How Many Downward Facing Dogs Does it Take to Fix a Toxic Work Culture?

management policy Jun 05, 2023

By Shanna B. Tiayon


How many downward facing dogs does it take to fix a toxic work culture?

How many liters of water does an employee have to drink to increase psychological safety in their department?

How many steps must an employee walk to be recognized for their contributions?

When you read these questions they sound silly, right? But no more silly than what’s common practice in many organizations – wellness washing.

I recently learned the term “wellness washing” – the promotion of corporate wellness activities like yoga, water challenges and mental health classes without organizational investment in addressing workplace factors that lead to poor employee mental (and sometimes physical) health. The term articulates perfectly the contradiction of corporate wellness programs that place the onus for change and improvement exclusively on employees, without corporate level introspection and commitment to address key structural issues....

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Is Your In-Office Workday Becoming Mechanical?

management Apr 04, 2023

Press play on the video blog to explore if your organization may need a new game plan for its hybrid work arrangement. 

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Psychological Safety is Not a Grassroots Movement

management Mar 06, 2023

By Shanna B. Tiayon


Although popular, as of late, the term psychological safety is a nebulous one. Few organizations understand what it is or how to achieve it. At Wellbeing Works, borrowing from academic research and our own research findings over the past several years, we define psychological safety as:  An employee’s capacity to show up authentically, make mistakes, push back and ask for support without fear of negative consequences.

One thing we know for sure is that psychological safety is not a grassroots movement, whereby those in the lower levels of the organizational structure rise up, and create a psychologically safe work environment. Sounds great for a movie, but not a reflection of reality.  Sure, all employees have a part to play in contributing to psychologically safety, but leadership is what creates and maintains it.

Psychological safety is a top down process, meaning it begins with and is reinforced by leadership. And when I say top down, I...

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Your Organization May Be Focused on the Wrong Things to Boost Employee Wellbeing

management Feb 06, 2023

By Shanna B. Tiayon


At Wellbeing Works, we work exclusively in the business of employee wellbeing, partnering with clients across industries to create better workplaces through: employee wellbeing data and metrics, strategy development and training. Employee wellbeing impacts key employee behaviors like retention (likelihood to stay at the organization in the next 2-years), talent attraction (likelihood to recommend the organization) and self-advocacy (asking for what you need to be successful in your job).   But employers interested in improving employee wellbeing may be focused on the wrong things. Below are a few trends and recommendations we’ve noticed from our research and work with clients.

Hire for Management Skills and Train Your Management Pipeline:  The employee-manager relationship is central to employee wellbeing. You’re probably thinking, “no surprises here”, but do you know the full extent to which this is true? Our...

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Four Ways We Can Be Sensitive to Trauma at Work

management Oct 13, 2021

By Shanna B. Tiayon

Before the pandemic, a client hired my employee consultancy firm, Wellbeing Works, to support a team shaken by the abrupt firing of a key member.

In the run up to the firing, we discovered, the team member’s performance had dropped rapidly and he developed tense relationships with colleagues. Though the organization tried a performance improvement plan before termination, we found out that it never addressed the root trouble with the employee‘s performance: depression and anxiety arising from a problem in his personal life.

Nobody in the organization thought to offer this employee support, Employee Assistance Program information, or grace. Instead, his behavior was viewed based only on impact to work output.

More frequently, our work connects us with clients who want to proactively support their employees. For example, a client in the non-profit sector was about to undergo a large reduction in staff due to funding issues (just before the pandemic hit)...

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At Will Status is Not a Panacea: Instead Focus on Managing for Success

management Aug 22, 2021

By: Shanna B. Tiayon

DISCLAIMER: Before I start this post it’s important that I add the disclaimer that I am not a legal professional. Therefore, managers and organizations should seek the consultation of their in-house or external legal counsel for employment law advice.

What I can, however, offer as a Sociologist and Senior Human Resources professional is twofold: 1) my perspective on the confusion of some managers about what at-will status really means and 2) a suggestion of a more proactive management approach than focusing on at-will status.

At-will law does not condone all forms of treatment or dismissal of an employee.

Understanding At-Will Employment (The Cliffs Notes Version)

Let’s start with clarifying some of the confusion around at-will status. The barebones of at-will employment is that an employee can leave his or her job for any reason and without notice and an employer can likewise terminate an employee without cause or warning. However,...

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