Becoming a Chief Energy Officer (The New Kind of CEO)

Health and wellness aren’t just topics for the individual – they are significant economic drivers, for both your organisation, and the world as a whole.

My raison d’être is to reduce the burden on the global economy – it’s why I do what I do. In the UK, where I’m based, that means reducing the burden on the NHS by leveraging the impact and influence that business leaders have not only on themselves, but on their employees. They can help those employees to make better lifestyle choices, and make the workplace a place for exceptional purpose, productivity and passion.

Every leader and every change-maker should own the title of CEO. For me, that means chief energy officer. 

If you can mobilise energy on demand, that’s a wonderful quality to have. Even if you’ve worked a 12-hour day and you are exhausted, if you have the ability to harness and mobilise energy as you walk through your front door and go into the other part of your life, or meet your loved ones, and live a full balanced, holistic life, that’s surely a wonderful asset.

So, rather than return on investment, I prefer to look at return on energy, and I use my expertise to work with leaders and business leaders – because businesses are the backbone of economies, and they can make a huge difference to the overall wellbeing not just of employees, but communities and nations too.

If I can reach one leader who has a team of 10, or 100 or 1000, we can create huge shifts. The workplace is one of the leading causes for stress and mental health issues, and the rise that we’re seeing in diabetes, heart disease, and hypertension. It’s a place where many of us spend a third, or more of our lives.

So imagine we could go to work and actually leave happier and healthier? 

Some businesses are getting that right, so we know it’s possible. As change-makers, I feel we have a responsibility to let our clients know that they can really create the shift. We can’t treat people as just people: human capital is any business’s greatest asset.

But not nearly enough businesses look at their people as an asset; even less take their employees’ wellness seriously. They say it, and then they do a tick-box exercises and say, “Oh yes, we give fruit out on a Friday,” but there’s no integrated wellbeing programme and follow-through, or proper interventions that become embedded as part of the culture.

But when organisations do take this seriously, and do it well, we see a great return. 

For every pound that is spent, generally you’ll get a minimum of three back. Sometimes as much as 9:1 back.

But there just aren’t enough businesses doing it fast enough. If we look at the pace of change, and where technology is taking us, it appears that in the UK the workforce is on a downward curve in terms of productivity, performance, wellbeing, and resilience. It’s going to take a dramatic shift and quite a quick one, if we really want to stop this tide.

I recently heard an economist present at a business leader conference, who said that of the four drivers towards global economic depression, the one that we can do something about is healthcare costs. The others – demographics, inflation and national debt – we can’t do much about, but health costs, we can. 

So you can help your employees to be healthier and make better choices, at least at work.

Often what I’ve seen when I’ve worked with teams, especially if the learning is done in a blended fun way that is practical, people take it from the workplace into their homes. As a leader you’re not only influencing your workspace, you’re influencing the families of the people who work there, and then, potentially, the families and friends of the families. We can have this great collective manifestation of good health and what that means as vital communities.

This is an opportunity for companies to be responsible corporate citizens and have an impact on broader society, through a fairly simple process – instituting a good wellness programme at their organisations. And if that’s not enough motivation, it has a huge positive impact on productivity, as well as on the bottom line. I can’t think of a single reason why companies in this day and age should not be prioritising their employees’ wellness.



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