It's been a challenging few years for HR. We dig into coping and thriving strategies with Samm Smeltzer. Samm Smeltzer is an HR Visionary and Healer. Her work has been devoted to employee engagement for over a decade, she believes engagement is a critical component of organizational culture that must be alive and well in all employees. However, the place where engagement begins is with and within an organization’s HR practitioner.
Samm is the founder of The HRart Center, a restorative and growth community for HR. Samm’s work has been recognized with multiple awards, two of them being 2020 York SHRM HR Community Partner of the Year and Penn State’s 2015 Outstanding Graduate Student in Training and Development.
Samm is also a published author of two books and an avid podcaster.
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I like the word energy because we know energy is real. It charges your phone and gives us fuel. You talk about that. From a scientific standpoint, it makes sense that you would have energy in your body. That's why you exercise and you eat, you're fueling yourself up, you're generating energy, and where is the lesson for us to care for it? And that's where I started to realize there was a massive gap.Kyle Roed:
This is the rebel HR Podcast, the podcast where we talk to HR innovators about all things people leadership. If you're looking for places to find about new ways to think about the world of work, this is the podcast for you. Please subscribe, favorite podcast listening platform today. And leave us a review. Rebel on HR rebels. Welcome back, rebel HR listeners really, really excited to welcome back to the rebel HR podcast, Sam smelter, you may remember Sam, we had her back way back in episode 35. Weird but effective HR. She is just an awesome, awesome person. And I invited her back to talk about all sorts of things related to the workplace. She has a book coming out in June of 2022, called workplace healers. And she has a podcast called the heart of it podcast. Welcome back to the show, Sam.Samm Smeltzer:
Thank you so much, Kyle, I'm so excited to be here. I loved our previous conversation and looking forward to continuing it today.Kyle Roed:
Absolutely. And I'm just I'm just extremely excited to reconnect. And it's been almost a year since we last spoke. And we were talking before I hit record, it's like, it's a lot has happened this year. But I also feel like it's still kind of feels the same. And so it'll be it'd just be great to kind of catch up and see where you're at. One of the things that really prompted this, this discussion came from our community members. And, you know, I've been been talking to quite a few of you. And you know, I love discussing different topics with our listeners and getting connected to the HR community. But there was a common theme that has kind of continued to come up. And that has been how do I manage all this stress? And how do I help my employees manage it? But then how do I personally work through all of the the kind of the darkness of HR and this and scared employees and the challenges of today? And it just, it seems like a lot of HR practitioners out there just feel a lot of weight. And so I want to talk about that a little bit. You know, I think, you know, we talked about this in our last episode a little bit, but I want to do a little bit of a deep dive into your approach on helping the workplace be more comfortable not only for employees, but also for HR professionals.Samm Smeltzer:
Yeah. And, you know, Kyle, I think you started the conversation just perfectly by saying that, you know, a year ago, you know, a year has passed, but we have kind of been treading water per se. And I think even when we had that initial conversation, we were chatting, and almost playfully like looking at tactics to kind of just navigate what we thought it was going to be, hopefully fingers crossed a short burst in our added workload. And so much so and I can tell you that even if I look at my clients, in the last week, I have people that I was working with, when we were recording the first time coming back, because it's just too heavy, and they can't handle it. And even the tools that we did to get them to be sustaining are just not enough anymore. And they're asking for further assistance. And you know, when we talk about stress management, I mean, like we didn't have that figured out before all these things happened. Like that was on all of our lists for corporate wellness, like, figure out a stress management program that's effective, so that we can have engaged and productive employees. And then we'll be part of that at some point as well. And now look at the climate. And I love that you said the dark side of HR. The whole world is just kind of in this dark, heavy place. And as HR professionals, we are holding the brunt of it, especially in the world of business. And I you know, I feel like I just think back to our first conversation and it was so fun and light and now it does it feels so heavy because this is the reality for so many people and it hurts me when people come into my office because I'm happy they feel safe here but the fact that like outside of there, they have to put up some massive armor because they're being responsible for so many things and look to for so many things that they like we just none of us planned for this.Kyle Roed:
Absolutely, yeah. And I think I think you use the right term. I you know, it's it's that heaviness. It's, you know, I mean, you turn on the news and you see all sorts of negative negativity You, you walk in your office, and there's somebody waiting by your door with like, Hey, I gotta tell you about this, this is really messed up, you know. And I mean that, you know, we deal with that so much in our, in our day to day. And I think one of the biggest challenges that, you know, I really struggled with, especially earlier in my career was, we take all that on, right. And I think most of us, most of us in HR get into it, because we want to help, right? We kind of come from that service mindset where we want to help people and in general, most of us like people, I mean, if you've been in HR long enough, maybe, maybe your thoughts have shifted, but, and I and I kid, but all that, you know, kind of all that negativity, if you just kind of if you just keep it in, and you don't have some sort of way to deal with that. And, and compartmentalize that or, or, you know, you know, put those types of interactions into perspective. It's just, it just sucks. It can be really hard.Samm Smeltzer:
Yeah. Yeah. And, you know, one of the things that, and forgive me, I won't completely retell this story, because I think I did mention it on the first episode. But, you know, my pathway started with the fact that I wanted to figure out employee engagement, starting with myself, because I found myself always routinely ending up in this place where I couldn't be of ultimate service, I couldn't help the people that I was all inspired to do, I realized that drive didn't last for an eternity. And I was terrified of that natural evolution where we see what do you talk about, jokingly, but we all know, you've been in there long enough. And all sudden, your opinion is just a little more pessimistic. And it just slowly gets to a point, and then you retire kind of thing and the HR. And when I was on that path, it led me to Eastern modalities. So for the last three, four years, I've been studying and doing certificates in something called medical Qigong, which sounds really woowoo. It's just a branch of traditional Chinese medicine. But what fascinated me about this and in relation to the work that we do as HR practitioners is that it focuses on something called the energetic body, it focuses on the fact that we're more than just blood and skin and bones. And we're also more than just the soul that's going to go to whatever your belief is an afterlife, that there is something that makes you Kyle, you and me, Sam, and why there's connection and why there's dynamic and why there are people that are a cultural fit, and not it gave a tangible definition to those things by defining energy and the dynamics of my energy interacting with your energy. And that's why we have conflict. And that's why we have team building. And that's why all these things that we've been doing, it gave an actual physical context to it that I could describe. Now, what I discovered while doing this work is that HR practitioners, because we care for people so much, we're technically in the healing capacity, but we don't classify it that way, is that we're not trained with some of the things that doctors get, even massage therapists get where they set boundaries with people so that they don't take on the stuff of their patients or their clients. As HR, we pretty much immerse ourselves in everybody else's stuff, whether that's your boss's stuff, whether that is an employee going through a horrible kind of health crisis. And we've done that, since the beginning of our profession, now magnified by the current climate that we're in. And so what fascinates me is that before any of this happened, so before this heaviness that we're referencing, Kyle, we already were caring so much as HR practitioners, and that's why we were really relying on this short burst of crisis time. Because I think we all kind of intuitively knew, we're not going to be able to survive this in the long haul with the current workload that we already had. And so just trying to put into context, exactly what the situation is, when you're experiencing and feeling that way. It's completely justified. Because even though I, you know, I like the word energy, because we know energy is real. It charges your phone, it gives us fuel. You know, we talk about that, from a scientific standpoint, it makes sense that you would have energy in your body, that's why you exercise and you eat, you're fueling yourself up, you're generating energy, and where is the lesson for us to care for it? And that's where I started to realize there was a massive gap.Kyle Roed:
I think it's, that's it's a really powerful story. And I appreciate you sharing it again, because, you know, one of the things I had, you know, a little bit of an aha moment here a few months ago, and I've I'm so lucky. I mean, this is just the best job ever. I get to talk to all sorts of super smart people who are experts in their field and have studied a topic and you know, have put their truth on paper and you know, in or have done amazing things in their career. And but but one of the things that I've continued to hear is that, you know, what we would consider woowoo. Like a, like a mindfulness practice, for those who are extremely accomplished seems to be kind of a common thread that there is there some methodology to manage the big ideas and the big stressors and the the healthy boundaries. And when do I say yes? And when do I say no. And that seemed to be a common thread. And I think that the other comment that I would make on that is, you know, to be honest, when you mentioned that, when we spoke the first time, I'm like, Okay, this is woowoo, right, like, oh, this, what is, you know, Qigong, I don't know what this is, it sounds sounds like something that, you know, that it's very, like mysticism and doesn't make any sense. But, you know, what I had to do as we were having the conversation, and I continue to have to do is I also have to realize that that is an internal bias that I have against that type of practice. And that bias comes from the context of where I was raised, you know, I'm raised in the Midwest and rural Iowa, right, like, there weren't there. Qigong was not something that was taught at Sunday school, right, you know, like, like, but that's a bias that I have to kind of check in. And, you know, if we are, you know, working towards a more inclusive and welcoming and, you know, collaborative society, then, you know, I do need to question some of those internal biases I had. And, and I think that's, that's something that, you know, I would encourage everybody that's listening to this, to be thinking about that, as opposed to maybe hearing something you don't understand or hearing something about Eastern medicine and thinking this sounds hokey, actually, take a step back and realize, you know, what, this has been practiced for 1000s of years. Maybe there's something to this?Samm Smeltzer:
Yeah. Well, I think you know, and I said this, before we hit the record button, you know, me going through these programs, I'm literally a fish out of water. Like, I don't match the mold of who's going through these certification programs, who are nurses and massage therapists and acupuncturist. I'm the only HR person who's been in those classes to date. I'm the only one with a business background to date. And I also was very skeptic. I'm the one in class when they talk about drinking something weird or doing some kind of weird cleanse. I'm like, You guys actually do that to yourself, like, and I remember there was one where they were talking about coffee enemas, which maybe Google bless you, but when they were talking about the concoction for this enema, but nobody's talking about the actual process of an enema, and I just thought that was so backwards, because I'm like, it's almost like there's an assumption that everybody in this room is okay with giving themselves. And I'm like, That's not okay, that's not real. And they saw my face and thought, oh, yeah, we got to bring it down a couple levels. So, you know, to your point, Kyle, I was right there, everybody has been, and I've basically been proven wrong time and time again, not on the enema thing that's far for me, I'll just put that out there. That's too far for me. But you know, with these basic kind of exercises, whether they're meditation or doing stances, or these postures or feeling energy, you know, I went with it, and then my life literally transformed. And I couldn't argue with it anymore. And then I've been working with people now for the last five years, doing little bits and pieces of this and I'm watching them turn into practitioners that I've never seen before being able to navigate things in organizations that I know would cause me to have a mental breakdown. 10 years ago. Yeah.Kyle Roed:
So first of all, you know, if I had like a bell or a siren to ring that would be you know, that's the first time somebody mentioned coffee enema on the podcast. So congratulations, Sam. You just did it. I'm gonna send you a t shirt. It's all good. It's awesome.Samm Smeltzer:
So that will be the clip thatKyle Roed:
goes viral. Well, you know what, you never know what goes viral. But that that one, you know, I I'm not there. I'm not there I am. I'm confronting my biases. I am not doing that.Samm Smeltzer:
I'm not very there. So I like to put that on the spectrum of where I am on the Whoo. So before everyone goes instantly one way, I'm not that the coffee enemas. But I sat in class and learned aboutKyle Roed:
it. That is not what the heart of it podcast is about. Just so everybody knows. You know, the book doesn't go into that. But you know, but I think I think the, the heart of what you were just saying, no pun intended was that it's different for everybody. Right? So it's like you don't have to, like jump in and, you know, dive into the deep end or right, like some of these tactics really helps. So I'll give you an example. So when we spoke, you, you gave us a visualization exercise. And I don't know if you remember, I don't I don't know if you remember it specifically or not, but it was about it was about perceiving yourself, when you're entering into kind of a negative situation and kind of building a protective barrier around yourself. And then having that stuff kind of bounce off of that barrier, right, like getting centered, and then not letting not absorbing, you know, that type of energy. And, you know, I took that kind of that visualization, and I'm, you know, I, I've tried it a couple times, and it worked. And it was, and what I found is, it didn't just work from the standpoint of me, like, just, you know, not feeling yucky. After a negative conversation. It allowed me to be more objective in my response, which, you know, is and I and, and, as that happened, that was kind of that light ball for me, like, Oh, this is going to help me be better. Right? And, and oh, by the way, this also helps me when I come home, because I'm a better dad, and a better husband, because I'm not keeping all this stuff inside. And I feel like I'm being more objective and authentic as people are bringing challenges to me. And I think, you know, whether you you meant for this to be the result or not, but I think it was that boundaries that you talked about, right? Yeah, it was like it was like intentionally setting a boundary, almost an energetic boundary for these types of situations. So So I think my question there in that story is, so why does that work?Samm Smeltzer:
Yeah. So I mean, building off kind of what we're talking about of current state, without doing something like that, how we function as HR practitioners is think of yourself as a gigantic mobile charging station. So as you're sitting in your office, or you're moving around the workspace, people just run up to you, and they're just plugging in, and then they're downloading whatever they need. And you're just like, okay, yeah, we'll take care of that. So we talk about, you know, putting out fires, and you're just navigating that on a regular basis. What is happening in that exchange is they're able to take from you, as well as give you without you having any say how much you're actually taking on. When you bubble up, or we say armor up? And you create this barrier, which is Yeah, it's a it's a woowoo boundary, it's giving an actual context and definition to a boundary, you get to say, I don't need you to plug into me, I can hear what you're saying. And I can answer that question objectively. And then I don't have to exert as much energy because we know there are always problems that we don't need to know everything about it. Or I don't have to be in there with you emotionally, then you can have someone let's say that you have an employee who loses a loved one to COVID become in you know, they've been off, you know, they seem emotionally off at work, you bring them in, because you want to console them, you have the right to say, here, I'm giving you an outlet, you're going to be able to plug in because I'm going to be in this space with you. But then you're consciously controlling how much they're sucking from you, rather than you're saying, I'm going to try to take all of your grief and carry it for you so that you can be okay and go back to work, which I think we think we can do that. But you can't take somebody's anger and grief wholeheartedly. All you do is add it to yourself. And then you go home and you're like, Oh, I'm so sad because the world is just this awful place. Or I'm so angry because then you're taking it out on your, your wife, your kids, and I know that I've done it. And so really, why it works is because you're training yourself to say I'm an energetic being, I only got so much energy every single day. And now I'm going to control how much I'm going to give and take and how much I'm going to preserve for the people who I love the most at home. Because I hope that's usually the case. If you don't love those people in the most at home that you're going home to maybe reevaluate your priorities.Kyle Roed:
That's another podcast probably Yeah. This episode is brought to you by namely, the role of HR has changed drastically over the last couple of years. With remote work on the rise, constantly changing compliance requirements, and a historically competitive talent market. Making sure your team is supported in their work and community is more crucial than ever. That's why you need namely, the all in one HR solution that offers everything you need to set you up for success along with dedicated support, giving you all the help you need to help your team namely helps you easily adapt to the ever changing workplace and maintain a great employee experience. Whether you have 100 or 1000 employees with onboarding, performance management and intuitive Benefits Enrollment all in one connected and modern platform plus, namely can streamline your payroll time tracking and vacation requests. So you can be everyone's favorite HR leader, no matter how your company grows, companies are built on people don't let either fail, get the support you need, and learn more about making the switch to namely today by going to namely.com. Don't wait, that's namely.com revelon? Absolutely, you know, I think that's a really, that's a really interesting visual. And I haven't I haven't really thought about it that way. But you know, in that context, then, you know, it almost to me, I would think the next logical leap is, well, you only have so much charge to give, right? So is. So, you know, if you're depleting your energy, then how do you, I guess, how do you how do you kind of balance that, you know, that give and take as, as the days and weeks and months roll on?Samm Smeltzer:
So you said one of the keywords in there, it is all about balance. So when we're talking about, you know, the theme through all of this is that, you know, the way we function professionally is severely out of balance. And that's not going to be fixed overnight, like I can make the argument that right now is the prime time for you to look at every job structure that you have within your organization. And really question, do they physically have to be in the space? Do they have to physically work that amount of hours? Does their schedule have to look like that, you know, reevaluate PTO benefits, all that kind of stuff to really think about? How can I bring more balance. And when we think about balance, it is the old school, I don't know if you remember this, Kyle, but this is like what I grew up with the old yin and yang, like friendship bracelets when I was back in grade school, but aside in the black side, and sometimes your mood rings, and you know that so these balance symbols have been around for a long time. But that's what we're talking about is the yin and the yang, and the Yang is this masculine active energy, whereas the Yin is a feminine, dark, reflective energy, it is restorative, when we have too much of one or the other, we can't function well. So think about when we were on lockdown, those who could not go to work and have people interaction, when they started to get stir crazy too much again, and energy, they were begging for your energy. Now, if we think about our current professional environment, heavily young, like that's how we function in work here, in corporate America, we push it as fast and as hard as possible, there's not a lot of room for Yin. So my first thing to you is to look for ways to balance, this can be as simple as lunch is lunch, it is nourishing myself. And to make it a yin activity, I'm going to number one, eat something that's not going to cause my digestive system to have to work really hard to process it. And number two, actually shut off all my electronics go someplace, if it's ideal is weather permitting outside, away from the work environment, and really take that 2030 minutes. I you know, when I was in my classes, he condoned a two hour lunch, which I thought was ridiculous, but ended up being one of the best practices that we got introduced to, and that literally was an hour for eating, and then an hour for digesting and napping. So I thought, What in the world is he talking about? But literally, we had nap time and my Qigong classes. And so thinking about where can I incorporate more of this Yin this reflective practice, whether that's going to a meeting, and then pulling out your pad of paper, and reflecting and brainstorming on all the ideas that you had, or insights that you caught on reflective practice as a form of Yin. But when you're sitting there doing like payroll tasks, safety, compliance, you know, all those are young, active activities. And so one of the things I would, you know, challenge you to do is think about what's young, what's in in my place? And what are the percentages? And how can I try to bring them back so that they're 5050? You're not going to get there? Because that's going to take a while, but how can I start increasing that so that I have more balance? And if I can't do to my work day, that's when you reevaluate what happens when you do go home? What does that practice look like? Because if you work all day, and you're heavy young for 910 hours, and then you're going to the gym and killing yourself for 90 minutes, so I'm not talking about getting on a treadmill and zoning out. I'm talking about you're in there and you're like I hate this and this is awful, and just more and more and more exhausted, you're just more young on top of young so you're just depleting more energy, it's not causing any rebalancing to occur. So the first step is balancing. The second thing I will tell you and Qi Gong is one of the few modalities that teaches this is that there is a way to fill up more energy and add to your reserves. Which is why Qigong is getting some more attention nowadays, because you can actually, like recharge some backup batteries that you can pull from during the days when things are really stressful or ideally in a climate of what we're trying to navigate right now. And so that's when they talk about cultivation practices, which is a lot of the work that I do. And that's working with people in the business environment, figuring out what that practice looks like not like, you know, you're stopping in the middle of the day and doing some kind of weird karate chop movement. But there is like modern day cultivation practices that actually will give you extra energy that you can add, and then the kind of helps this whole kind of situation. So it's a very, very big, energetic equation, per se, I would say,Kyle Roed:
fascinating. You know, what's really interesting? And the Yes, I had a yin yang. necklace was super sweet. When I was like a junior in high school, and I kid you not, my parents, like, dropped off a box of junk that was in the attic the other day, and my daughter found the necklace, and now she's wearing the thing around. So it's, it is like continuing to. So yeah, I'm with you, I think, yeah, I know that. But what's really interesting, so I'm going back, and I'm rereading all these books that I read in in, in college, yes, I am a nerd. One of those books was built to last. And one of the visualizations that they use in that book is the yin and yang symbol. And it's this same thing and what they what they found in those organizations was that those organizations that stuck around, they had they they held, they're kind of their core purpose together, and they pursued progress, but they did all of those things in balance. And so I think it's, that's a really, it's, for me, it's kind of a really interesting that, you know, it's this isn't just about the individual, this is about the organization. And to your point on, like, you know, your work design and your job structures. Yeah, if if you don't have that balance, I mean, I guarantee you, everybody listening to this can think about the person that just burned themselves out, because they didn't have balance. Yeah, or the person that got let go, because they didn't, you don't have balance, either, because they were, you know, not as productive as they should have been, or weren't as focused on the goal. You know, I mean, I just think it's gotta be you kind of got to find the sweet spot, right?Samm Smeltzer:
Yeah. Well, and I would even say, I mean, I don't know, if you read the Simon cynics new book, The Infinite game. But he is touching on, he doesn't say it out loud quite yet. But talking about the structure of senior leadership, and what happens to organizations when a young driven leader like typically what would fill your chief operational officer gets elevated to a chief executive officer, which was really meant to be a visionary role. And so when you're seeing that, almost like heavy young starting to populate those roles, just because the way we function in those professional positions without that counter kind of development, for the end, what's happening to these organizations, and they're losing sight of their mission and their vision and their values, some of them are becoming stagnant, some of them are becoming unethical. And so it's interesting to look at this just from a greater perspective. And that's, that's why I love Chinese medicine. I mean, it talks about connecting us to the greater rhythms that surround us, which is nature and the planet, and the sun and the moon, you know, we have all these cycles. And if you don't think those impact us, the way they impact the weather, and the other natural elements, like you are living under a rock, like we are a natural element as well. And we're, we're not immune, we're not above nature.Kyle Roed:
Yeah. And to and to take it out of the hole, like the woowoo, you know, kind of that the space that maybe some people are like, Okay, this is a little far out there, Kyle, but, you know, at the end of the day, we are animals, and, you know, those, those natural elements impact all animals on this planet, period, you know, and it's what's the other thing kind of the other insight is we're talking here is I'm thinking about, you know, we're all talking about this great resignation. And, you know, everybody, you know, what is up with all these people who are reevaluating their lives, and it's almost like, you know, what, maybe they're just trying to find a little bit more balance, and maybe your organization needs to meet them where they're at, if you expect to actually hire these people and keep them employed. And, you know, it's just, it's, it's really interesting. It's really, you know, a fascinating principle that I think, you know, I think about in the context of HR, it's, you know, how do we, how do we foster that, you know, in our organization is there are there tactics or ways that we can take maybe this idea of balance and And, and help our employees you know, kind of kind of live up to that or, or, or seek out ways to help them do that.Samm Smeltzer:
Well, and I think, you know, we're we're talking about this, and I love that you're bringing me back into balance when things are a little too woowoo. Because at the end of the day, if you take anything from this conversation and just flat out, like, hit your CEO with it, he's gonna be like, or she, what are you talking about? Like, what were you listening to? And I think for me, and the way that I've gotten traction, because people ask, like, how do you have a docket full of clients, and this is all the work that you do, like how you magically have all these people that are into the loo. It is about embracing the small opportunities that are presented right now you have so many, so whether that's a vacancy with a job description that's posted, that's not getting filled because of the great resignation and people not wanting to work, you know, asked to take risk on that one job description. What can we do to make this a more balanced position for this individual, and more appealing, that's more appealing for other reasons, then I just am paying the most money. Because if you're going to play that game, we're all going to be bankrupt very quickly, if we're all trying to outdo the other person on the pay scale. Same thing with like benefits, like we've we're hearing it from a political standpoint, our benefits don't match what people get in other countries. So they're not taking care of them from a wellness perspective. You know, for the last three years, I've done HR conferences that are created by HR students, the top topics are their personal wellness in the workplace. And everyone's like, well, that's Fuli, like all these colleagues and say, That's Fuli. Why would we focus on that I'm like, this is your future workforce telling you that wellness is a top priority. So we've seen, and this is before pandemic, so we're seeing the rumblings of this. And if you try to tackle it all, you're going to just lose it. But if you tackle something small, so a leader who's having balance issues, challenge yourself to collaborate with them, how can they find more Yin, even if it starts with that one easy task about lunch? Because what happens is once they start to feel better, and act better, someone else says, What happened to John like John's, like a completely different person. He like smiles now when he comes into the office. And he's like, Well, all I do is I take this 90 minute lunch, and I go and sit at the park and I eat a salad or something like that. And, and you're like, that's all that you do. So that's something small whatever, we do something more. I mean, I don't think we have to institute hour long meditations at the beginning of every day to get everyone there. Although I will make the argument that if you gave me 10 minutes with Qigong exercises with your staff every day, I bet they would be more productive and more calm. But that's when we're on the other side of the woowoo scale. And when more people are doing coffee enemasKyle Roed:
brought it full circle. Sam, I love it. I love it. That's, that was that was masterful, that you've worked at it. Yeah. So okay, now we just got to work it in a third time. And then you know, I do think you know, it is really, it's really interesting. It's, it's, you know, it's like starting and ripple. Right. And it's, it's about being more mindful. And I feel like the things that you just recommended, like, Does anybody think it's a bad idea to rework a job description that ensures that the job is a realistic job preview, and make sure that that job is appropriate for the person you're hiring. And if it's like, asking somebody to do too much, then maybe we need a different job profile, right? Like, and that's part, that's our job, right, that we can impact that, like, what does this work design look like? What does this organizational design look like? Why does this leader have 65 direct employees, there's no way in the in the world that they're going to be an effective leader or have any time to do anything besides deal with employee you know, so it's like, okay, well, maybe we need to, like, we have those conversations and decisions all day long. And if you think just thinking about it, in a different context, can be pretty, pretty, pretty life changing, in my opinion, and I would say, you know, the, the, you know, you talk about having, you know, not doing an hour long meditation for your, for your team. But you do need to make a workspace allow for mindfulness in my opinion, you have to, you know, I know so we're going through, we're building a new building, which is wonderful and exciting and frustrating project same time, but what you know, a lot of dialogues been around quiet space. You know, like, how are we structuring this building so that there's enough quiet space and if you know if my only objective was to cram as many people into this building as possible, then we would not have that quiet space. But I have employees who need that time. And they need, they need to be able to leave their cubicle and go find some sort of respite throughout the day. So why would I not intentionally build a space for them? Right? You know, and, you know, and if we weren't thinking in those terms, we're going to, we're going to make the workspace a little bit less comfortable for some folks, right. And I would just say, like, from my standpoint, you know, 20 minutes minimum, before my day starts, for me, to have a mindfulness practice is a game changer. If I don't do it. I'm completely off my game the rest of the day. And I feel like I just operate from a point of firefighting. And so it's like, you know, whether you do it at your workplace or not, I would encourage, you know, everybody to have some sort of practice where you can have that, that space.Samm Smeltzer:
Well, and I, you know, you're in a perfect situation when you're designing a new building. But you're absolutely correct is walk through your office space and see doesn't embrace that opportunity to do that. I mean, if your conference rooms are sterile, and you can't wait to get out of there fast enough, are they really going to sit there and brainstorm and reflect on how they can be better at their work. And the other piece of this is, like, even lunch, like the building that my team works in, when we got here, we found the breaker on it was down in an unfinished basement. And the only reason we knew was the cabinet was filled with all of the stuff that you would have in an employee break room. And I was like, these employees had to sit in this cold, musty break room. So they never took their lunches. They never took any like they would eat other desks. And so could you imagine the opposite, if you have this beautiful, like large windows are outside garden space. I mean, they have a hospital, like right down the street, they have a walking path, that's two miles because they have the land for it, and encourage the community to come use it. But employees use that. And so you know, there's something about nature, I forget who it is, but there is a company out. And then this was meeting educated by some of my college students, which is probably why I'm not hip enough to know who it was specifically. But there are companies that are out west who make time for their employees to go surfing because they've seen the productivity increase when they get them outside. Oh, yeah. There you go. Thank you. Let's see, I'm not hit. There you go.Kyle Roed:
That's another nerd. That's a college book. You Vaughn shanaar The CEO wrote the book, Let my people go surfing. But yeah, that's, you know what, that just remind me, I got to reread that book.Samm Smeltzer:
So I mean, but I mean, like those things mean, thinking outside the box that's bringing more yen into the workplace. That's better than those. What are those biggest loser programs we used to do or make?Kyle Roed:
Me Alright, we're gonna go there, we're gonna go here. So I, wellness programs, like in their traditional format, drive me crazy. The whole, like, The Biggest Loser program was my least favorite thing to do. And I felt like, it's like we're turning this thing that's supposed to be healthy and fun and exciting into this, like, competition amongst like, the same 10 people that always do these challenges. And the other like, 300 people are like this stupid thing again.Samm Smeltzer:
very accurately recap that pile. We all right back there.Kyle Roed:
Feel it? Feel it right now? Yeah, let's do weigh in. Let's go. Let's go make everybody stand on a scale. Let's record that number. Because everybody loves that. And let's get employee engagement up anybody who's with me, right? Who in a room thought this is gonna be great.Samm Smeltzer:
What's even better is let's use the break room bulletin board to track and give everybody like a icon of some sort. So we can all see it.Kyle Roed:
And the best part is guess who is like the obligatory team captain HR. Right. So like all of us who were like, This is the stupidest thing ever. But corporates making me do this thing. Guess I get away in every week. Here you go, sir. Yeah, you feel great. I love this. But I'll give you a Fitbit. Yeah, here's a Fitbit. And and you know what, the winner gets an iPad, right? Or an iPod? It was an iPod at that point. Ah, good stuff. I don't we don't do that in my Yeah, we don't do that in my company. But I do. You know, I think I don't know what your opinion there is. But I think part of the issue with that type of an approach is it's, you know, wellness is so personal. And well being is so personal. And it's a whole lot more than how heavy are you?Samm Smeltzer:
Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. And I think that's, you know, what we're talking about here. I mean, now, I would love to be able to hop on and say here are the top five ways to make everything go away. It's not going to work like that. It's different for every One of us, even the way that I do Qigong is different than all of my peers in my program. So the way that we cultivate our energy is very different. Some of them do practice an hour a day, minds in short bursts throughout the day. You know, and even Kyle, you said after our last conversation, talking to other people, you've built a practice that works for you, and makes sense for you. And that's the only time that it's effective. If you try to pick up something, you might get a piece of a part that's meant to be your practice, and just recognize that don't think that once was to be the answer, and if you can't do it, that you're a failure, and it doesn't work for you. My biggest pet peeve is when people say, I can't do that I can't, I can't quiet my monkey mind. You, I'm just a very active person, what I hear is, you're a very young person, and you even need even more than ever.Kyle Roed:
So you just described me 100%. I mean, I said, and, you know, to get a little bit personal here. So I am a, you know, a workaholic, in many respects, especially during COVID quarantine, because that's just all I did is I just worked. I'm a triathlete. And so you know, more hard, hard exercise, push yourself as hard as you can push yourself as long as you can, until you your body breaks down. And I had absolutely no, no practice that allowed for any sort of mindfulness or Quietness or anything. Until a few months ago, after listening, all these smart people say, hey, you know, this is something you should think about. And I just downloaded an app for free and started listening to guided meditations. And I found that visualizing. For me, it's the kind of the chakra visualization. And for whatever reason, that works for me, you know, and I don't know, you know, I'm not like doing like crystal healing or anything like that. But for me, that just the just focusing my mind on that allows my mind to quiet down. And then, and then what's pretty cool is then it allows my mind to start to wander into things that are actually kind of the intent of what I want to focus on and think about things like my family, and, and kindness and, and, you know, and respect for others and the true person that I won't be right. And but it's, but like, if I can do it, anybody can do it, because I'm just like, monkey mind is like, that's like the definition of how my mind works. I mean, that's, that's just the way it is. So, I mean, I would encourage everybody to think about I mean, there's so much information out there. There's a million different apps, most of this stuff is free. You can you can get, you know, get a teacher, get somebody to help you. And with that in mind, Sam, I want to ask, How can our listeners connect with you? And learn more about your practice? And just and get a little bit more information on this topic?Samm Smeltzer:
Yeah, absolutely. So the best way to get a hold of me is to go to our website, which is the heart center.com. It's spelled H ar, ar t like HR Art Center. So my center is completely devoted to HR practitioners and helping them because that's how much how dedicated I am to this work. And just a couple things to plant seeds. I know the reason why you brought me on tile, and we have a program that's like an eight week disengagement detox program that's specially made for HR practitioners, to basically in eight weeks, feel like yourself again, and remove all the heaviness that's happening. We do that in group coaching. So it's also a great supportive community when you hear about that you're not alone with all of this. And then the other piece is if you're someone intrigued by Qigong, I know it sounds really woowoo. And my dad would say that he thinks his whole thing is a gigantic scam, as I tell you this, so that you know what I Yeah. But we do distance healing as well. So that means that wherever you are, I can actually connect with you on Zoom, and do the energy protocols to care for your energy, which is removing things that doesn't serve it, give you more energy and also make you more balanced. And I am a skeptic myself, and anytime somebody is willing to take a chance on me. Let's say that there's the take a chance on me kind of guarantee I'm not going to charge you if you feel like you just got duped, so. But yeah, check it out on the website. There's tons of resources there. And then obviously on my podcast, the heart of it podcast. It's me and a bunch of other great guests to hop on. We talk about making woowoo more normal, but also a lot of things that we talked about today. How should we be reevaluating the way that we're doing work in this great opportunity that we're being given?Kyle Roed:
Absolutely. And, you know, I would want to make sure I also mentioned that the book is coming out it's called workplace healers. In June of 2022, so go out there, get a pre order. Check it out, Sam, this has just been a wonderful conversation. I just want to thank you for doing the work and helping to make this this type of practice a little bit more mainstream. And help some people that really need this type of support. Get connected to it. So thank you so much for all the work you're doing.Samm Smeltzer:
Thank you so much, Kyle. And then I expect next year we'll do this again. And I'll give the tutorial one coffee enemas.Kyle Roed:
Okay, we did it three times. We mentioned it three times. Hopefully that doesn't get us banned from the podcast plan. I think we're probably okay. Sam, it's been a pleasure. Thank you so much. We'll talk soon. Thanks, Kyle. Thanks. All right. That does it for the rebel HR podcast. Big thank you to our guests. Follow us on Facebook at rebel HR podcast, Twitter, at rebel HR guy, or see our website at rebel human resources.com. The views and opinions expressed by rebel HR podcast are those the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any of the organizations that we represent. No animals were harmed during the filming of this podcast. Maybe