Bob Merberg and Jen Arnold Strikethrough the Year 2020 in Employee Wellbeing

in Commentary, humor, Uncategorized, Wellbeing

Scene from Fury Road

At the end of each year, a hush falls over the world, as it awaits the arrival of…

…the annual end-of-year wellness wrap-up that Jen Arnold and I record for her Redesigning Wellness podcast! It’s here!

This year was no different.  Of course, this year was completely different, but Jen and I still managed to offer some reflections on 2020 in employee wellness. Unlike previous years, this time we forgot to prepare for took a pass on the nerding out on analysis of peer-reviewed studies that have tested the patience of delighted audiences in years past.

Predictions? Oh, we have predictions. We’ve got nothing. Our best shot at predictions were: Continue reading »

Wellbeing: Did I Say Pizza? I Meant Lava Lamp.

in humor, Uncategorized, Wellbeing

Lava Lamp — reflecting the model of employee wellness and wellbeing promoted by employee well-being consultant Bob MerbergWellness (or wellbeing, if you will) is usually illustrated as a perfect circle divided into uniform wedges. Gallup’s 5 wedges, for example, represent Social, Financial, Physical, Community, and Career Purpose wellbeing. National Wellness Institute has its Occupational, Physical, Social, Intellectual, Spiritual, and Emotional dimensions.

There’s no end to how circles can be sliced up into the elements of wellness, whether there are 6, 7, 8 wedges, or — even as some models have it — 12 wedges of an inner circle surrounded by 8 pastel sections that join to form 2 concentric circles. (Stop this ride, I’m getting dizzy!)

Many models of wellness and wellbeing with circles and wedges to show the elements or dimensions of wellness and well-being.These wellness merry-go-rounds are mostly the product of an American spin on wellness. Elsewhere, especially Europe, the focus is on what wellness is — something related to happiness and life satisfaction. You know… wellbeing! In the US we obsess over the components of wellness — no time to fret about what they add up to — as you may recall from my post “Wellbeing and Pizza: In Search of the Secret Sauce.”

These tidy geometrics are a swell way to say that wellbeing goes beyond physical health. But a handful of static, one dimensional, and evenly distributed wedges — crammed into a flawlessly circular vessel — don’t resonate with my experience of wellness. And I wonder if they’re an ideal way to describe what other people’s wellbeing — ultimately their lives — are or can be.

Meet My Globules

My wellness is more like a lava lamp: An ever-changing bunch of free-floating globules of different shapes and sizes. I’ve got fitness globules, mental health globules, spiritual globules. Some rise to the surface for as others submerge. They’re fluid. They expand and they contract.

Some globules, like my health globule and my financial globule, merge for a while. My emotional globule occasionally smothers my intellectual globule; other times, it’s the other way around. Look: My creativity globule and logic globule are going at each other right now!

But even the lava lamp analogy eventually runs dry. Ultimately, I want my globules to be set free, to be unbound by time and space, and to interconnect with others’ globules — those of people who love me and those of people who don’t. Any model of real wellbeing has to show our globules interacting and interconnecting. You heard me right: We must have global globules.

The change starts within. To paraphrase an ancient sage: Be a lava lamp unto thyself.

Copyright 2020 by Bob Merberg. All rights reserved. (My globules may be your globules. But my work is not.)

Wellbeing and Pizza: In Search of the Secret Sauce

in Employee Wellness Programs, humor, Uncategorized, Wellbeing

pizza[Originally published on LinkedIn 2018-03-15]

“It’s the damnedest thing, hahaha” my father-in-law would say, his thick Irish brogue muscling its way forward through his baritone laugh. “I hate tomato sauce and cheese, and I don’t like bread, but I like pizza. Hahahahah!”

As a Brooklynite weaned on pizza, this really was the damndest thing I’d ever heard. But the corporate world’s newfound adoration of “wellbeing” gives me insight into my father-in-law’s pizza predilections. And vice versa.
Continue reading »

Hard-to-Believe Reviews for the New HeadShapes Mindfulness App!

in humor, Uncategorized

stars used for rating

No10Q Software Inc. is proud to introduce, HeadShapes — the mindfulness app that gets your head in shape. Read our customer reviews from around the web:

Most popular positive reviews

1. Bought this app for the hubby. He loves it! Everyday he uses it for longer and longer time periods. I barely notice him in the house anymore. Yay!

2. Best mindfulness app ever! At first, I wasn’t sure if this app would be worth the $1.25 I shelled out for it, but it has everything I wanted: guided meditation audios, videos, pictures of lotus flowers and women meditating on the beach, etc. Will change my rating from 4 starts to 5 if the developers add the 73 features I’ve listed here. 1) Artificial intelligence so the app makes me more mindful without me having to do anything 2) Add Klingon (qaStaH nuq jay’) to the 125 languages already available 4) Personalized recommendations for what flavor Red Bull to drink while mindfuling 5) ….

3. Does what it’s supposed to.

Least unpopular negative reviews

1. This app is CRAP!!!!!! Doesn’t do what it’s supposed to do. Don’t buy!!!!!!! Crashes.

2. Crashes.

3. Crashed!!!!

4. I’ve had this app running in the background on my phone for 5 days and I don’t think I’m any more mindful.

5. Bought this app for the hubby. Seemed okay at first but on day two it ignited a fire on his phone and the fire spread thru the house. Fire department advised against downloading app to replacement phone. Probably not worth $1.25 anyway. Check out my GoFundMe page.

6. Crashes! Don’t buy!!!! If you are looking for the best mindfulness app, try the one I developed called HeadScapes. It’s too innovative for the app store. Send $125 in bitcoin and I’ll email you a special invitation.

Other reviews

1. I paid for the app but it never arrived. Still checking my mailbox every day, but losing hope. Scam????

2. Got this app for my 5-year-old daughter last Christmas. So far she seems to like it. Still spends several hours a day with it. Not sure if she’s gotten any more mindful, but what can you expect for $1.25?

3. 🦄🌈😁My go-to app for happiness! 👉🏻 One star!⭐️

3. Remove the ads! I paid $1.25. Why should I have to see ads????!!!!!!!!

4. Don’t buy! Not secure! Read between the lines of the privacy policy. The app collects personal information like the name, mindfulness goals, and preferences you enter in the Get Started form. No thank you, Deep State!!!!! — Joseph Gulley, 1638 Cherry Drive, Chatham, Tennessee. (218) 555-1212 (mobile).

5. Hasn’t been updated since Tuesday. Abandoned by developer?

6. [Edit: I removed a star because, after 3 days, app started crashing every time I open it.] LUV this app! Five stars!! The guided meditations induce deep bliss. And I love the notifications I get throughout the day reminding me to be mindful just when I need it most. This app has changed my life!

7. Bought this app hoping it would improve my cornhole game. I think it’s made a  difference, but hard to know for sure.

8. Always crashes since Tuesday’s update. I’m switching to HeadScapes as soon as I get the bitcoins.

9. Awesome customer support!!

10. Awful customer support!!

11. Too many reminders!! How does the app know when I need to “be here now”?

12. Crashes. Hey, developers:  Are you there?! Are you listening to what everyone is saying about your app!! [RESPONSE FROM NO10Q SOFTWARE: Thank you for your feedback!! We have not received reports of crashing. Another app on your phone must be incompatible with our app. Please delete your apps one at a time to identify which one causes our app to crash.]

13. Wouldn’t sync with my Keurig.

14. Got this app for my ex-hubby. Does exactly what I’d hoped.

(Note: “HeadShapes” and the above reviews are satire. Any resemblance to software, companies, or persons real or imagined is…um…imagined.)


Copyright 2021 by Bob Merberg. All rights reserved.

Hire Based on Facts, Not Feels

in Data, humor, industrial organizational psychology, Uncategorized

a heart, symbolizing the error of hiring job candidates based on subjective observations and feelingsIs it enough for a job candidate to “show up” for an interview?

A prominent voice on LinkedIn recently garnered more than 17,000 likes with a post that read, in part:

We just hired a Gen-Z candidate with zero experience. Here’s why… They arrived 10 min early for their morning interview (respect ✊), pronounced my name correctly (major kudos), had a firm handshake, dressed sharp, and brought a hard copy of their resume (I didn’t need it). During the interview they smiled, made eye contact, and were honest about having zero experience (we value honesty). They asked me questions, they wanted to learn, they showed up! To all the hiring decision makers out there, don’t disqualify candidates because they don’t have “experience.”

By all means, don’t discriminate against Gen-Z or any other Gen, or against candidates who don’t have experience if the job doesn’t require it. But be smart about hiring, based on Continue reading »

Getting Jerky About Nutritional Advice

in humor, Uncategorized

flying pigJust when you were getting on board with a plant-based diet comes a new, supposedly more rigorous analysis by 14 researchers, saying it’s fine (nutritionally) to eat red meat, even processed meats like bacon. The new analysis argued that previous studies were either biased by veggie-lovin’ diehards and food industry shills or simply weren’t rigorous enough.

But wait… what’s this?! Just when you thought it was safe to go back to the deli, it turns out the lead author of the new analysis had previous ties to the meat and food industry.

This type of shenanigans is why I refrain from engaging in nutritional advice. We really understand little about the health effects of specific foods and nutrients.

 

I’m OK — You’re #OKBoomer

in humor, Uncategorized

Stamped Browse the nearly 100 blog posts I’ve published on my website and you’ll find no mention of millennials — because generational stereotypes have limited validity and are just another way to pigeonhole folks. So, while I can understand the backlash that may have led to 2019’s patronizing #OKBoomer meme, it ultimately serves only to perpetuate polarization.

OKBoomer may lead to some age discrimination lawsuits, or it may just be a soon-to-be-forgotten fad. Either way, it can serve as a reminder for each of us to embrace diversity, inclusion, and connectedness, in all their forms.

“How To Dress and Act Nicely Around Men”

in humor, Uncategorized

Science fiction -like image of a feminist

Japan’s #KuToo movement — from the words “kutsu” (shoes) and “kutsuu” (pain) — arose in response to dress codes requiring female workers to wear high heels, a workplace policy the Health and Labor Minister declared “occupationally necessary and appropriate.”

Similar requirements have ignited protests elsewhere.

Aside from the unabashed sexism these policies represent, even less woke old-school health promoters will be concerned about health risks linked to high heels. According to a report conducted for the UK Parliament, these include:

  • long-term changes to gait, which cause knee, hip and spine problems and osteoarthritis;
  • stress fractures in foot bones;
  • Morton’s neuroma;
  • ankle sprains, fractures and breakages due to trips and accidents;
  • hallux valgus (bunions);
  • blisters and skin lesions;
  • enduring balance problems which persist into old age;

The report also cited psychological distress reported by female workers who were required to wear high heels against their will.

Meanwhile, in the US, HuffPost exposed a prominent professional services firm that set us all back with one of its women’s leadership trainings. The training’s handbook insisted that “the most important thing women can do is ‘signal fitness and wellness.’” ?

It advised trainees to have a “good haircut, manicured nails, well-cut attire that complements your body type.” Then it warns:

“Don’t flaunt your body ― sexuality scrambles the mind (for men and women).”

Read the full HuffPo article and to view the employer’s “leaked” video response:

Women At Ernst & Young Instructed On How To Dress, Act Nicely Around Men

 

 

Everyone Cheats? Step-Tracking and the “Privilege” of Higher Premiums

in Employee Wellness Programs, humor

Hedgehog“Maybe you just want to keep your personal data private without having to pay higher premiums for the privilege.”

The article Everyone Cheats On Fitness Trackers makes some odd assertions, like, “This is seen as a win-win for insurers who want you to live longer, so you earn them more money.” But once the article gets going, it raises valid points and describes some amusing scenarios, like

“Making health a game of points means employees game the system right back, though they don’t all have hedgehogs.”

People ask me, “Yeah, but how small is the proportion of employees who cheat in step-tracking programs, and why should the majority of participants, who are honest, have to suffer the consequences?”

Experience suggests that the proportion of cheaters is not at all small (the headline of this article says “everyone”), though the construct of “cheating” is not always straightforward.

Cheating is especially likely when an incentive is offered. For one spectacular example, see my archived article Do Employees Cheat for Wellness Incentives?

 

 

 

 

When Organizational Values Aren’t Values

in humor, Uncategorized

Values
After her presentation at a wellness conference, a colleague reports, an attendee told her:

I never would have thought to align our wellness program with our core values and business goals.

If a wellness leader never would have thought to align the wellness program with the organization’s core values, they probably aren’t really core values. Continue reading »