Addressing Burnout: Connecting Work, Life and Self-Care

Hosted by

Steve Boese

Co-Founder of H3 HR Advisors and Program Chair, HR Technology Conference

Trish Steed

CEO and Principal Analyst, H3 HR Advisors

About this episode

555 – Addressing Burnout: Connecting Work, Life and Self-Care

Hosts: Steve Boese, Trish McFarlane

Guest: Josh Schwede, CEO & Co-Founder, Spotlyfe

This episode of the HR Happy Hour is sponsored by Paychex, one of the leading providers of HR, payroll, retirement, and insurance solutions for businesses of all sizes. As you reevaluate your benefits offerings this fall, don’t overlook the advantage of having the right 401(k) plan. Havnig the right plan not only can help with employee retention, but can truly serve as a talent magnet for your business. Discover how offering a 401(k) plan can play a vital role in keeping your business competitive, and how you can find the plan for you and your employees. Visit download Paychex’s free guide to 401(k) planning, today. 

This week, we met with Josh Schwede from Spotlyfe, to talk about employee burnout and how to put an end to it.

–  Breaking the culture of burnout in an organization

Research report on ending the hustle culture in the workplace

– Connecting work, life, and self-care

– New challenges of being an HR leader today


Visit Spotlyfe today to learn more!

Thank you for joining the show today!  Remember to subscribe wherever you get your podcasts!

Transcription follows:

Announcer 0:25
Welcome to At Work in America sponsored by Paychex. We welcome a wide and exceptionally impressive array of guests, business leaders, HR leaders, academics, practitioners, consultants and authors to talk about the most timely, relevant and challenging issues that are influencing the workplace today. At Work in America digs in behind the headlines and trends to the stories of real people making a difference in the world of work. And now here are your hosts Steve Boese and Trish McFarlane Steed.

Steve 0:58
Welcome to the At Work in America show. We have a great show today. But first Trish, I must say hi to you, Trish, how are you? And more importantly, how are you feeling?

Trish 1:08
You know, thank you for asking. I’m feeling better. I’m on day five of bronchitis. So it’s, it’s outstanding.

Steve 1:15
All right, well, day five, hopefully better than day four. Hopefully you’ll get through the next hour or so because we do have a great show. Longtime friend of the show friend of ours industry, just legend and doing some really cool new things. Josh Schwede is with us from Spotlyfe. Before we welcome him and talk to him about what’s going on a Spotlyfe and there’s a lot of exciting things. We do Trish need to thank our friends and show sponsors our friends at Paychex. This episode is sponsored by Paychex, one of the leading providers of HR, payroll, retirement and insurance solutions for businesses of all sizes. As you reevaluate your benefits offerings this fall, don’t overlook the advantage of having the right 401 K plan. Having the right plan not only can help with employee retention, but can truly serve as a talent magnet for your business. Discover how offering the 401 K plan can play a vital role in helping your business stay competitive, and how you can find the right plan for you and your employees. You can visit That’s for At Work in America and download Paychex free guide to 401 K planning today. That’s and thanks to our friends at Paychex.

Steve 2:22
I’m super excited about this show. And this topic because it’s a very important one. And kind of as we’re winding down the last couple of months of 2022 I think a lot of people are feeling the effects of burnout. We’re going to be talking about that with Josh Schwede from Spotlyfe. Josh is the Co-founder and CEO at Spotlyfe. He has a passion for building high growth organizations. Josh has been building and leading teams and building strategies to support fast growing venture backed companies in the talent and HR tech space for over two decades. His experience at brands like HireRight, HireVue, Q social, and the Marcus Buckingham company helped prepare him for his most exciting mission yet co-founding his own work technology platform, Spotlyfe, which is tackling a very human problem helping people in organizations combat burnout. Outside of work, Josh enjoys actively participating in his daughter’s sports activities, and spending time with his wife and his family outdoors. Josh, welcome to the HR Happy Hour Show. How are you?

Josh Schwede 3:18
What’s up? I’m great. It’s great to see your faces again. Sorry, not feeling so well. But we’ll do well, I’ll be out here.

Trish 3:24
I know. I’m feeling better already. I’m among friends. That’s a good thing.

Steve 3:29
Good to see you, Josh. The last time we saw you or that I saw you. And I imagine Trish as well, was at the HR Technology Conference a couple of months ago now in Las Vegas. And where you are spied carrying a giant cardboard novelty check around the Expo Hall, which signified Spotlyfe being the winner of the 2022 Pitch Fest at HR Tech. So maybe we’ll start there, because that’s exciting. And everybody saw that there was 80 million pictures posted online about you with that check. Tell us a little bit about that experience and kind of what’s happened maybe since?

Josh Schwede 4:05
Yeah. So thank you. I think the first thing is, it helped us tremendously as a company. So you know, the way it goes is you you have to you apply for it, then you get selected to I think talk to you know, the team who’s deciding who’s going to get invited to go. And so we were invited, which is amazing. But what you have to do is you have to find a way to explain your business in three minutes. But the judging criteria get is probably like 10 to 12 different topics. You can’t get to all that stuff. So it forces you to really carefully choose every single word. And so we are just by getting selected. We’re a better company because of it because it forced us to really think about how are we effectively messaging in a three minute time limit to people that probably have no idea what we’re doing. And so like that, I think of that as like a boot camp type exercise we had to go through and frankly, like we weren’t really worried about winning. We were just excited. It we started the business, you know, in 2021. This was our first, HR Tech was our first trade show. So we’re just excited to be there. Our booth wasn’t too far from the pitch fest theater. So just getting selected was a win. But I think after the first pitch, I went back to my team, I’m like, let’s, let’s win this thing. Like, because it’s it’s exciting. You get you get the rush it is. There’s the mix of the judges, and then the audience are all there too. So it was, it was a blast.

Trish 5:26
You set the bar high. I mean, really, you’re in business since 2021, you come on to your first trade show, you pitch this idea. And it’s truly a winner. I mean, I was watching it was an audience watching kind of the response, kind of listening to the chatter behind the scenes. Could you maybe tell the audience a little bit about spotlights, like, what really prompted you to create this and give me maybe the the one minute pitch about the business?

Josh Schwede 5:51
I will I’m going to start with like, why we built it, though. So we, we knew we wanted to do something to build something for people. So we kind of started like, we had the luxury of taking a step back. And we had investors we had, you know, a team we wanted to bring together so we could really start with like, what do we really want to do? And most HR tech software is kind of built for leaders and executives. And we’re like, what if we built something people actually wanted to use similar to like a consumer app that they have? What would the world the possibilities be if we can do that? So we started there, and we just started interviewing CEOs, chief people, officers, HR execs, but the most interesting interviews were the people, if you think about like summer of 2021, you’d see these posts where someone’s like, I quit my job today, I couldn’t take it anymore. My manager wasn’t listening to me, I don’t have a job to run to. And I didn’t even tell my significant other, and they’ve got like 500 comment or 500 likes and like 100 comments, we would call these people.

Josh Schwede 6:44
And all the data, Trish just triangulated back to people just wanted permission to have a life. And they didn’t feel like their managers were really paying attention to them outside of work. And it’s so then we started finding all this research that has existed for decades that shows when you prioritize work over your own life and your own self care, and you do it consistently, you’re literally taking time off the back end your life, we’re literally killing ourselves. And so those were kind of the themes that we knew we wanted to do. And then then we started dialing, and we just kept finding more and more stuff, you know, despite like as a generation, right, kind of this knowledge generation, think like kind of post 1990s to now we’re doing more work and more productive than any other humans in history, yet, we still have this feeling that we’re never doing enough. And that rest is lazy. And we kind of bring that feeling with us to work. And it just leads to us hurting our own livelihood. And so as we were telling that story at pitch fest, the head shakes that we were getting right, it was just was we got stopped every time we stop pitching, and say, Yes, I feel this, like Friday comes and I don’t know where the week went. Or I can’t keep it all straight between work, and my own life. And I was putting myself last. And so we’re doing this for people. Like, you know, Steve, you did my bio at the beginning, I’ve been in this space for two decades, my hope is I can leave this space better than when we left it where we can actually have the workplace talking about real human issues of like, what’s happened to me inside and outside of work? And how can my manager or my company understand that and how can we all be better right together because a happier employee, that healthier employee is more engaged employee, and everybody starts to win when that starts to happen.

Steve 8:21
Josh, a big problem. I think with this this challenge, this burnout challenge because I agree with you, it’s totally real. It’s a real challenge that was the WHO like classified burnout as like a diagnosable health condition a couple of years ago, maybe even before the pandemic like it was starting to be recognized their problem. But one of the things that’s challenging, and I think perhaps people will tell you when you talk to people about spotlight is it’s often a cultural issue in organizations, right? We’ve ingrained in too many workplace cultures that whether it’s hustle culture, the grind, or the just the competitive nature of many of our businesses that are in really tough markets. Sometimes it rewards and or expects that kind of devotion to work above other things. So when you start talking to folks, Josh, what are some of the ways that either you guys that Spotlyfe talk to or data sort of suggests, hey, we how can we break that culture a little bit and kind of let let organizations think a little bit differently about the challenge of burnout and their cultures?

Josh Schwede 9:28
So the first thing we always start with his data. So we started we did, we kept hearing about hustle culture, and this need to always keep up. And so we started looking like could we find data that supported like, does that type of culture work? Right? Does hustle culture prove that that business is better than others, and we couldn’t find anything? Right? So then you just get back to talking to people, right? So it’s like, they might say, like, Yeah, this is how our company operates, but off the record, like I don’t like, you know, or those kinds of things. And we just saw a stat I’m gonna bring it up. So there’s A Recent Deloitte Survey that found that nearly 70% of C suite employees are seriously considering quitting their job that supports better wellbeing for themselves, which tied back to that hustle culture. So these are, these are the top and even the top execs who might, you know, like they have to, they have to represent the company that like they’re saying, like 70% of the times, I’m gonna go somewhere else, I just can’t do this anymore. So I think, listen, it’s a combination of a lot of things. It’s not just like the hours that were working at work. It’s also like Job fit, right? Or I don’t have the supportive manager or trust isn’t there in the work environment, or it has nothing to do with work, I’m still burnout, because I’ve got things that are happening to me between, you know, raising a family, taking care of parents, my own my own self care, whether it’s illness or whatever, financial stress, mental mental well being. So there’s all these things, they’re all combined together. And I think what we learned is, before the pandemic, people were already burned out, the pandemic just forced everybody once things settled down a little bit, they had that force pause, and they realized, alright, now I’m slowing down. If I don’t love my boss, I don’t love my job.

Josh Schwede 11:07
If the culture is toxic, and I don’t trust the CEO, why am I spending my time here? So that’s kind of we knew that great resignation was going to happen before it happened, Just because these conversations were happening. So yeah, burnouts, a big thing, Steve, it’s not work related. And culture, it ties back to culture and culture starts with your relationship with your manager, first and foremost. Right? So that’s, that’s kind of what we’re trying to get at is that relationship between the individual, the manager and the individual, the company, and how do we, how do we open up these dialogues about what’s actually happening across the whole thing? And well, listen, we’re not saying spotlight is the the magic pill for everything. We’re not going to solve everything. We’re just trying to open up the dialogue. We do feel like we’ve got a little bit of unique solution. But there’s other companies that are trying to solve burnout, which is, which is great.

Trish 11:48
Yeah, I think on a larger scale, what you’re saying is so true. It’s like there’s this problem, but it does feel like, especially in the last couple years, there’s been a shift like in terms of our willingness to maybe actually start slowing down a little bit. If you’re someone who grew up kind of working in the 90s into the early 2000s. It was all about productivity and being busier. And, you know, I grew up in big for public accounting, and my goodness, it was like, how do we squeeze even more productivity out of people? You’re mentioning the great resignation, obviously, now we’re working with even fewer people. So more work on the people who are already burned out pre pandemic? Could you talk a little bit about the relationship you’re saying with the manager making those connections? But what about the overwork that people are feeling specifically as it relates to that burnout? Like, what can managers be talking about with their people to sort of alleviate some of that? Before they quit?

Josh Schwede 12:42
Yeah, so we just did a research report with Dr. Britt Andreatta. So she she is a culture and like, managing teams expert, the the research report, it’s on our website, it’s called burning out. And it’s it doesn’t read like an academic research report. It’s easy to digest, but we actually have direct tips for managers and companies, things they could do right now, in that report. So I’d love if you want to come do that. But we challenged like, we’re always challenging organizations to rethink everything that they’re doing, whether it’s policies like vacation, right, so instead of doing unlimited vacation, saying, why don’t you do mandatory vacation, right, like tell people forced, like, you have to take time off, right? Executives at the very top, you know, publicizing the vacation that their, the time they’re taking, because sometimes people don’t feel like they can take time, when their bosses aren’t taking time, celebrating, celebrating wins like that, celebrating people that actually do take time, you know, to, to unwind and relax. So we’ve got to remove these work on the blinders and create cultures where both employees and the customers want to stay. So just trying to celebrate these things. It’s not again, it’s not one magic thing, but it’s like rethinking everything, I think the best way to start, we’ve been doing annual engagement surveys for a long time, we’ve been doing these pulse surveys, which sometimes are quarterly or monthly. And we’re collecting these data, and we’re not listening to what our people are saying. So you’re gonna take the time to listen, take the time to act, they’re going to tell you, right, so progressive CEOs are already ahead of this like they are. They’re making their decisions about return to work and all the new policies based on what their people are telling them, your people. They do want to be loyal to you. They’ve got a great manager, you do have a great culture, they trust you as a CEO. They want to stay they don’t like change, but listen to what they’re telling you. That’s the best place to start. And that’s how you can if you feel like you’re nervous about your culture, dial in your people, they’ll tell you and then act on that information quickly.

Trish 14:43
That’s the key.

Steve 14:43
You know, you mentioned pulse surveys, engagement survey has been around a long time, employee recognition, which is a maybe a tangential kind of a topic or technology to what spotlight does has been around for a long time as well. Other companies We’re trying to figure out ways to help employees say disconnect, if you will, at the end of the day, like, we use Microsoft Teams. Trish and I and our team here, the end of the day, I get encouraged to, you know, disconnect and burnout, not burnout to unwind and meditate for a minute or so like that. I’m thinking now. Okay, I’ll take a minute. But I’d love for you to tell us just a little bit about the spotlight approach to helping organizations begin to have these conversations knit, perhaps address some of these issues? And what’s it like to actually engage with the platform, both as a manager and as employee and you can go start with one or the other. But yeah, I’d love to just explain a little bit how it works.

Josh Schwede 15:42
So yeah, I mean, Microsoft has that’s great. Like, it’s, everything is not for everybody, right? So I think we designed this for individuals first trying to be flexible, the SE will kind of meet you where you are so very simple at the beginning of that, we work off a one week cadence. And our design principle is just about very simple interactions and taking micro changes, and just working on one thing really well for the week. So at the beginning of the week, we say Hey, before you run to your team’s meetings, do you before you check your email, slow down and pause because pausing has great benefits for your mind. So I’m gonna pause, unwind, and think about how are you doing? So we asked, we it’s our called Life pulse. But it’s like it’s been a week, we asked you one question. How fulfilled? Are you right now? Zero to 100? On a wheel at work? How fulfilled? Are you with your own life? Which is friends, family, home social relationships? And then how fulfilled are you with your own self care? So that’s not just physical wellness, that’s mental wellness, that’s your hobbies. That’s spiritual wellness, financial wellness, how are you just find your own self care, because fulfillments the operative word here, and there’s a lot of resources to just fulfillment is really everything, right? If you’re fulfilled, you’re operating at high levels. And so when we first started, we had like a work and a life bucket. And then we started listening to people, we also found research that says people always prioritize themselves last, they put work ahead of themselves, and they put their family or their friends or their social ahead of themselves. They don’t take care of their own selves.

Josh Schwede 17:17
And ironically, it all starts with your own self. If you’re not feeling mentally well, if you’re not feeling physically, well, everything else falls down. It’s kind of like that foundation in the house. So so the end of week, you just you answer that question, and it’s kind of a check yourself Self Awareness moment, how filled am I? And then we ask you, what do you want to make a priority this week? Yes, we’ve got endless to do lists at work, and we’ve got things we do in our life, but what matters to you. So select that priority, and we help them write one intention statement, this is not a goal. This is not the top three things on my to do list. This is not an OKR, right? This is like, what’s one behavior that I want to work on this week that I know is going to maybe fill up one of those buckets, so and we hold them accountable. So each day we ask them, Did you apply your intention today, Steve, quick thumbs up or thumbs down emoji real simple. So Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and then at the end of the week, we do something called reflection. And it’s like a two minute look back on the week, as it relates just to your intention. So hey, Mondays, do you you said you wanted to do this? Friday? How’d you do with that? Like, is that? Is that how you wanted it to be? Could you do better? Could you maybe improve, and, and then we, they just write a little, you know, one to two, three sentence reflection statement. And then they do a little bit of gratitude at the end, because we do believe heavily in the practice of gratitude, great neuroscience. So we just collect a little quantitative and qualitative data each week, it’s it’s maximum, seven to 10 minutes. And that’s it.

Josh Schwede 18:37
So we’re just trying to get a little better week over week over week. Meanwhile, we’re going to produce the individuals insights to them about what’s trending. They are the only ones that see their data. So it’s super important. Nobody else sees that Trish is intention is x this week, nobody sees that Trish is light pulse is trending up or trending down. But Trish has the option to share it if she wants to. If she trusts her manager, she can share it if I’m a manager leading a team, know what better way to drive trust and empathy than to be open and show that stuff off. So that’s one of the cool things we built in is it’s all it’s all trust based. So that’s the interaction and we anonymize all the data back to the company. So they can kind of see trending information and signaling that you can’t get back to Josh, Trish, or Steve, or a team.

Trish 19:20
I like that. Are you seeing that the current customers you have? Are you finding that the CEOs or other leaders are sharing their sort of fulfillment wheels with their teams? Is that something that’s actually driving this change?

Josh Schwede 19:33
That’s what we heavily encouraged. We don’t have a way to track like, again, like the whole, the whole platform is anonymized. So we don’t know. Exactly doing what but sometimes it’s not as much just like in the system doing it’s just hey, I’ve got my team meeting. Let me let me bring up let me bring up my life policy. This is how I’m doing. I want you to know how I’m doing because I might say or do things this week. And, you know, but here’s what’s happening in my life, right and so, and we but if you don’t if you don’t have Have that trusting environment, which is also really dangerous if you don’t have that, or it could be dangerous, like, you might be like, hey, Trish, I just want you to know like my life bucket right now it’s my life wheel, it’s really, really low, I’ve got some things that are going on that are not good. And I just need your help. And a great manager would say, Well, what help do you need for me, you know, just just tried to create that safe, nobody knows what’s going on. But now we’re promoting kind of this whole life whole human conversation away that safe, but productive at the same time.

Trish 20:27
I can think of actual times and working in human resources, especially early in my career, where there would be people who wouldn’t speak up or wouldn’t feel safe wouldn’t have a mechanism to sort of do what you’re providing now. And, you know, you’d get to the point where they’re being actually let go. And then all of a sudden, in that meeting, they’re saying, Well, I’m going through a really horrific divorce, or my child is really sick, or my dog is dead, whatever, like the million things, I can think of actual examples. So I’m sitting here thinking like, wow, if we had had a mechanism like this, in place, for some of those situations, it might have made them feel, maybe not to give the full details, but at least to let you know, something’s going on, I could need lean a little assistance with or a little grace with. And it feels much more. I don’t know, just human, for human resources, right, which is what we’ve wanted to provide all along. So I think what you’ve done is really interesting, in that, you’re saying it’s very simple, which it does sound, however it’s producing or has the potential to produce huge impact, because it’s the one way that that just leaders in general believe in HR really trying to help people, we’ve not had that tool in this way. So I’m fascinated by how this is, is working. And I, I know it’s new, but I can’t wait to hear kind of how these stories evolve over the coming years on how people actually keeping their employees because of it, supporting their employees because of it, instead of letting really good people go that you it’s too like it’s too late to help them then.

Josh Schwede 21:59
I laugh at your like, 90s comment. I mean, we’re I’m looking at us in the video, we’re all we’re all Gen X, right? We kind of grew up right? So it’s you keep work to work and everything else you don’t talk about. But I don’t know, we we do all kinds of presentations and briefings. And people will say, Well, what’s all the science behind this? And we we do have, like, like Dr. Britt like she’s, she’s a science adviser for us, she helps us some things, but like, we kind of built this just on how to treat people well, and how to be more human. That’s what we’re trying to do, like open up these human conversations. And it goes back to those first combos we had before we even put a pen on a napkin, which is these people just want permission to have a life, they want to be human. And so I think we’re anxious to prove out, like it’s too early to have ROI and all that stuff. But you just nailed it. We want to be able to take some baseline data, whether it’s engagement surveys, or a lot of companies are using employee net promoter score, which is kind of falling off a cliff right now, right? Where it’s like, would you refer your friends to come work here? And you’re only asking work related questions. If you’re not asking them things about what else is happening, then you don’t really have that side of data. So we want to take that baseline data. And we would love to be able to prove to say, Hey, listen, your company has been on spotlight for this long. Let’s look at your voluntary attrition data from a year ago to now. And we would like to bet that because you’re getting up and saying I care about you at work. And inside of work. I want you to be an amazing human right. We’re here for you with that. And we have other benefits outside of Spotlyfe. But Spotlyfe is just a way for you to become more self aware and have these conversations. If we can start to do that week over week over week over week, we’re willing to bet that we think we can drastically impact attrition. And we’re going to avoid burnout for people because you’re getting that information beforehand. But they don’t have to go call the EAP for online and all that stuff. Right? This is this is real stuff that we can do on a weekly basis. But part of it’s just the permission.

Steve 23:56
Yeah, Josh, I’d love to know if if you have yet or you’re going to be developing into the platform, some you know, whether it’s insights, resources, nudges, like if I say at the beginning of the week here, my intention for this week is to, you know, I don’t know, be a little bit more present in the moment with my team or something like that, like, Alright, and then at the end of the week, you might ask me, how did I do? And my goal? I don’t know, maybe I think I did poorly. Or maybe I think I did. Well, are there is there an element of Hey, okay, we see what this is your intention for this week? Here’s some ideas for how you might be able to work on that.

Josh Schwede 24:36
Yes, that’s exactly where I want to go. That’s we’re raising a seed round right now raising a $3 million seed round and some of those proceeds are gonna go to start to develop that real, not complex AI just real simple stuff that can start to serve that up and I think you both know, my background. My last job I was at Cornerstone wasn’t a venture backed company listed off but for four years, we built their kind Content anytime platform, which they didn’t have a point of view on learning content, they had 3000 learning customers around the globe and just said, We’re content agnostic. So, yeah, I think we want to have content partnerships in here. So it’s like, if I want to work on this intention, here’s some suggested content for you. So we want to definitely do that. And then I think there’s enormous partnership opportunity here. And that’s my other background has just done partnerships for a long time. So integrating us into other tools. Like it might be really interesting. Like if you’re, if you’re working with a mental health program, like modern health, for example, right, and you meet with a, we meet with a therapist, and you’re gonna go work on some things based on a therapy session, why not set an intention and spotlight that following week to tie back to whatever the therapist is having you work on? Or the same could be said for coaching, right, for better up for coaching or other coaching platforms? So yeah, I think we’re really excited about the potential here. But I think, you know, Steve, you’re a technologist, right? I mean, you have to build something small to kind of wedge that door open a little bit. So we just wanted to start with that self awareness around. What am i What’s my life pulse vitals this week? And what do i What’s one thing I can just do, because there I’m telling you, there are people that are that are depressed, that are languishing, that just don’t know where to go. So we can be like the one thing that they can do, I can’t tell you the company. But one, one company we’re working with right now just completed a 30,000, employee wellness, sort of the stats are staggering. 30,000 employees, 48% of the employees said they have anxiety, currently, right now, in 52% of the employees are experiencing some form of depression. So you’ve got half your workforce, essentially, raising their hands and saying, I have anxiety, and I’m depressed. So there’s a lot of ways we could go with that data, you know, or they could go with that data. But they’re talking to us be like, Oh, well, let’s just start small. Let’s just get some baseline information to them. So they know what’s going on. And just pick one thing, and just do it really well. Yeah. And I think it’s okay, if you don’t, it’s not Do or die, right.

Steve 27:03
It’s just the first step. And then really important one is just for organizationally, seeing those those kinds of data points to say, like, well, we recognize this, and we want to start listening to you, we hear you. And let’s figure out, you know, let’s take that first step. As you said, Josh, let’s start here, right, before we try to start throwing millions of dollars at new programs or new benefit offerings, or, you know, let’s build a, you know, better break room and all the things that people start doing when they don’t know what to do. So I love that approach.

Josh Schwede 27:34
And we can’t do this on our own. So we need help. Like, this isn’t just the small little team at Spotlyfe and our partners and advisors like we need, this has to happen. Like we have to drive this, you know, for the future workforce. And so, you know, we’re looking for anybody that just wants to raise their hand and just be like, I want to be an advocate for this, or whatever. So, you know, if you’re sitting there, and you’re listening to this, and you know, you’re at a company, and you’re not sure if your company can do it or not, that’s fine. But just like, you know, just help us get that word out. Because if it’s not us something else that’s going to improve the actual culture and well being in the workplace, because it, it needs to change, right? We’re all humans, you know, and we want to be treated like humans. So just my hope is that this, it’s hard, it is a hard time to be launching a company with the economy right now, I will tell you that. So we’re just looking for those that want to take risks or want to be supporters and can can help us out.

Trish 28:27
Now, and I think you’re right, I think hopefully, there’s someone out there that listening or many someone’s who, in whatever capacity, maybe they want to actually come and work for you right and, and bring their dreams to help. You know, you all realize what you’ve already started to achieve. Or even investing in the company giving, you know, new ideas. I’ll jump on that bandwagon. So in a new empty nester, you know, I think it’s funny, you were mentioning the different wheels of fulfillment. If I were asked to set an intention now about myself, I don’t think I could do it seriously. It’s a struggle. And so as many Gen Xers are now in that phase, right, you’re a leader, you’re working, and all of a sudden, you’re alone. You know, so I do think that this platform, just as I’m playing this out for all different levels of your, your life journey, as well as your employee journey. I feel like it could help you in so many ways. So I don’t know, whatever I can do to help you. I’m at your disposal. And you’re amazing.

Josh Schwede 29:26
Well, we’ve got a bunch of intentions in our database. So you don’t have to think of one you just have to think of one to search on and we’ll we’ll help you. Yeah, I’ve been there too.

Trish 29:34
This is why even though you know you did say it’s sort of a simple solution. But I think that’s why it’s helpful. Because if you are just someone who’s a regular employee out here, you don’t know yes, you can Google stuff, but that’s not the same. It’s not the same as holding you accountable everyday to something. It’s not the same as making a list on a piece of paper that you’re not going to stick to.

Josh Schwede 29:57
I’m holding something up right now. I got this journal that I use as a mousepad. And I use it as a reminder, because it was, you know, it’s kind of like a daily. It’s like, kind of a life journal, like reflecting on some things or whatever. But the journal is only as good as who I share it with. And guess what, you tend to not share that with anybody. Right? So you’re not, you’re not connecting back to the worksite equation, when you’re doing stuff with your manager, your team and work. And you’re not talking about the other side, your life is disconnected. And so that’s at its core, what spotlight is trying to do is like, how do we connect work life and self care in a way that you can safely talk about become more self aware? Because that’s how we that’s how we all get better. Right? And so. So that’s what people are like, well, there’s a bunch of self help journals where there’s apps on the App Store. I’m like, Yeah, but do any of them talk about work? Yeah, they might talk about work, we don’t have a way to connect back to work.

Steve 30:50
So yeah, and I think that’s really the crux of it. That makes the most sense to me. And I think probably the why the ideal resume has resonated so well, why Spotlyfe won the pitch fest of HR Tech that we talked about at the top of the show, is that we all sort of inherently understand and maybe more so throughout the pandemic era that our work and our lives are so mixed up there. They’re colliding constantly, they’re intersecting constantly, what happens in our lives affects our work. What happens at work affects our lives. It’s always been that way. But we never wanted to talk about it, or really acknowledge it.

Trish 31:25
We were told not to talk about it. Let’s be clear. Sure, I think your Gen X, sir, you were told, buckle that down. Like you’re not to talk about personal at work.

Josh Schwede 31:35
I mean, we were trained by the boomers who they were right. It’s not anybody’s fault. It’s just kind of how, right but I think we’ve realized, there’s got to be a slightly better way. Our European friends have laughed at us for years a little bit, right? Because they don’t, they don’t let their identity be dictated by work. And when they take time off, they all take the time off, and they are not, you know, in August, like those email servers are shut off. Right.

Trish 31:59
Oh, yeah. Being busy as a badge of honor. Yes, still, so that we’ve got to change that?

Steve 32:06
You know, we’re sort of a little bit. Yeah, it’s random thought. But like so often in the US, certainly. And then maybe other places, too. But when you meet someone new for the first time, almost invariably, the first question is, or the second question. So what do you do? Right? Where do you live? What do you like? Who’s your favorite? You know, baseball team. food do you like to eat? It’s, there are a million other questions, we could ask each other right to get to know someone, but we we sort of default to that one.

Trish 32:35
You need to move to St. Louis, we never asked that. First, it’s always where did you go to high school. Probably not any better.

Josh Schwede 32:46
I love that. Well, this is great.

Steve 32:49
This is a great idea. It’s a very timely one. As I said, it’s it’s resonated with lots of folks. I was excited at HR Tech, to get to host the finals. And I watched Josh pitch at the end. And I want to say to you, by the way, it for folks who weren’t there, there were I think six companies in the final round of the pitch fest, who all could have won, honestly, there were six really, really good ideas and really good pitches, and really well thought out solutions. So winning that competition is no small feat. So congratulations just for that. But it also speaks to you know, just how this idea resonates with people, as you said, just you talk to people about this and they shake their heads, they say, Yeah, I understand this, I get why this is a problem. And I think that’s really the important thing here is is you guys are working, you and the team are working on something that resonates with people on a real individual kind of basis.

Josh Schwede 33:46
Yeah, we started with the individual first. That’s the whole design principle of the tool. And we went to individuals when asking about it. And so that we’ll see, I mean, time will tell and we’ll see what happens. But I will I close my pitch with this story. And I want to I do want to bring it up because I I found it ironic that we’re sitting at this conference, which is I love this conference, it was my 19th year. And but I It’s ironic that, that burnout, and stress is at an all time high. And you you look around the room and you see all these big booths, right? Like as an industry, we’re all out selling and marketing, whatever we are in this space. But if our own HR people, I’ve got some very good friends who had been in the space for a long time we listen when you’re in this, when you do this in your in your, in your cell or whatever, you meet customers, right? And you get to know them really well. And some of them are leaving the space entirely. They can’t take it anymore. They they go back to the story. They tell us like 2019 was a really tough year with all the social justice stuff and it kind of raised the recognition like the workplace has to do something right. And then it got into COVID and then it got into return to work and then we had the Supreme Court with Roe vs. Wade these are all very complex issues yet HR is kind of like the first responders of the workforce. So and they’re burnout.

Josh Schwede 35:06
So they’re leaving. So just like teachers, just like healthcare workers, our HR people are leaving. And so here we are at HR tech, we’re spending this money and everybody’s selling a mark on their stuff. But if we, as an industry, can’t take care of our own first responders, our own people, we’re all full of crap. Like, this whole industry should be like leading the way when it comes to burnout and well being internally in our companies. And we’re not doing it, like I’m telling you, we’re talking to a lot of them. It’s like, we’re not getting a lot of attention. And it’s like, wait a minute, stop, stop, what are we doing? You want you think you can go sell and market whatever solution you are, if you’re not taking care of young people, we should be leading from the front. And so that’s, that’s like kind of my big call, because I don’t want to see any more of my friends leave the space. I don’t it’s a great space to be in. And it’s a shame that they’re, they’re burnout, and they’re not being taken care of.

Steve 35:52
Yeah, this is a you know, it’s funny, you bring that up, Josh, and I can’t remember the publication. I want to say it might have been the Financial Times or The Guardian, or doesn’t matter what I just saw a piece this morning, about how executive recruiters you know that the executive recruiting industry are moaning and complaining because they there’s not enough CHRO, C suite, HR talents in the pipeline’s that they can’t find them during a really hard time placing those searches. And part of the reason a big part of the reason I think Josh is many of those types of people, those HR leaders have burned out and left HR or left or retired early or gone to do something else or going into consulting or just your step step back, if you will, right, Trish is raising her hand.

Trish 36:36
Yeah, yeah, I mean, because I can’t even imagine all the things you just listed off chat. I didn’t have to go through any of those topics when I was an HR leader. But it was already by the time you get promoted that VP of HR, CHRO. In your organization, it’s amazing, because you’ve worked so hard to get like all those phases of your career done. But you are then dealing for the most part with the worst of the worst of your company. You’re dealing with all of the people who have done the worst things that no one else on your team can handle performance wise, behavior wise, you’re in all the depositions, you’re at all right, you’re in every negative aspect. And you’re an island too, because you can’t really be friends with the C suite, you can’t really vent to them. Everything’s confidential. So I think you’re right, I think we have to take better care and give better support to our HR leaders as they’re coming up. Because they’re an island out there right now. They have no support. And I can’t imagine how are they supposed to learn fast enough to take care of all of these different topics like that you just mentioned those very complex topics. Very nice. So you can’t, you can’t even train yourself fast enough. And then yet take care of your own family, your own care and your own needs. It’s It’s overwhelming. That could be a whole nother show. But thank you for mentioning that, that that is something we should be talking about.

Steve 37:55
Very great point. And it’s a great story, Josh and I’m happy that you’re able to join us to help tell some of that story or retell parts of it as well. I’m glad you got to walk through Las Vegas airport at midnight with a giant novelty check. Because I knew that that’s that’s a great experience. For a few people I know I’ve done it. I’ve know a couple of have done it. And it’s fun. But seriously though, we do encourage folks to go to

Josh Schwede 38:25
Our website is but I think a couple of our social channels are the spotlyfe because we couldn’t get that but yeah.

Steve 38:33
And also the research report Josh mentioned we’ve linked to that we’ll put in the show notes as well. We’ll encourage folks to check that out the burning out report. Josh it’s been great to see you get to catch up I hadn’t talked to you since since that day at HR tech that we’ve talked about some glad things are going going well and best of luck for you in the team as you carry on the journey at Spotlyfe.

Josh Schwede 38:53
Thank you so much. Thanks for having us.

Steve 38:56
Awesome, great stuff Trish, love it great to see Josh a very long time. Josh I think it was on the podcast like 10 years ago. Former life.

Josh Schwede 39:07
I think we were at a HireVue conference with your like little recorder.

Trish 39:14
Yeah, he’s come a long way.

Steve 39:18
I think maybe we’ll say gray. Yeah, or last of everything. So good stuff again, we’ll put all the links that we mentioned in the show notes thanks so much Josh for spending some time with us. Thanks to our friends at Paychex of course for all their help and support and Trish thank you thanks for hanging in there you did well despite your your ailments.

Trish 39:38
I did you know what I think it’s it’s funny when I get talking about things I’m passionate about like work, like friends. I mean, it makes me feel better. So thanks to you both.

Steve 39:49
Thanks for listening to the show. All the archives are And subscribe wherever you get your podcasts. We will see you next time. And bye for now.

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