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  • Joy Meikle

How HEART-Healthy Is Your Workplace?

Workplace challenges like low employee satisfaction and high turnover can feel like a stubborn patch of weeds that keep cropping up despite your hardest efforts to clear them. As a leader in the workplace, it may feel as though you are forever in search of ways to fix those persistent workplace challenges. Like any gardener knows, in order to find the most effective and sustainable solutions to your troubles, you must go to the root.


I recently chatted with Marissa Badgley, founder of Reloveution, about their signature HEART Audit and Pulse Check, a proprietary institutional assessment that assesses five main values to properly diagnose the root of common workplace challenges. The Audit reflects Marissa’s commitment to data-driven cultures that measure what truly matters, which is human beings’ lived experiences at work. We discussed the methodology and goals of the HEART Audit and how Reloveution works with companies, organizations, and schools to identify solutions that ultimately create more healthy and productive work environments for all.


The exchange has been edited for length and clarity.


Hi Marissa! Can you please introduce yourself and what you do?


My name is Marisa Badgley and I am the founder of Reloveution. I’m on a mission to transform the world of work through the power of compassion, community, and humanity.


Reloveution provides professional development and consulting services to help companies, organizations, and schools get to the heart of what matters most and disrupt the harmful mindsets and behaviors that make employees and workplaces unhappy and disengaged.


80% of Americans are unhappy and dissatisfied at work, and it’s been that way for decades. Only 3 out of 10 people are engaged in their work. These employee engagement stats have stayed stagnant for 30 years despite tons of research and investment. This has huge ramifications on productivity and profit, as well as the ways in which we relate to each other. I believe that these numbers haven’t shifted because we are not measuring the right things and intervening at the right places.


Which is why you decided to create the HEART Audit! What was your vision when you created this unique institutional assessment? Had you ever seen an assessment like this before?


The HEART Audit was built out of a real desire to capture data around indicators that we often don’t measure because they are hard to measure.


Lots of tools already exist that focus on employee engagement, as well as diversity, equity, and inclusion, and all of that shows up in the HEART Audit. However, in our work at Reloveution, we try to take a step beyond that and really think about the root causes of employee dissatisfaction and disengagement. For us, that's a lack of HEART. HEART stands for Humanity, Empathy, Authenticity, Relationships, and Trust. These constructs are often relatively subjective, meaning people translate them differently. However, we know that there are research-aligned practices that fall into each of those buckets that are really important to creating work environments where people can thrive as their most authentic selves. Our audit paints a picture of an organization’s strengths and areas for growth as it relates to HEART.


After completing an institution-wide survey, as well as focus groups and interviews, we provide a report card that summarizes our findings and offer concrete recommendations on how to improve and deepen the values of HEART in the workplace.


In witnessing the immense struggle and chaos of 2020, have you come to understand any of the HEART values as particularly pressing and important for workplaces to embrace now?


I think that we are living in a moment of intense division and it only threatens to become more divisive in the coming months. So while all of these values are really important, the ones I am seeing most sacrificed at this point are related to empathy, relationships, and trust.


In particular, I think trust is something that we don’t really have integrated into our society right now because we are so divided, and people from different social groups just don’t trust each other. A lot of times bias creeps in there. For example, I see on my social media a lot of talk about how Republicans are terrible people or Democrats are terrible people, and there’s this inherent lack of trust there. I see so many people attacking other people right now, when really, in order to build trust and relationships, we need to be attacking the behaviors of people and tackling the systems that those behaviors are a part of.


We know what it feels like in our gut to trust somebody or not, but we often don’t have language to really describe why we do or do not trust someone. I think it’s important to remember that trust is not just a subjective concept. There are pieces of it that are actually quite objective. For somebody to be trustworthy, they need to be credible and know what they’re talking about. They need to be reliable and do what they say they’re going to do, and in the way they say they’re going to do it. There also needs to be the existence of real relationships, where we not only know people for what they do, but also for who they are. All of those pieces are hinged on the concept that it’s not about us, it’s about the stewarding of community. If we are going into our relationships or our work where our self-orientation is too strong, it makes us untrustworthy.


I can imagine that an organization might take this audit and receive the feedback and have an “Aha!” moment around “This is why there’s so much tension in the company” or “This is why productivity isn’t as high as we would want it to be,” because they might not have thought to look at things like trust. That’s a very particular framework.


I think data really helps us in that way because it allows us to see things in more concrete terms that correlate to things that matter to us. But let me just say that the audit isn’t only about the hard numbers. It’s also about telling people’s stories, which we do by interviewing people and doing focus groups and collecting the qualitative data to go along with the numbers.


So yes, we facilitate lots of aha moments, and we also push back against the defensiveness that’s totally human and natural. There might be a sense amongst leaders of, “Well, people don’t really know what they want.” It’s Reloveution’s job to show them that all human beings have the same set of needs, and we can help leaders meet those needs better so that employees stick around longer.


The values of HEART are such radical things to be talking about in workplaces, and it really does require Revolution to support leaders on their journey of making radical changes. A lot of times, when leaders see that people are unhappy or disengaged, they wind up falling back on their tried and true methods that they’ve been trying for the past 50 years. But we are living in really different times now that call for different measures and different responses.


Well, leadership teams can choose to work with Reloveution to implement the recommendations that come out of your data analysis, right? Tell us about some of the human-centered ways that you work with leaders to transform their workplaces.


Yes, they can. Reloveution takes a truly customized approach with every organization we work with. Also, while we do make recommendations around next steps, we really let the people within the organization guide where they want to go and what they want to do in order to ensure buy-in. There are three levels that we engage at, and all three are important for truly ‘reloveutionizing’ a workplace. At the base level are the micro practices, or the individual behaviors of people. Here, Reloveution offers training and listening sessions, as well as team-building activities and strategy sessions. At the next level, which is the mezzo level, we engage with the behaviors of leadership as a whole. At this level, we provide support to people who have the most influence and power in typical hierarchical organizations, working with them to disrupt harmful mindsets and helping them think intentionally about how they can best support themselves and their employees. The last level is the macro level, in which we assist leaders in making structural changes around policies and procedures, so that the systems that are in place can sustainably nurture the human beings who make our work possible.


Sometimes we have to do some lower level interventions for people to get to the place where they are ready to do the bigger, deeper work, and that’s okay with us. We want to work with you wherever you are and go through this growth process with you over time.


If someone wanted to take advantage of your services right now, what should they do?


I encourage you to book a completely FREE connection call with me. You can do that at bit.ly/reloveutionconsultation. You can also visit our website at www.truereloveution.com and follow us on social media! We are on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Linkedin.


We are only as strong as our community, so we invite you to join our community and take advantage of the programs we have coming up.


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