A CykoMetrix Spotlight Production
Every week, the Spotlight shines on an amazing professional with a story to tell and lessons to teach. Welcome to the CykoMetrix Spotlight.
The following is an adapted transcript of the exchange between Sylvain Rochon, CMO at CykoMetrix as host, and President and CEO of Interpersonal Wellness Services Inc.
Sylvain Rochon: Welcome to The Psychometric Spotlight. My name is Sylvain Rochon, I’m the Chief Marketing Officer at CykoMetrix, a SaaS-based psychometric assessment platform that helps companies do continuous development, improve hiring practices, and just generates a lot of data, so you can dive in and see what’s going on with teams, see what’s going on with individuals, so you can target and really help teams improve in soft skills and do all sorts of interesting things.
Today on the Spotlight, we have Joyce Odidison, a very interesting fellow Canadian from out West. I’m very excited. Joyce is a conflict analyst and workplace wellness expert, a certified coach, a keynote speaker, a thought leader, and a pioneer of the Interpersonal Wellness Competency Mindset teaching. Joyce has been the president of NCU of Interpersonal Wellness Services Incorporated for over 2 decades. She is the author of 6 books and founder and training director of Coach Velocity School of Coaching, and host of the annual Global Workplace Wellness Summit. Joyce is host of the What’s Happening at Work podcast, and publisher of Faces of Workplace Wellness magazine. You have been very busy, Joyce. Welcome to The Spotlight.
Joyce Odidison: Well, thank you, Sylvain. My pleasure to be here with you today, having this very very important conversation.
Sylvain: Absolutely. We, like CykoMetrix, do a lot of personal assessments, of course. I don’t think many companies understand the importance of wellness, in a general sense. Now, I have my own idea of what that means, but I’m talking to an expert here. So, I should ask you, what does interpersonal wellness mean to you?
Joyce: Well, it’s very interesting that you asked this question because I used to be just a consulting firm. And back in 2010, I changed my company name to Interpersonal Wellness psoriasis Inc, and the phone stopped ringing, nobody would call. So, I reached out to my clients, and I’m like, “Oh, I’m still here just checking in.” They’re like, “What is this wellness thing?” I had to re-educate them on why I chose that name because I was seen as a conflict analyst and corporate trainer and consultant in the organization. Many people were showing up with a lack of soft skills. That will be called soft skills, but it was landing in a very hard way. They were showing up with stress, depression, burnout, heart attacks, strokes, they were having hypertension, diabetes, and exacerbated situations. These things were showing up because they were going through difficult complex situations that require them to check-in.
You see, often what happens is that when we feel, when we’re in conflict with someone, or we don’t agree with someone, we start looking for the problem outside ourselves, or what are they doing wrong, and it’s their fault, and if they didn’t do this, and blah, blah, blah. Instead of asking yourself what can I learn from this and where do I need to grow? What’s changing for me? That’s why I love assessments. Like conflict, I say conflict is a catalyst for change, and assessments creates awareness. It really creates awareness of what’s going on for us, interaction, maybe in our mindset, maybe in our own lives.
So, Interpersonal Wellness Services provides a multi-prong approach to people development in the organization. We look at how well employees are spiritually, socially, emotionally, occupationally, intellectually, environmentally, financially, physically, and interpersonally. That impacts their ability to communicate with each other and the ability to connect with each other. That’s what landed me into most of the work that I do now around the Wellness Competency Teaching.
Sylvain: Okay. So, you just mentioned it, the word competency, right? That’s a word that’s used in HR departments everywhere, like “are you competent at this and that and the other?” But it usually applies to hard skills, right? “Are you competent at doing these tasks or achieving these goals?” Now, we’re talking about Interpersonal Wellness Competency. So being competent at being well, that’s the interpretation of it. Now, how is that concept received? Like you mentioned, you had to educate your clients that you’ve had for many years. How did they receive that and were you able to see them convert and kind of think along those lines and start working with you and improving this competency inside their own staff?
Joyce: Well, fortunately for me, I’m a conflict analyst. So, when they come to me, they already have the problem. So, my job was to help them to connect the dots, to actually go back. This is really what created the interpersonal wellness system, improvement system, and the work we do, and the assessment. That allows us to measure how well employees are doing in those areas. The competency teaching actually aligns with each of these 9 areas of well-being for employees in the workplace. So, we look at integrity, for instance, aligned with spiritual wellness.
Now, organizations spend a lot of time and money measuring employee strengths, employees’ ability to connect, how well will they fit into the team, and what are their leadership strengths. All of these things we spend a lot of time in and a lot of money on psychometric assessments, and then we still don’t know how to move them from where they are. So, I’ve seen many clients who come in, and they’ve gone through all the training, and they’ve gone through all of those pieces, and they’re still struggling. So, in the spiritual wellness dimension, we look at some elements that you need to develop spiritually. I’m not talking about religion. Most people forget that the spiritual, it’s the core, that’s where our values lead. That’s where our vision of who we are, our self-esteem, our purpose, or our culture, is really embedded in our personality.
So, we don’t spend enough time developing that. We end up having people stealing at work, committing fraud, we have lack of trust, people are gossiping. We have untrustworthiness, leaders are not connecting with employees because they, themselves, don’t feel they have the self-esteem to engage with employees in a very full way that’s meaningful. So, we have that lack of engagement happening in the workplace. So, when we say Spiritual Wellness, we’re looking at who you are, your personal style, because we’re assessing. When we assess someone’s personal style or their leadership style, we’re assessing what they already have. What we focus on in the wellness competency teaching is how we improve that.
So, we start looking at that dimension of your life. We start looking at your faith, your hope, and your belief system. We help you become aware of that and to live in integrity with it. Too often, we say what we do one thing and we do another. It’s so funny. Often, I have clients who– when I’m doing group exercises – say, “Okay, let’s look at your values. What are your core values?” People write a whole bunch of values that they would like to have, and I say “Go back and ask your spouse or one of your colleagues or somebody who knows you really well, if these are truly the values you have or they’re the values you would like to have.” Because when we are in alignment with our values, we are able to be more passionate about work because we know what we believe in, we know what we value.
So, we tend to choose organizations and professions that connect with our passion. It’s easier for us to say no to the things that are not important to us, do not align with our values, our passion, and our vision of who we are. So, we have less of those challenges, and we can live with integrity with who we are, with ourselves our values and our belief system.
Sylvain: When you talk to your clients about these things, since soft skill have always been around. Now it’s top of mind, it’s a thing. It’s a bit of a-
Joyce: It’s a need.
Sylvain: Yeah. There are these companies like, for example, I know about Microsoft, for example, like large companies, they have specific programs to develop soft skills, right? So, it’s a need that’s identified in a lot of companies. But it’s reasonably new to think of them as things you can improve and measure. Which is why we’re seeing an uptake in psychometric assessments in the last few years because people need to measure these things. Since this is ne, how often do you see conflict arising of the disconnect between the reality of, let’s say, values and culture inside a team or a company versus what they aspire to be, what they would like to be? How often do you see that?
Joyce: All the time. Because you have to remember, humans– we get up in the morning, and we have to negotiate with ourselves. “Should I sleep for another 5 minutes, or should I get up? What should I do? Should I reset the alarm and stay for another 5 minutes? What do I do? Do I snooze or do I get up?” We are always negotiating with ourselves, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But there are some core elements who are aspects of our life, like our belief system, our values, our purpose, why we’re here, our passion. Those are things that we need to pull apart and become aware of and live in integrity with. Because when the spiritual realm gives us that foundation, when we develop that foundation, we go out in the world, and we show up at work grounded.
So, when we talk about being centered, people show up at work with a sense of purpose. They know who they are. They know what they can contribute to their organization. They’re not just showing up hiding under the radar, who nobody noticed them and calls them or sees that they’re not really working, right? People who are living in integrity with their purpose and are passionate about their work, they show up with an intention to do something to add value, to contribute, and they’re far more productive. These are the star employees, and you hear employers talk about that at 80-20. Why do you have that 20% of people? These are the people who are aligned. They’re spiritually developed. They’re socially developed, right?
So, each of us have 9 dimensions of wellness. We look at 9 wellness competencies. We look at integrity. We look at responsible communication that aligns with the social wellness. How does one communicate responsibly? Well, if you’re not well, you’re not doing well, and you don’t have a sense of integrity and spiritual well-being, that foundation, your communication is weaker, and you’re not able to be responsible in your communication, meaning that you’re not able to articulate what your needs are because you don’t ever quite know who you are, and what you believe in, and you’re not in alignment with it. So, you’re not able to articulate what your needs are and to quickly assess when your needs are not being met, and how to negotiate for that to happen.
So, it’s very important that we spend time developing those employees because we see that the 20% of people who show up at work, who know who they are, have their self-esteem intact, and their sense of self-worth and their purpose, they are A+ employees. Well, why aren’t all our employees that way? Because that 80% needs the development. They need that improvement. If we can get and shave that 80% away at that group, and get more of them at that, moving towards that 20% mark then we can see productivity at work increased, then we can see higher efficiency, then we can see employees interacting with each other in a more positive way.
Because if you’re upset about something, I don’t feel that I am a bad person. I will say “Tell me your view on that. What perspective, what lenses are you viewing that from? Tell me why it’s upsetting to you. Let’s talk about it.” But if I have my own thing going on and I, myself, don’t even know who I am, you being upset makes me more upset, and now I’m upset too. I’d be moaning because you’re upset at me instead of doing something about what’s making you upset.
So, it becomes a people problem, and we become people who target each other more. They’re more hypersensitive to things that they should be able to just talk through and move on. We spend a lot of time, wasted on interpersonal dynamics, people not talking to people, people hiding in their reports, people not showing up, people calling in sick when they’re not sick. It’s a lot of those things happening. People coming on Zoom and hiding their face, they don’t want to interact. If we would have a way to help people identify these competencies and improve them in a safe place, then we would have a healthier, more productive workforce all around.
Sylvain: You’re leading the next question then. How can you identify these things? What are the measuring tools that you use? Is there a classification of tools that you use or you suggest to your clients?
Joyce: There are a number of things. What I did was I went back to the drawing board, and I just did a simple thing. I created the model, and then more people were excited about it and said, “Let’s assess and see how well you’re doing.” As the employees started assessing to see how well they are in those areas, they were looking at the key life areas in those areas, and they’re getting to assess how well they think they’re doing based on their life realities. How well are you doing on a scale of 1 to 10? It’s a self-assessment. We were shocked to see the validity of it and how people were saying, “Yeah, that’s definitely me. That’s so true. This is how I was feeling.” Because they talked about when you go from 1 to 3, you are at a wellness deficit in this area, experiencing low energy, you’re reacting to everything everyone says, you’re hypersensitive, you’re not adding to the conversation, and you’re detracting from the workplace dynamics rather than adding positivity.
We have a scene around IWS. People who are not well draws and takes away from other people’s wellness. That’s what they do because they come in and they just soak up all the well-being because they soak up so much energy. Everything is energy so we talk about how important it is to manage the energy in your workplace. Have you ever been in a room where someone comes in, and then all of a sudden, it just feels like all the life has been sucked out of it? I think sometimes as humans we forget that we’re just energy. We are just energy. If you’re not well spiritually, socially, emotionally, occupationally, you are going to just take up whatever you can find. You’re hungry for it because that energy charge is necessary. We need that.
That’s why you find people are sometimes drawn to the energy that is not good for them just to have a connection. We are social creatures. We need that connection. If your employees are not well, they’re not living in integrity in their own lives, and they bring that to work. They are the gossip mongers, they are the ones who are very unhappy with their bosses, they are the ones who don’t get along with their colleagues and co-workers, they’re the ones who have all the errors and they’re not performing well, and there are errors in their work, there are mistakes. Things aren’t sent out that needs to be sent out, they’re forgetful, they tend to have more health problems too. Because when you’re unwell, after a while it depletes your health.
Wellness is that fountain that we use to maintain our health. When we stop being well, well, the energy source gets depleted, and then it’s going to the physical. We start to deteriorate. So, wellness is that abundance, that dynamic exercise of finding ways to build positive energy into our lives to stay well, which of course, ionizes ourselves and keeps us alert, and keeps us going. When that energy source is depleted, we are going to have physical ailments. It’s just a natural part of our lives, and we see that as we get older. Humans, as we age, we have less, and the things wear out because it’s not as subtle anymore. It’s just the reality of life.
Sylvain: That’s true. The next question is more about prevention. I’m thinking you have companies that are listening to this. It’s like, “Okay, she’s a crisis advisor. I don’t want a crisis. I don’t want to get there with my organization.” So, what would be your advice to organizations and individuals in HR, whoever is listening to this, “Okay, what can I do to prevent getting into some kind of interpersonal wellness crisis in my organization before I get to call the Interpersonal Wellness company?”
Joyce: That’s a good question, Sylva. Because we don’t just do crisis management. A big part of our organization is teaching, so we’re also coaches. We coach and we teach and we are a training organization. We come in with coaches and trainers that help employees to understand. We actually spend a lot of time helping employees, to see how well they are because it doesn’t matter what structures and processes you put in place, if your employees are not well, it’s useless, you just wasted money. So, what we are saying is let us teach your employees the Wellness Improvement System. Let them understand that wellness is a system and that if you’re unwell in one area of your life, you will sustain because it’s a system and it will compensate. But after a while, the energy depletion there, it’s like your tire, right? After a while, you can’t run on that low tire, the other 3 won’t carry you.
So, it’s important for employees to assess at least quarterly, to see how they’re doing in those areas of their life and where they need support. What do I need to help me improve how well I am in this area? It’s interesting because I have gone out of focusing on the assessment so much, but when we start talking about well-being and how this is directly impacting your well-being and your health, eventually, because wellness leads to health, then people are starting to recognize, “You know what? This makes a lot of sense.”
As we do a lot of our training, we do on the wellness competency teaching, is mindset teaching. So, a lot of the mindset teaching around that wellness mindset. So, we go in and we teach pieces on what happens when you have gossip in your organization. When people start to gossip, usually, the people who are gossiping are the people who are spiritually unwell. They’re not living in integrity. They’re angry and upset about others. They want to hurt others. So right away, we can see, “Okay, something is going on with that person. We need to take that person and help them to go through the wellness assessment, create awareness for themselves, and where they need to be, where they can improve, and what they can do better, and then we help the larger group by recognizing that we can improve our communication. We can improve. We can forgive. We can move on.
So, it’s a lot. We do a lot of prevention work. We do a lot of management work, and then we do the crisis piece for those who wait too long to call us. So, we believe that it’s important to do all 3.
Sylvain: Excellent. So, all elements are there, especially prevention. For wellness, prevention is probably always a top of mind for people. Nobody likes to be unwell.
Sylvain: It’s bad for everybody.
Joyce: A lot of us are running around unwell and not knowing it. You know, Sylvain, that is so true. The feedback I get from employees is like, “I never thought of it that way. I just imagine that maybe I just don’t like that person or just, this is the way it’s going to be. To put it down in categories where I can actually see these key life areas and ask myself, how well am I doing in those areas? It brings up so much awareness for me, and already ideas on what I can do better.” employees will say to me, “just going through the questions, just reading through it, my brain is already coming up with ideas and things that I can do to make a difference and to change or improve what I’m doing in this area.” It’s not that we’re not doing this out of ignorance, we just lacked a proper structure to create that awareness for us and a framework for us to be able to now take steps to improve what we’re doing.
One of the things we did when we built this program, we built the assessment and we had it of course, as well, we had it available online. Then behind it, we built out the improvement plan for the employees. Then we have the courses where they can now go right ahead into the e-course and start to build that wellness mindset and do the little exercise to start shifting their mindset and then their behavior. Before too long, we have seen wellness as just that and not recognizing that there are behavioral changes.
That’s what we teach you, the competencies. Competencies can be seen, they can be observed, they can be improved, they can be measured, and we can tell right away where you are on a scale of 1 to 10. Then based on this analysis, you can see for yourself, “am I experiencing these things?” Then, “here’s where I need to go. Here’s the course I jumped into to start improving how well I’m doing.”
Sylvain: Very key. One of the biggest takeaways from the end of this conversation is something I learned when I was in my 30s. So late in my life, I’m in my mid-40s now. Not that long ago: When there is misbehavior, there is suffering. Of course, there’s suffering on the receiving end, but the main suffering is the person that is misbehaving, right? That person is not well mentally or physically or both, right?
So, trying to highlight, or to deal with people’s wellness in general. That means you eliminate a lot of misbehaviors that are annoying or disruptive to others, and it creates a wonderful workplace and environment. You can never eliminate all of it because we’re not always well.
Joyce: Wellness is dynamic. It really is dynamic. That’s what I teach my clients and my students all the time. Wellness is dynamic, he may get up and be meaning well, but you know what? You may or you may be unwell, but you might feel better later. So, wellness is dynamic, and the energy, the environment, the people around you, all of those will impact your well-being. It’s your job, Sylvain, to be aware of it. To know—You know what? I had this upsetting email this morning, and I know it didn’t sit well with me, so I need to pay attention to my interpersonal interactions. I know when I get news like this, I get emails like this, or messages like this, it sits with me and I need a way to express it, I need a way to ponder it, to process it. I also need to be careful how I talk and interact with others because I might inadvertently hurt someone’s feelings.
Of course, we teach you responsible communication. It means that if you cause harm, you have a responsibility to make amends. So, we’re teaching, yes, you’re human. You have belly buttons, and you’re not perfect, and you can make mistakes, but you have a responsibility to correct it and you have an opportunity to do that as well. Putting those together gives people tools to live their lives and to manage their workplace interactions a lot better.
Sylvain: Wonderful. I think we shouldn’t say anything more because that’s an amazing conclusion. Responsibilization of your own feelings, your own actions. I think that’s amazing, and that’s what you’re doing. You’re helping people help themselves and help each other. That’s wonderful. Everybody watching this, you’ve listened to Joyce, so you know there’s quality here. So, you should contact Interpersonal Wellness Services. The information is somewhere around the video or the blog. Also, I would encourage you to check out the Global Workplace Wellness Summit, which is in September 2022, if this is 2022 for whenever you’re watching this video. Check that out, register, join the team there and get your wellness on, I think, right?
Joyce: Yes, absolutely. We’ll be sharing more ways for organizations to get the Wellness Competencies into their organization, have conversations, redefining wellness at work. Every year, we do the Global Workplace Wellness Summit, and it’s an opportunity to delve into that conversation, especially in a time like now. So, we’re just coming through the global pandemic, it has changed the workforce. We have to redefine wellness, and we have to come up with and start looking at those competencies and how they help us. Because if we have had the mass resignation, and then the studies show that people are leaving work, not because of the pay, but because of the experience. Well, how do we experience each other interpersonally.
Sylvain: Excellent. Well, thank you so much for being in the Spotlight, Joyce. It has been a wonderful pleasure.
Joyce: My pleasure. Thank you for having me. Have a wonderful rest of your day.
Sylvain: Thank you.
About Joyce Odidison – www.interpersonalwellness.com
Joyce Odidison is a Conflict Analyst, Workplace Wellness Expert, certified Coach, Keynote Speaker, thought leader and pioneer of the Interpersonal Wellness Competency Mindset Teaching. Joyce has been the President & CEO of Interpersonal Wellness Services Inc. for over two decades. She is the author of 6 books, Founder and Training Director of Coach Velocity School of Coaching, and Host of the annual Global Workplace Wellness Summit. Joyce is host of What’s Happening at Work podcast, and publisher of Faces of Workplace Wellness Magazine. Joyce is passionate about inclusive wellness at work to foster relational well-being, and psychological safety. Joyce is a C-Suite level workplace wellness expert and corporate trainer, who works with organization in stressful times to foster a culture of inclusive wellness, relational well-being, and psychological safety. She enjoys creating innovative tools to foster relational well-being so leaders and employees can work, live, and play well. Joyce is a frequent TV guest expert who has been featured in print and online magazines around the world. She can be reached at: phone 1 877 999-9591
About CykoMetrix – www.CykoMetrix.com
CykoMetrix is a leading edge combinatorial psychometric and human data analytics company that brings the employee assessment industry to the cloud, with instant assessments, in-depth analysis, trait measurements, and team-based reporting features that simplify informed decision-making around recruiting, training, and managing today’s modern workplace.