surrogacy, you know, as we now have equality in marriage, you’re seeing a male employee have a husband and they want to grow their family. Well, how can they do that? They’re going to maybe pursue adoption or surrogacy. We also see people that have nothing to do with growing families, but keeping their families healthy. How do we do caregiver support, either for children or adults that they’re caring for? How do we help families deal with end of life needs? Right? So this kind of family support services or benefits is this large umbrella that you can go in any direction you want, but at the core of it is how do we take care of the employee and however they define and see family, and how do we keep that either growing or be as healthy and productive as possible, because we know if things are right at home, it’s easier for them to be right at work. If things are not right at home, it makes it very difficult to be productive at work. Right? And it clearly goes back to mental health that we talked about at the beginning, as well. And so I think that we are seeing huge emergence of all these different family health benefits. So – right? – you probably know it as a consumer. There’s now for employers. There is a company called Kindbody, they do this family growth benefit where it could be fertility treatments, surrogacy, adoption support, doesn’t matter how you want to grow their family, they don’t ask too many questions other than how can we help. And these are things that employers are sponsoring to help their employees improve their benefits.

JoDee 13:13
Yeah, I like it. I just had lunch with the COO of one of our clients yesterday who has 85-year-old parents and her dad is very ill. But she said, if something were to happen to my mom, I would just quit my job like that. There wasn’t another option for her. I mean, she didn’t view it as having another option for her. And I just thought, wow.

Susan 13:46
We’ve got to think about the whole family as part of our benefit offering, or we’re not gonna be able to retain talent. I think you’re exactly right.

Paul 13:53
Think about… I hate to take you back, but go back to March of 2020 and think about all of your peers, colleagues, friends, neighbors, and think about the metadata that came from no more… in no other time in US history have more women left the workplace than left in 2020.

JoDee 14:14

Paul 14:15
Right? So it’s not so… you know that happened in an acute situation, it then makes it a pretty easy leap to think about what your… your… your client said about what she would choose to do sort of automatically, because we saw it happen in a macro sense. And I think… let me unpack that just from my personal perspective. I know that when I’m part of a volunteer organization, team at work, you know, whatever it is, when it’s egalitarian and there are both men and women in leadership, the performance of that team is always going to be higher when women and men are both involved, because we have different life experiences, different viewpoints. Well, if women have left the workplace in droves in 2020, which they did, and they haven’t come back as fast as we’ve hoped, which they haven’t, then the quality of the output of these teams are lower because women are not present as much as they used to be. That is a bottom line business problem, right? So I want to work at a place, I want my clients to have the kind of place where both women and men and all other senses of diversity can feel that they belong. And these family support benefits tend to, because of the structures we have set up in our society, not exclusively, but tend to benefit women staying more in the workforce than they would if… if these weren’t in place. And it’s a bottom line business imperative.

JoDee 15:37

Susan 15:37
Yeah, that’s right. So Paul, we did an episode last year about sabbaticals that was really popular with our listeners. Are you seeing that paid or unpaid sabbaticals are becoming more normalized outside of academia?

Paul 15:51
Yeah, it’s great point, academia and faith-based organizations are where they got their birthplace. Right? And I have seen… in the last 18 months, I’ve seen more of my for-profit or nonprofit, non-academic non-faith-based clients either talk about it, so they’re… they’re wrestling with it, or start to now implement it. Right? And these are… these are in professional service firms like CPA, law, engineering, architecture, places where you think, well, this would never happen. And they’re piloting it right now with their… with their partners, right? Because they… not that they’re more important, but they take on more stress and have less to give when they’re in that sort of… in that part of their career. And I think the initial reaction that they get as they debate this is well, if I leave as a partner for four weeks, six weeks and have no… no contact, which is the intent of a sabbatical, like, cut off contact on purpose, what would happen? Well, wait a second, this doesn’t come out of the blue. You don’t just stop coming for six weeks. You plan for months, if not a year in advance, you equip your team that’s already there, you get a fellow partner to be a partner in charge. By the way, it’s great for future succession planning, because now you’re gonna have… in an accounting firm sense, you’re gonna have a manager and director that have to step up and fill the void. Oh, that’s actually great. That’s a good thing. That shows strength. That creates depth of bench. So it actually has a great and unintended intended outcome, which is strengthening the bench. And then the partner comes back refreshed, ready to go, and that team is now more powerful than when he or she left them. That’s a good thing. And by the way, the other thing that partners get afraid of is what are my clients gonna think. You know what, if you’ve actually built great clients, which most of you have, they’re going to be so darn excited for you and celebrate it, because you’re going to set them up with a partner they can go to and other people on the team that are going to step up. They’re going to be happy for you.

JoDee 17:46

Paul 17:47
You’re like, yeah, you’re right. They will be, won’t they? Yeah. And if they’re not, they’re probably not a good client, and you can get rid of them anyway.

JoDee 17:56
Well, and Paul, what should employers consider when they are assembling or refreshing their benefit offerings?

Paul 18:06
Well, I think that no matter what you choose to do, the thing that employers tend to do poorly, even if it’s none of these more creative benefits we talked about, I think the mistake employers make is not having a really solid internal marketing and communication plan. How are we going to roll this out? How are we going to keep dripping this information so that the right employee or dependent knows that this exists for them at the right time? And that’s been a historical challenge for employers. They can make great boardroom decisions on what we’re doing or not doing, but then they tend to fall flat on their face when it comes to the internal rollout. And so no matter what you decide, from the basics, blocking and tackling, all the way to creative benefits, and every point in between, you’ve got to have a thoughtful internal branding communication rollout campaign so that you and your employees get the value for what you’re investing in.

JoDee 18:59

Susan 19:00
Yeah, makes sense. So Paul, you know, we like to close out our guests’ visits with asking a JoyPowered® question. What about your work brings you joy?

Paul 19:10
Somebody asked me a very similar question to this yesterday, and the answer that I came up with then is the one I’m going to stick with today, which is, I really enjoy the opportunity to meet new people that I’ve never met before and be curious about who they are, what makes them tick, what makes their business tick, why they formed their business, what they’re trying to accomplish. And I like the freshness of new people. A lot of the solutions I get to do kind of repeat themselves, right? Because if all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. However, I enjoy the process of being curious about new people, who they are, and their business, and I get to do that. I usually meet at least one new person a week in what I’m doing and just get to be curious and that’s… that brings me great joy.

JoDee 19:55
Well, you’re very good at doing that, too, Paul. I’ve seen you in action.

Paul 20:01
Thanks JoDee.

JoDee 20:02
How can our listeners reach out to you if they have more questions about benefits or…?

Paul 20:08
Email, that ever ubiquitous… so it’s Paul dot Ashley, which is spelled A-S-H-L-E-Y, so paul dot ashley at nfp dot com. And NFP does not stand for anything, but it’s like as in Nancy Frank Paul. At So, yeah, that’s that’s the way to find me. And NFP is a global company with about 8,000 professionals. Our office that we are a part of is the Indianapolis office, and we stay concentrated primarily in the Midwest, but have clients everywhere, so happy to help folks if they need it.

Susan 20:44
Thank you so much, Paul. We’re so glad that you’re here.

Susan 20:47
Now a word from our sponsors.

JoDee 20:49
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Susan 20:59
That’s right. I know you’ve been working on a strengths certification program with some of our friends at Powered by Purple Ink. JoDee, why don’t you tell our listeners a little about the program?

JoDee 21:09
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Susan 21:35
It sounds like a wonderful program, and the participants will benefit from the guidance of several strength experts – JoDee and her partners. JoDee, how is Power Up Your Strengths formatted and where will it be located?

JoDee 21:48
Well, it’s 100% virtual, so anyone can join us from anywhere. We’ll have some live sessions over Zoom and in between the sessions, there will be some prework and practice for participants to complete through our online platform. It will be packed with information and experiences you’ll need to be a strength champion, trainer, or coach.

Susan 22:14
If you’d like to learn more about Power Up Your Strengths, visit Powered by Purple Ink – with a k – dot com slash strengths.

Susan 22:24
Our second guest today is actually the CEO of Vivante Health that Paul mentioned. Vivante Health is a digital health care company that is reinventing the way digestive conditions are managed. Vivante’s innovative employee benefit offering is an all-in-one gut health program. GIThrive empowers people to improve digestive health through easy to use technology, advanced science, and on-demand human support while also lowering the cost of their care. I know, JoDee, this topic is one that some people can feel a little uncomfortable about, but I think it’s really important. So let’s hear from Bill his thoughts on this. Bill, we’re so happy that you’re here. Could you tell us a little bit about prevalent digestive health issues that are in the US today and why you call it a whisper topic?

Bill 23:14
Yeah. Well, Susan and JoDee, thanks so much for having me on today. I’m really excited to talk a little bit about digestive health. I think people are often surprised when they find out just how prevalent these conditions are. And when we’re talking about digestive health, we’re talking about a whole host of conditions and symptoms. So we’re talking about things like ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome, GERD, and a number of other conditions and their related symptoms. And what people are surprised to hear is that one in four Americans suffer from a chronic digestive issue. And the reason that we do talk about a whisper issue is there’s unfortunately a lot of stigma associated with these conditions and symptoms. It’s not always easy to talk about what’s going on in the bathroom. So what we find is, in addition to people who are suffering from these physical symptoms, there’s oftentimes a feeling of isolation along with it, as well, because it’s difficult to talk about. So sometimes that leads to people either avoiding care or putting it off and just having a very isolated experience. So we’re… we’re looking to… to help those individuals.

JoDee 24:19
I love it. I am surprised at those statistics, though, I had no idea that many people…

Bill 24:26
Yeah, it’s… it’s something that I think is gaining more traction. People are talking about it more and more and recognizing how many people it does impact and the significance of the day-to-day impact that it can have on people’s lives.

JoDee 24:39
Right. Well, how do these digestive issues affect employee productivity and absenteeism?

Bill 24:47
They have a really big impact. And as you can imagine, when you think about kind of the day-to-day experience living with these symptoms and conditions, you know, imagine an individual who every day when they show up at work has to think about proximity to the bathroom and has to think about timing meetings so that they can have access to the bathroom. And that’s really, really difficult. I mean, we have stories of individuals that we work with that would leave the office because they were so self-conscious about utilizing the office bathroom. And so you just think about the mindset and the pressure that that puts on people. And so we know that there’s a huge impact on both presenteeism and absenteeism and just on the… the day-to-day life of the individuals who are suffering from these symptoms and conditions.

JoDee 25:35
Yeah, you know, I think… hopefully, they’ve come a long way, but I had a friend probably 20 years ago who was diagnosed with Crohn’s. And, of course, she’d been struggling for a while, but when she got the diagnosis of Crohn’s, she was a school teacher, and she just immediately quit her job, because she said, I can’t… she was elementary school and she said, I can’t leave my classroom. And that was it. There was no discussion, thought, she just immediately quit.

Bill 26:07
You know, it’s… it’s those stories that, unfortunately, we hear day in and day out, people experiencing similar impact on their lives on their livelihood. And, you know, we think about it in terms of the workforce, and then you think about it in terms of just your life, you know, being out with, you know, if you’re trying to go to the park with your kids, but you’re fearful of how long you could spend with them out of your home. You know, we hear just day in and day out people looking for solutions and looking for help to alleviate the symptoms so that they can live their lives. Yeah.

JoDee 26:38

Susan 26:39
Can you talk a little bit about how these issues affect employer medical costs?

Bill 26:44
Yeah, absolutely. So digestive conditions and their symptoms are definitely a big driver in terms of spend for employer costs. So on average, an individual with chronic digestive conditions spends over $17,000 in terms of medical and pharmacy costs per year. And on individual cases, it can be much, much higher. We also know that studies done by the CDC and the National Institute on Health have shown things like digestive health as being a leading cause for emergency room admits. So these digestive conditions are often associated with abdominal pain. And so undiagnosed abdominal pain, many people end up in the emergency room because they’re not quite sure where they need to go, what they need to do. So it’s definitely a major cost driver. And I think that there’s great innovations and great work being done to try and mitigate some of those costs, but today, we’re definitely seeing it fuel a number of medical and pharmacy costs as well.

JoDee 27:38
So what can companies do to help these employees improve their digestive health?

Bill 27:45
You know, for us at Vivante, you know, what we focus on is technology and remote care teams that can really help support better digestive health through things like medical nutritional therapy, utilizing technology and novel biomarkers to personalize health plan experience, because we’re all so different by… not only by condition or symptom, but the way that we live our lives, you know, what we want to be doing day in and day out. So I think what technology allows us to do is personalize that experience and bring it into the hands of the member, meet them where they are. And then I think offering other solutions like… like cognitive behavioral therapy, you know, it’s really well-documented that there’s a significant gut-brain connection, so your digestive health and your mental health are very highly correlated. And so there’s a lot of tools that can be offered to individuals, to really meet them where they are and personalize the experience to reduce their symptoms and get them feeling better.

JoDee 28:40

Susan 28:41
Bill, for the companies that you’re working with, or similar companies like yourself that are working with, how do they incorporate digestive health into their company’s benefit offerings?

Bill 28:51
For what we’ve done at Vivante, you know, we’ve built our solution to integrate well into the benefits ecosystem, and so we get our solution to members through employers and through health plans. And so currently, one of the things that we’ve made sure of is that we are not a siloed solution, but that we can do some cross-collaboration between other solutions and between other members of the care team, because we want to make sure we’re exchanging information and getting data back and forth to providers if they’re working with a clinician or to other point solutions, if they have other conditions. So I think for… in Vivante’s case, you know, we’re always looking to work with new employers, work with brokers and consultants and with health plans to help make sure that we’re providing the service to individuals in need. So I think for HR leaders, I always say I feel like HR leaders have so much on their plate. They are oftentimes a team of one, or even if they do have a team, they’re working through everything. Everything seems to land on their table, on their plate. So what we… what we certainly try and do is make it as easy as possible to do things like integrate into their health plan, bill through claims so it’s not a increase in admin fee, make sure that we’re doing things like going at fees at risk, 100% for financial return so that they’re not having to make a difficult decision on a solution that they know provides value to their members, but they don’t want to incur additional cost. So I think it’s those key things is making it as easy as possible for the HR leaders, because they just have so much on their plate today.

JoDee 30:23
So just to dig into that a little bit more. So we’re… lot of people in Indiana are on Anthem insurance. So you might, if we had a… have a plan with Anthem, then that just might be embedded into the plan.

Bill 30:43
Yeah, JoDee, it’s a great question. So that’s certainly the… the attempt, and we’re working with some of the major plans today where we’re embedded and then the employers can say, hey, because I’m working with one plan or the other, I may have this Vivante offering as part of that plan. And it will vary depending on the funding and the state, but you’re exactly right. For HR leaders, what we’re working to do is get embedded in that plan so that it’s… it’s easy for… for the HR leaders to then give that solution to their members.

JoDee 31:13
Nice. You know, Bill, we’re the JoyPowered® podcast, so we always like to ask a question about joy at work. What’s one small step or change you made during your career that boosted your joy at work?

Bill 31:29
Yeah, so JoDee and Susan, I think this is why your podcast is so is exciting to do, because it’s about joy, and what’s what’s better to talk about than joy? And so I think for me, it’s really about empowering my team. I’m a big believer in culture being driven by the entire company and organization, and so by committing to, hey, we do want to have a fun culture that is built around supporting people, helping the members we serve, and supporting each other, I think that allows people to really engage in building the culture. And as an example, our care team came up with an idea that’s called spark joy.

Susan 32:10
I like it.

Bill 32:11
I thought you both would. Where we’re they’re thinking about how do we spark joy in someone’s life every day? And so… And there’s all different ways that they’ll do that. Some… some of it is, you know, we’ll put money as a company, if someone needs to, it can be a little thing, right? It can be a little gift card for achieving a milestone in the person’s mission to improve their digestive symptom. So there’s all these different examples, it could be a handwritten letter from a care team member to… to somebody who’s going through something, and that can be internal across teams, or to the members we serve. But again, this is not a Bill Snyder idea. This is an idea driven by our team, because they’re the ones that come up with the most amazing and incredible ideas every day.

Susan 32:52
It’s a great idea.

JoDee 32:54
Yeah, I love it.

Susan 32:56
I do too. So Bill, how can our listeners contact you or Vivante Health if they’re interested in learning more?

Bill 33:02
Yeah, absolutely. So they can go to our website, which is, and then they can also absolutely reach out to me. So my email address is B Snyder – B-S-N-Y-D-E-R – at, and we would love to connect with any listeners about the work we’re doing in the digestive health space.

Susan 33:26
That’s wonderful. And we’re gonna put this information in our show notes, but if we have a listener who can’t wait to look, I want to make sure I spell Vivante for you. It’s V-I-V-A-N-T-E – Vivante Health.

Bill 33:37
That’s it exactly. You got it, Susan.

Susan 33:39
All right. Thank you so much, Bill. Thanks for being here.

Bill 33:41
Yeah, thank you. Really appreciate you having me.

JoDee 33:45
I’m so interested in all of this. So good for you.

Bill 33:49
Thank you both. It was a… it was a joy being here. So I appreciate the time.

Susan 33:54
JoDee, I found both Paul and Bill so interesting. I think that kind of opened up my eyes about how focused employee benefits are becoming around the health of their employees. Companies really care about the mental health, the physical health, the ongoing sustaining health, while they’re figuring out how do they be more efficient and cost effective at doing it.

JoDee 34:15
Yeah. And I just had heard… I’ve never heard of this research being done or this new offering to look into people’s genes and see about their treatment. I’m fascinated by that. And I’m also fascinated, even though, you know, I mentioned I had a friend a long time ago, but I know several people who have some pretty major digestive issues and yet to hear that a company is just solely focused on that – I’m amazed by that and I love it.

Susan 34:53
Me too. I think it could help a lot of our employees and I think about the people who miss work or even if they’re at work, they’re uncomfortable because of the digestive issues, man, if there’s resources out there that can help them, I’m all for it. So I think it’s a great benefit offering, as are the other things that we’ve been talking about today.

JoDee 35:10
Yeah. Susan, this question came to us from a listener of our August 2022 podcast. They said, “What are some example suggestions a person could take to their boss or HR to find a way to overcome burnout while continuing to work?”

Susan 35:32
Hmm, I love this question, JoDee. It’s kind of the opposite of quiet quitting. It’s loud re-engaging ideas, right? If you’re feeling burned out, and you want… for a lot of reasons, you may want to stay at the employer you’re at, and voting with your feet to leave just isn’t viable for you. So I think I would really first start with talking to my manager. I would want to plan out a conversation with him or her and talk through the points I want to make in this meeting. And I think I’d probably start with, I really want to be here for the long term. And… and let them know, I mean, I’d start with thank you for hiring me, thank you for putting me in this role. I love it here. I want to build a future. Because what you do there is you, I think, take away the fear, like, she’s here to quit, or she’s starting to disengage on me, no, I… let’s put it on the table, I really want to be here. I think I would talk about the value I bring, I believe that I’m doing a good job on the work that’s assigned to me, but it’s not energizing me. And I know those… those words can feel emotional, but you’re feeling emotional. And I… I’ve confirmed in their minds that I’m in the right place and that they’ve got somebody who’s a good performer, but I’m not being energized or feeding my passion or keeping me as engaged as I want to be, whatever words I think works for you. And then I’d say I would love to explore with you ways to use my strengths here more. Using my strengths and doing what I enjoy could be a real win-win for this company. The path that I’m on and this… the role I’m in is that I’m going to get the work done and the commitments delivered, but I don’t think that’s sustainable given the… my level of satisfaction. I… gosh, as an employer, I would love the employee coming to me early into this before they’ve burnt out. Right?

JoDee 37:17
Right. So many times people just get frustrated, they get burnt out, and they just quit. And maybe they’ve even already found a new job, so staying is not an option, but if… And I’ve done that myself before, too. I’ve quit roles where I didn’t go to my manager or leader and say, hey, I’m… you know, I’m ready for something new here.

Susan 37:47
What a disappointment that I’m sure when they… after all they invested in you that you left. And I think that’s what most of us do. So having this kind of put it on the table discussion. And after you’ve… you know, you’ve said that it’s not sustainable, I know that if I don’t start using my strengths more or make change, I’m not going to be here for the long term and that’s not what I what, either one of us want. Let’s talk about options. And then I… the options, I would come in there with some some plans, you know, what can we change about the role I’m in? What cannot change about the role I have? Is there other people who maybe this is their time to learn these things that I can help transition work? And then I’d ask them, you know, where do you see my next move and what can we do to accelerate maybe the timing on that? I think it’s worth the risk. I honestly do. Listener, I hope that that’s of some help to you.

JoDee 38:32
Yeah, great advice.

Susan 38:35
In the news, noted in an article dated August 20, 2022 that they had surveyed 1,500 Americans to find out which cities swear the most and in which social situations do Americans swear. So here are some of the key findings. Let’s share them. The first one is, where are the most common places that Americans use foul language? 69% said they use it at work.

JoDee 39:03

Susan 39:04
I know. I know. 67 percent said they curse in front of strangers, and 63% said at the dinner table. Maybe they don’t like what was cooked? I don’t know.

JoDee 39:15
I guess. And another question asked what cities have the highest number of workplace swears. So the first one was Philadelphia, the second one, Columbus, Ohio, and the third one was Detroit.

Susan 39:36
54% of people swear to themselves. Okay, I’ll be honest with you, JoDee, sometimes a word slips out here or there, but I’ve really tried to keep it, you know, just with me.

JoDee 39:46
Yes. Me too.

Susan 39:47
4% of Americans have admitted to swearing at a coworker. I’m surprised with… if 69% of people say they swear at work, only 4% of these 1,500 say they actually swear at a coworker.

JoDee 39:58
Yeah. 57% of Americans use swear substitutions, like “fudgesicle” or “holy smokes” in front of kids or at work.

Susan 40:13
I hear “sugar” a lot. “Oh, sugar.” Yeah. Gen Z swears an average of 24 times per day, compared to Baby Boomers swearing 10 times per day.

JoDee 40:27
Ah, I hate to hear that, because I think when you get in the habit of using swear words a lot… like, if that’s coming up from younger generations, it’s probably going to be much more prevalent.

Susan 40:43
Yes. As business leaders and HR professionals, I think we decide what’s acceptable in our workplace and what’s not. Whether swearing is taboo or not at your place of employment is going to depend on your culture. What sword do you want to fall on, and where do you want to draw boundaries? For me, I personally work hard not to swear, because for me, it surfaces just bad energy, although I admit that there have been moments of high emotion that a few choice words have slipped out. I think I have a pretty high tolerance for what others choose to say, as long as it isn’t directed at another person or me, or the remarks that could potentially create a hostile work environment by the nature of what’s said. JoDee, how about you?

JoDee 41:24
I would say I rarely… very rarely swear, and most of the times if I do… when I do, I try to keep it to myself or use it when no one else is around. But I would say I have a pretty low tolerance for it at work. And I tell you, I was in a client’s office yesterday, and their nameplate on their desk had, like, let’s say their name was Suzy Smith. They had “Suzy effing Smith.” I was like, what?

Susan 42:04
My gosh.

JoDee 42:05
Like, that was a pretty large nametag or nameplate, so I saw it immediately, and then I couldn’t get that out of my head the whole time I was with them, and… So I don’t know. Maybe I’m a prude about that, but I don’t like it.

Susan 42:22
Okay. Yeah, it doesn’t really faze me as long as I don’t see it being directed to someone else. But you know what, you’ve got to be sensitive to your culture, and I hope that people really stop and if there’s stuff that’s making people uncomfortable, that they’re addressing it.

JoDee 42:37
Right. Well, thanks for joining us and tune in next time and make it a JoyPowered® day.

Susan 42:45
Thank you.

Susan 42:46
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JoDee 43:21
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Susan 43:49
We hope you tune in next time. Make it a JoyPowered® day.

Emily Miller
Emily Miller
Emily works behind the scenes at JoyPowered, helping to edit and publish the books, producing the podcast, and running the website and social media.

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