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Our perspective on life, leadership, and engagement.

Get the scoop from our consultants and creatives, as well as our clients and other thought-leading guests. In addition to our blog and video posts, don’t miss our popular podcasts — they’ve been heard regularly by thousands of leaders since 2012!
  • On the Engaging Leader podcast, we share communication and leadership principles, and tell stories that illustrate putting those principles into practice.
  • The Workforce Health Engagement podcast explores strategies to improve your employees’ health and productivity — and to protect your bottom line.

GC27: Gamify New Hire Onboarding | with Mohit Garg from MindTickle

MindTickle enables businesses, trainers and individuals to transform their existing online content (presentation slides, videos, and documents) into an interactive learning experience. MindTickle engages the learner and makes learning efficient, effective and delightful through a unique combination of gamification elements and social tools.

MindTickle

Mohit Garg is the Co-Founder of MindTickle. Prior to co-founding MindTickle in 2011, Mohit was a Director in the management consulting practice of PwC and was Principal at Diamond Management & Technology Consultants.

Examples mentioned:

  • Pre-join onboarding for graduating university students hired by HCL Technologies (see HCL’s overview and MindTickle’s press release)
  • Teacher engagement in Des Moines, Iowa

Resources Mentioned in This Episode

To stay up on the latest news and trends in employee gamification, join the Game Changer group on LinkedIn.

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089: The Power of Brevity | with Bill Holston

Human Rights InitiativeSome of the most memorable speeches and documents have been much shorter than the norm. Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address was only 2 or 3 minutes long, and we remember it much better than the other speaker that day, Edward Everett, who spoke for two hours. John F. Kennedy’s famous inaugural address – “Ask not what your country can do for you” – was only 15 minutes long, one of the shortest up to that point in history. And TED Talks have taken the world by storm with a maximum length of 18 minutes.

Our guest today has discovered the power of brevity firsthand. For 30 years, he was a lawyer persuading judges and juries. Today he is executive director of a nonprofit, and as you can guess, a big part of his position involves spreading the word about his organization’s mission and asking people to donate money. He’s found that being short but memorable has made a real difference toward those goals.

Bill Holston is Executive Director of the Human Rights Initiative of North Texas. In 2012, he left his law practice of 30 years to lead this non-profit organization that provides pro bono legal services for people who come to the United States seeking asylum from political or religious persecution, abusive relationships, or other reasons.

In this interview, Bill shares three experiences:

  • Persuading judges and juries in court.
  • Presenting at a PechaKucha event, which requires the speaker to follow a specific format: 20 images, each for 20 seconds (six minutes and 40 seconds in total). The images advance automatically and you talk along to the images. Don’t miss the video of Bill in his flashy jacket.
  • Making a fundraising appeal for his organization. Bill was invited to speak at a local church for no more than three minutes. The response was overwhelmingly positive, raising over $4,000 for the Human Rights Initiative of North Texas.

Jesse and Bill discuss three reasons brevity works:

  • Forces you (the speaker or writer) to be disciplined and clarify what your key point is. “I didn’t have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead.” ~ Mark Twain
  • Prevents cognitive backlog, which is when too much information prevents the listener/reader from remembering or even paying attention. The longer the presentation, the more the listener has to organize, comprehend, and remember.
    Leaves listeners/readers with energy and brainpower to think about the information, share the ideas, and act on them.

Jesse and Bill also discuss four tips for being brief yet powerful:

  • Be very clear about your main point
  • Use an outline or message map
  • Follow the Rule of Three
  • Use stories or examples to make a concrete point faster than abstract explanations

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If you like our show, please rate us on iTunes. That makes a huge difference in helping more people discover it. We love to know your thoughts about this episode. Please submit your comments below! You can also email comments to Jesse at [email protected], subscribe to him on Facebook, or follow him on Twitter.

WHE11: Workplace Clinics: How to Implement & Promote Them to Increase Health Engagement & Reduce Costs | with Joe Ellis from CBIZ

Medical CcenterWorkplace clinics can promote employee health, reduce medical and hospitalization costs, and even increase productivity and employee engagement. But there are pitfalls that can waste money and even hurt employee trust.

Joe Ellis is Senior Vice President at CBIZ, one of the leading professional service firms wiith more than 200 offices in 33 states, where he helps businesses manage their employee benefit plans, including determining whether and how on-site clinics should be implemented as part of the overal health strategy.

Jesse and Joe discuss several issues regarding workplace clinics, including:

  • What are the biggest reasons an employer would want to consider providing an on-site clinic?
  • What are the downsides or risks for the employer?
  • What type of medical staff is involved, and are they employees of the company or a separate entity?
  • What’s the minimum number of employees needed at a given location for a clinic to be financially feasible?
  • How do you best engage employees and other stakeholders to ensure the clinic is utilized enough to meet the employer’s goals?

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If you like our show, please rate us on iTunes. That makes a huge difference in helping more people discover it. We love to know your thoughts about this episode. Please submit your comments below! You can also email comments to Jesse at [email protected], subscribe to him on Facebook, or follow him on Twitter.

088: Happy @ Work: Top Habits That Keep People Engaged and Successful | with Jim Donovan

Happy at workA growing body of research in psychology and neuroscience is demonstrating that happiness is a secret ingredient to success at work. It turns out, our brains are more engaged, creative, productive, and resilient when in a positive state.

What are the top habits for leaders and employees who are happy at work? How can we as leaders model and teach those habits to our team? And how can we create the environment that best facilitates both workplace happiness and maximum contribution to business results?

Jim Donovan, consultant, speaker, and “happiness expert” offers workplace advice to employers and employees on how to make their work lives more fulfilling. His latest book Happy @ Work comes on the heels of a Gallup poll that reported employee disengagement in the U.S. as high as 70%, costing businesses more than $550 billion a year in lost productivity.

Jim and Jesse discuss:

  • Who is responsible for employee engagement … the company, the manager, or the employee?
  • The top three things you can do today to manage time better
  • Getting rid of a tedious grind — tips to make dull tasks fun
  • Get up and get moving
  • Break your patterns

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If you like our show, please rate us on iTunes. That makes a huge difference in helping more people discover it. We love to know your thoughts about this episode. Please submit your comments below! You can also email comments to Jesse at [email protected], subscribe to him on Facebook, or follow him on Twitter.

WHE10: The 6 Principles (or C’s) of Workforce Health Engagement

whe_albumart_1400In episode 1, Jesse and his colleague Terry Sherwood defined workforce health engagement as improving the knowledge, decision-making, and behaviors of employees, their families, and organizational leaders to optimize health outcomes, control medical costs, and enhance workplace productivity.

In addition, they discussed five components of workforce health engagement:

Population Health Management/Epidemiology

Health Consumerism

Benefit Plan Design

Resources and Coaching

Branding/Education/Communications

According to recent studies, the typical wellness or other workforce health program produces only minimal improvement in long-term employee health and health care costs. Some employers, however, have achieved significant improvement in health metrics and costs, as well as improved employee engagement, productivity, recruitment, safety, and trust in management. One of the key factors to success is whether it’s simply HR’s “program of the day” — or an authentic component of your corporate culture.

The key to integrating all five components in a way that delivers the desired results is the 6 “C’s” of workforce health engagement:

  • Context (Why)
  • Clarity (What)
  • Credibility (Trustworthiness)
  • Caring (Well-Being)
  • Connecting (Emotional)
  • Coaching (Support)

Over time, these 6 Cs together create the Big C: a culture of health. If your organization has a culture of health, you are more likely to attract healthy and productive employees in the first place, your employees will trust that management truly cares about them, and they will make smarter decisions regarding lifestyle and health care consumption. That’s successful workforce health engagement!

Joining Jesse on the show is Terry Sherwood, his colleague from Aspendale Communications. Terry has over 25 years of experience helping companies communicate effectively with their employees. Her diverse background in human resources, corporate communications, and marketing provides a blend of creativity and practicality that delivers results. Terry has held senior consulting positions with several large consulting firms, including priceWaterhouseCoopers and Towers Watson.

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If you like our show, please rate us on iTunes. That makes a huge difference in helping more people discover it. We love to know your thoughts about this episode. Please submit your comments below! You can also email comments to Jesse at [email protected], subscribe to him on Facebook, or follow him on Twitter.

087: Talk Like TED: 3 Secrets to Radically Improve Your Presentations | with Carmine Gallo

Talk Like TedIdeas are the currency of the 21st century. You can have brilliant ideas—truly revolutionary ideas—but if you cannot persuade others to act, those ideas don’t matter.

In 2006, the famous TED conference began streaming 18-minute presentations from the world’s top minds for free. Today TED talks are viewed more than two million times a day and have become the gold standard in public speaking and presentation skills. Like it or or not, your next presentation will be compared to a TED talk.

Carmine Gallo is communication coach for some of the world’s most admired brands, including Intel, Coca-Cola, Cisco, Google, Disney, and more. He writes the Forbes.com column “My Communications Coach.” He’s the author of seven books, including the recent bestseller, The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs.

Carmine’s latest book is Talk Like TED: The 9 Public-Speaking Secrets of the World’s Top Minds. Carmine studied over 500 TED talks and interviewed scores of TED speakers, as well as leading researchers in the fields of neuroscience and communication. His findings explore the art and science of persuasion and public speaking and reveal techniques that you can use immediately to radically improve your very next pitch or presentation.

In this episode, Jesse and Carmine discuss three of the nine common elements to all TED talks. Each of these elements is scientifically proven to increase the likelihood that your presentation will be successful, whether you’re pitching to one person or speaking to thousands.

  1. Unleashing the master within
  2. Mastering the art of storytelling
  3. Having a conversation
  4. Teaching something new
  5. Delivering jaw-dropping moments
  6. Lightening up
  7. Brevity (especially following the 18-Minute Rule and the Rule of 3)
  8. Painting a mental picture (favor pictures over text)
  9. Staying in your lane

Bonus: The #1 habit that transforms a merely good presentation into a TED-worthy performance … practice relentlessly

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If you like our show, please rate us on iTunes. That makes a huge difference in helping more people discover it. We love to know your thoughts about this episode. Please submit your comments below! You can also email comments to Jesse at [email protected], subscribe to him on Facebook, or follow him on Twitter.

WHE09: What Pepsi’s 7-Year Experiment Teaches about Workforce Health Engagement

Earlier this year, the non-profit research group RAND Corporation released yet another study questioning the return on investment (ROI) of workplace wellness. RAND’s new study found that wellness can improve employee health and reduce costs, if the employer strategically engages employees beyond industry-standard lifestyle management tactics.

Graphic source: “Do Workplace Wellness Programs Save Employers Money?” research brief by RAND Health

Is it a waste of money and effort for employers to promote healthy lifestyles? No, RAND acknowledged that some lifestyle management goals and practices are effective. But employers should not blindly spend money on wellness programs pitched by vendors.

In this episode, Jesse discusses six take-aways from the PepsiCo results:

  1. Set clear goals.
  2. Don’t forget broader goals.
  3. Invest wisely based on your goals.
  4. Take an integrated approach to communicating both disease management and lifetstyle management components.
  5. Develop integrated communications for all workforce health management components.
  6. Make execution and engagement top priorities.

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If you like our show, please rate us on iTunes. That makes a huge difference in helping more people discover it. We love to know your thoughts about this episode. Please submit your comments below! You can also email comments to Jesse at [email protected], subscribe to him on Facebook, or follow him on Twitter.

WHE08: Boosting Health Engagement with Gamification | with Josh Stevens from Keas

Keas1One of today’s hottest trends in workforce health engagement is gamification. Gamification is the use of tactics inspired by games — especially video games — to engage people. Think about what makes video games so alluring and habit-forming for people … they’re fun, of course, but they also provide instant feedback, friendly competition, perhaps a social component, and more.

There are several vendors offering gamification solutions for wellness, and one of the first was Keas. Keas is a company that Mashable said began as the Mint.com for health and became the Farmville for corporate wellness. Back in 2010, Keas realized it was failing to make an impact, and so it revamped its entire program with a gamification approach. Today we’ll find out what kind of difference that made, and how the program works.

Our guest, Josh Stevens, has been in the tech world for many years, at companies like AOL, TicketsNow.com, and YouSendIt. Today he is the CEO of Keas.

This interview with  Josh Stevens originally aired  in June 2013 on our Game Changer podcast, which is a series focused using gamification to engage employees.

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If you like our show, please rate us on iTunes. That makes a huge difference in helping more people discover it. We love to know your thoughts about this episode. Please submit your comments below! You can also email comments to Jesse at [email protected], subscribe to him on Facebook, or follow him on Twitter.

WHE07: Pitfalls of Workplace Wellness: Does It Do More Harm Than Good? | with Al Lewis

Surviving Workplace WellnessAs we discussed back in episode 4, in our interview with epidemiologist Tom Wilson, it’s a good idea to not have blind faith in wellness vendors, but to have a healthy dose of skepticism. For one thing, there are probably leaders and employees at your organization who are skeptical, so you need to anticipate their questions rather than coming across as naïve. More importantly, you should review actual data on the outcomes and think critically about them. Depending on your specific goals for your organization, your wellness program may not actually be meeting your goals.

And there’s at least one voice today saying that traditional wellness may actually do more harm than good. Al Lewis claims that what he calls the “pry, poke, prod” model of corporate wellness leads to hyperdiagnosis and unnecessary treatment, which is dangerous for patients and drives up health care costs.

Al Lewis is founder and President of the Disease Management Purchasing Consortium International, Inc. (DMPC–www.Dismgmt.com) DMPC is an outcomes measurement evaluator in the field of disease management and wellness for health plans, self-insured employers, states, and brokers.

Al’s book on outcomes measurement, Why Nobody Believes the Numbers was named 2012 health care book of the year in Forbes.

His latest book is Surviving Workplace Wellness…With Your Dignity, Finances, and (Major) Organs Intact., co-written with Vik Khanna. It’s a book he actually wrote for employees, so we thought it would be a good idea to check out what your employees might be reading that could be very critical about your wellness program.

Whether you or not you like or agree with Al’s message, he’s asking some important questions. You owe it to yourself to look into them, and also to be prepared to answer these kinds of questions from your employees. Being proactive about potential tough questions from employees is just one implication regarding  how you communicate your health programs. Aspendale Communications can help you audit what’s currently being communicated to your employees and develop a strategy that will help you meet your objectives.

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If you like our show, please rate us on iTunes. That makes a huge difference in helping more people discover it. We love to know your thoughts about this episode. Please submit your comments below! You can also email comments to Jesse at [email protected], subscribe to him on Facebook, or follow him on Twitter.

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