Our guest, Arosha Brouwer, CEO and Co-founder of Quan. Arosha believes in a future where individuals don’t join companies, they join causes. Starting in 2017, she began extensive research on what is driving people to increasingly use their talents to contribute to projects that they find meaningful. Arosha has over 16 years’ experience in projects and ventures relating to innovation, digitalization and new ways of working.
Living Room Conversations: Quan
Rhea = Rhea Ong Yiu (Host)
Arosha = Arosha Brouwer (Guest)
RHEA: Hello everybody! Good morning, good afternoon and good evening wherever you
are tuning in into the show. Thank you for joining me in episode 21 of the Living Room Conversations. My name is Rhea Ong Yiu and I’m your host for this afternoon because I’m cited in Switzerland. This afternoon’s conversation- and if you’re here for the first time and wondering what is this living room conversation about, we’re here basically just to have a casual conversation with our guests to talk about topics that’s very interesting on the future of work and also topics that are close to our heart as a catalyst. And for that, I have today a very special guest, a very good friend, we are going to talk about placing well-being at the heart of success and I think this is such a hot topic for many organizations today and especially where our world is heading out well-being is such a big thing and so yeah I hope you will tune in, stay with us, engage with us, and talk to us on Youtube, Facebook and Linkedin live.
Yeah so please come with questions, share your feedback, share your thoughts, don’t be shy chime in whenever you can and we will interact with you on the chat as well. So I’d love to welcome my guest for today, Arasha Brouwer! She’s based in the Netherlands and she and her team has put together this app that is actually looking into really how do you measure well-being your organization and how can you use that to bring success to your organization. So Arosha, would you like to come and join me over in our living room? Hi! Hi there.
AROSHA: Hi Rhea, thanks for having me. It’s a pleasure to be here for everyone. I’m Arosha, I’m one of the co-founders of Quan. And at Quan our mission is to place well-being at the heart of success and what we essentially do is we address the black hole between engagement surveys and well-being perks and how we do that is we look at the underlying reasons as to why there may be issues around well-being and then we provide interventions and support at the individual the team and the organizational level and essentially we want to do insights but also interventions to help organizations prioritize their well-being.
RHEA: Okay thank you so much Arosha. And I’m really, really excited because you know, you and I both know that we are also starting our journey with Quan, as an organization and it’s a recent development on our side so very excited to hear more about it to learn more about it. Before I ask you my first question I just want to invite our viewers on Youtube live, on Facebook live hey, tell us where are you calling in from, say hello and please come with your questions.
So yeah I actually- I’m very curious because we’ve known each other a while when we were back in our old companies and- how did you- how was the journey like for you before you entered into this space of well-being? How was it?
AROSHA: Amazing. So tomorrow, during the Teal Around The World session, I’ll talk a
little bit about it but similar to you, Rhea, I have a 15-year background in split between consulting and corporate so you can and my area of specialization has been around digitization
and performance improvement so I have been researching the whole topic of how do you create high performance environments and where does technology play a role in that? And I think I had seen for a long time that the great places to work take a very interesting approach to the employee experience as they do with the customer experience which is using data using psychology using experimentation to continuously create great ways of working and I think there has been this time when companies were copying and pasting what others were doing, they’re copying and pasting the perks and when COVID first hit it was the time when the copying and pasting no longer worked because well-being was no longer how fancy your office was, it was essentially how people feel and when the world took such a hit, culture and people’s well-being became really really important to the point that people were willing to leave jobs if if they weren’t treated right. People weren’t able to do their work because they were you know suffering burnout and I think at that moment I was a consultant and there was an opportunity to use all that research and all the work and put it into something that could potentially help solve that problem of hey how do we actually help people become more self-aware and how do we actually help organizations and people put the right structures in so that they can actually
work in a better context? And consulting is great but you have limited impact because it’s
it’s a human thing that’s where software plays a role. Software was what would enable us to
reach what we hope to be the millions and hence the birth of Quan.
RHEA: Thank you. Thank you for that background Arosha. I’m curious right so we um-
there’s many aspects why organizations become great places to work and well-being is one of them. Psychological safety maybe another one, maybe some level of autonomy and intrinsic motivation. Centering on purpose is also another aspect but why focus on well-being? What did you see in there?
AROSHA: It’s like the- I don’t know if the word is cornerstone. But it’s like so important to every single person like it’s important to children, it’s important to old people, like it well-being is at the core psychological safety is a dimension within well-being so if we can start from that if we can help people become more aware of just how do I at any given moment in time become aware of what is going well and what’s not when there’s actually more than 200 dimensions it’s very, very
complicated and very, very misunderstood. So there is a need to educate people on knowing what constitutes your well-being and then beyond, just becoming aware of that we also need to make it relatively easier for people to do things to improve their state and there’s a responsibility there of organizations to provide the right context so that individuals and teams can thrive so
yes, psychological safety is important and Google did a great job of championing Amy Edmondson’s work but it’s beyond that. It’s beyond just psychological safety it’s beyond just
grit. It’s a holistic topic and it’s about time that we become aware of basically the whole set.
RHEA: So you’re saying that it’s a broader aspect beyond psychological safety that it kind of encompasses different streams of thought, different streams of like feeling the emotions as well
so physical right?
AROSHA: Exactly. We exactly have five dimensions. So it’s the body, the mind, meaning, social connectedness and self-fulfillment. And if you take Maslow’s hierarchy and you sort of flatten it down it sort of maps out to that and then underneath that there are some dimensions so within
body you can have like sleep, nutrition , exercise, fitness. And the mind, stress, anxiety. So you see it’s at that level underneath that there’s more than 200 dimensions right so it’s actually very
very complicated but you see psychological safety it is just one of those within.
RHEA: Yeah. Okay I see that aspect indeed. You cannot be successful with psychological safety alone.
AROSHA: Exactly. There’s reasons, yeah. There’s underlying things so yeah it’s at any given moment it is good for an individual to sort of recognize you know what’s not working well. I have a very nice example, where we were working with; we were speaking with an organization they did a trial of Quan, and one of their team members did the assessment and saw that social connectedness was really poor when it came to personal life work life it was fine social connectedness is that giving and receiving support, feeling, belong a sense of belonging etc. but personal life was very, very low. It was the first time that she was able to see almost in a confrontational way compared to the other aspects of her well-being that this was so low but straight away she was then able to sort of she had an ‘aha’ moment as to why she had conflicts at work where she’d actually walked out of situations because her colleagues were speaking in
Dutch and the reason for that turned out to be that and the reason why her social connectedness was low is because she’s actually from Eastern Europe. Some part in Eastern
Europe and she had not been home for two years. She had not seen her family in two years, so she was at a very vulnerable state where if her colleagues just so as spoke in Dutch, she had this feeling of alienation now before it could have been attributed to work, stress right? But now, when she saw these results, she was able to say actually everything’s okay except for social connected this is why I act in this way, right? And when the team are you know, when she’s able to articulate it, the team then can be more empathetic towards that right? And then it’s the case of how do we support her outside of the work context so that this aspect can go higher so that’s how concrete it should be.
RHEA: Yeah I love that you said it. It’s kind of peeling the layers right? So you’re peeling a bit more, a lower level of awareness and I mean a higher level of awareness but like going deeper into your motivations beyond the symptomatic level.
AROSHA: Exactly. Indeed. The underlying causes.
RHEA: Yeah so I mean we’ve talked a little bit about Quan. What makes you excited? Why are you so passionate about-?
AROSHA: I’m- it’s you know I was thinking the other day, I was always industry agnostic but i could spend my whole life on this topic it’s one of those things the more I learn the more I talk to people and the way people open up and speak to me it not only enriches sort of what we what we’re doing it enriches the customers and the people that use our platform but it enriches my life you know? My life the how aware and how I sort of treat my family and my children. The context that I create for our team that I do with my co-founder. I am so acutely aware of how important life is and how complex life is and I’m basically leading a better life because of it. So it’s a very easy topic to get behind because if you’re a human being it affects you.
RHEA: Yeah, indeed. Indeed. Like I love that holistic aspect when we talk about Teals. So I’m just trying to connect like with topic that is very close to our hearts. Teal talks about emergence but it also talks about wholeness right? So well-being really plays a very key role if you are an organization that is seeking to go beyond existing – let’s say boundaries and strive towards becoming more tealish in a way you never- I don’t feel like any organization would ever become Teal. It’s kind of a journey continuously well-being would definitely play a foundational role right? At the heart of that and it’s how you sense and respond how you show up right?
AROSHA: Absolutely. You can’t expect people to bring their whole selves of work- whole selves to work if you don’t consider how their well-being is at home as well as at work. And that’s the issue that we have tradition with traditional engagement surveys that only measure aspects of
well-being when it is in relation to work it’s flawed they they look at autonomy or my organization, you know I agree that my organization does things for my well-being that’s how can you take that question and then think you have an actual measure of how people are
how can an ENPS score be reflective of how people are treated.
RHEA: Yeah definitely.
AROSHA: We need to go deeper.
RHEA: Yeah definitely. So you’re saying that this hits more a personal note towards the individual because you are able to see that dimension as well? Maybe just being provocative what other aspects of the ENPS makes Quan so different from this traditional approach of
looking at employee ENPS?
AROSHA: Yeah so the employee ENPS score, the issue that I have with it is how likely are you to recommend this company to someone else. I mean what is that a measure of? Like you know you if you rate that highly does that actually mean that you have a view of the stress levels or the anxiety levels or the opportunities to grow I mean, how could this one measure be an accurate reflection of the context that you provide as an organization for your people? It’s not a holistic measure and I think that if we truly want to go towards Teal, if we truly want to say that well-being as an ESG is a priority and and we truly want to say that we are creating context which innate where we want to lower levels of burnout and how I have a have highly engaged people, then you need to be willing to look deeper.
RHEA: I love the aspect of care that is embedded in the whole thinking around well-being and I think this is an evolutionary state of many organizations because traditionally we’ve been conditioned that there is a separation of your work life and of course your personal life-
AROSHA: Yeah, yeah, your personal life.
RHEA: -But I mean with COVID, it was quite obvious that separation went away overnight almost for many people and I think even more so an awareness of your personal well-being
is more important today right?
AROSHA: Yeah. I think it’s- you are responsible for yourself. And an organization is responsible for providing the right context so that you can take care of yourself.
RHEA: Yeah. that’s really a valuable thing to think about. Before I ask- and some questions are
coming in, so I’m really, really excited to go into these questions; but I just want to set the context. We spoke a little bit about the five dimensions of well-being. Should we like peel the onion a little bit on those five? And then we answer a question from Kate after?
AROSHA: Sure, sure. Yes so what we famously say is we take 100 years of science into a 10-minute assessment and well-being is 100-year science give or take a few years so we take the five dimensions of the body the mind the meaning the self-fulfillment the social connectedness and underneath that we have around I think it’s like 28 subdimensions. So we talked about nutrition and sleep for body so there’s more. And then each of them have roughly between seven to eight give or take. And what’s interesting is on some subdimensions you can
take it as a general so for example sleep or nutrition is just in general but on topics such as stress or anxiety, it’s really interesting if you ask someone the question of in the last four weeks I’ve experienced stressed in my personal life, in my work life so when you take those sub dimensions and you split it over a context, it becomes super clear either contextually where things need to be addressed or which of the subdimensions are poor across contexts.
Now for an individual it’s super clear what they can then work on. But as an organization you can then see especially in the work context where you have really poor subdimensions so that you can then intervene right? So that’s a little bit more like in I mean to take information like what self-fulfillment; is self-fulfillment is where normally L&D sits – learning and development. About personal growth, engagement and social connection is as I mentioned before, is
about giving and receiving support appreciation belonging that’s where D-E-N-I normally sits. and in meaning is where it’s about purpose right and dispositional optimism and things like that so that’s how we sort of look at it.
RHEA: Yeah. Very interesting. I’m gonna take one of the questions coming into the chat and this question is from Kate. So setting the context, she’s coming from Asia and she loves the topic but like her question is how can you balance the five dimensions? It’s a very interesting question because it goes into the practical side of okay if you have gotten the awareness.
AROSHA: So we spoke to over 60 therapists and doctors when we were pulling together the
framework and that’s excluding all the psychologists that we involved and I was really inspired by one particular doctor, a medical doctor. He had gone down the western medical route but then was doing further education in ayurvedic medicine he was actually from Indian heritage and he said something to me which I will never forget and it and Kate mentions the word – it’s about balance. When it comes to well-being, there is no perfect state. The best state that you can be is in a state of balance. And a state of balance is knowing at any given moment in time
what is good, what is not good and being able to work on what is not good and recognizing a little bit like what the school of mindfulness says you are not your emotions right? Recognizing that this bad state or whatever is going on is but a moment and putting conscious thought and effort in order to improve it but recognizing this is not a challenge this is not something that you need to have a hundred percent on but just continuously being aware of and being able to respond to it.
So when you want to balance the five dimensions of well-being, the first thing is being aware of yourself knowing at any given moment, in time what is not good and what’s not and then being able to take the right kind of steps to put those specific sub-dimensions, at a better state. So if you are not sleeping well then being able to get a level deeper into why the causes of the poor sleep are there this is why just listening to sleep stories will not be the answer if work stress is the reason why you’re not sleeping well then you need to address how to reduce work stress and so that is the conscious act of trying to improve those things that are not doing well.
RHEA: Well, Kate, I hope that gives you a perspective. It does seem like there’s no one-size-fits-all right? It’s just how human beings are, we’re such complex creatures it’s hard to put a threshold on everything that we do right?
So when you feel like you’re in a balanced state or centered you would know it I guess it’s more
of sensing and responding to that.
AROSHA: Yeah and you know I speak with a lot of founders. Founders of startups and scale-ups, high growth scale-ups that sometimes say to me even last night I had one, it’s like we’re in a state of growth like I don’t have time for well-being and I said okay so I guess you don’t have any issues when it comes to attrition or burnout. I guess nobody in the first year is leaving your company and he’s like ‘oh no we have a lot of that’ I’m like okay, well then you know, it is not a fluffy everybody should be in a perfect state. It is simply recognizing that if
people are not in a good state, they’re not making good decisions right? They’re actually not doing their best work. So yeah everybody knows people that are not in their good state could make some pretty bad decisions let’s just look at the political situation just to reflect on that.
RHEA: Yeah, in fact yeah. And with all empathy and with all our hearts right? It’s a very tough situation to be in right now I can- I cannot even imagine how that could look like yeah, really, our hearts go out to the people who are impacted by this.
And yeah there’s another question coming in from Anna. Maybe it’s time to kind of pick some of these: I’d like to know what do you consider to be the most important dimension of wellness or what’s a good place to start?
AROSHA: That’s really interesting. So what we follow is the school of psychology and the
importance of perception and the reason why we say that is what is important for you may not be what is important for another person. So you, yourself will know what is more important to you than others. So for example I’ll take my founder and I. My co-founder and I fitness, is super important to her. Like it is connected to so much for me I just need to have moments of mindfulness right? And so you know if we were to say okay fitness is number one in this instance, it would not be an accurate reflection of me. What you need to do is to figure out what are the most important aspects of you and then to track that over time and then you’ll start to see when you’re not doing well because you’ll see the things that are really core to who you are.
Start to slip and that’s what we’ve seen when we talk about burnout it is a small science and letting go of some of the things that are most important to you in terms of how you’re eating, you’re sleeping, being a lot more reactive to your family and friends, all these things that are
critically important to you start to slip.
So yeah, there is no important dimension but rather being aware of all and specifically the ones
that are super important to you and being aware when those start to slip.
RHEA: Yeah. And on that, maybe I’ll share a personal thought on this. For me if I don’t do my first 15 minutes in the morning where I read some inspiration, I reflect on you know what would what could my day look like and I send out a feeling of gratitude about yeah – even before starting the day if I don’t do that I’m like not the best uh- person you want to talk to. [Laughter] So I think finding your own rhythms and finding your own ways of expressing yeah- your sense of balance could be a good place to start as well start your day.
AROSHA: Yeah and it’s funny. I love that because back in the day when Iwas a consultant in this space, our responsibility was to create as many perks and and and different types of things for teams as possible like here’s an entire suite of different things that you can sign up to: yoga sessions this and moment and when I finished that particular engagement I interviewed like 30 people. Me and my co-consultant and the number one feedback from those people was it was great. All those initiatives that you had like really great pity, I didn’t have time for, right? None of that’s going to stick because we’re too busy. It really also shaped what Quan is about. Quan is about how do you carve out time to become like to to carve out time to become more aware and to focus on a few things and not try and do everything not do one percent of everything but a hundred percent of a few 15 minutes in a 24-hour day doesn’t seem like a lot that it shapes your whole day.
Now imagine you just replace the 15 minutes or 15 minutes of email reading because I’m sure there’s enough emails for you to read in those 15 minutes that it is a conscious boundary setting exercise of no this is what’s important for me and I’m going to put structures in place and we need more people to do that now this is what is important for me right and if more people were able to do that at the ability to do that and in organizations create the context for people to do that you’d have people making I think the quality of decision making will just go.
RHEA: Yeah. Yeah, definitely. I can also sense that for myself that I am useless when I don’t do my daily morning routine so I’m- I don’t know, I just wanted to reach out to our audience – also in
Youtube and Facebook. Do you have any thoughts, any practices that you do? Maybe a share with us on chat or if you have any questions, let us know what are you curious about. Take a little pause here any anything coming up well Arosha, I’m just wondering in terms of well-being and Quan, right, what does success look like for you? Because obviously you have your overarching goal of why Quan exists today what would success look like for you?
AROSHA: I think that our software is used by companies to get a measure of how people actually are and as a result structures and changes are made to the way of working because of it and organizations you know create better context for people to thrive as a result of our software. Our software permeates through and provides a level of insights and interventions that truly improve the way people work.
RHEA: Yeah and I think you know, like marrying data with the right initiatives could significantly impact the top line right? And that’s something that I truly believe and I think overarching any company it’s how you move the numbers on the top line that is actually interesting.
RHEA: And definitely, well-being is an important factor for that.
AROSHA: Exactly. Exactly, yeah. If more people were able to recognize their own signs that their well-being is slipping and come up to you proactively and say I need a week off or two weeks off, I’m not doing well it’ll save you from the six month burnout.
RHEA: And I was just going to ask you a question around that the topic of burnout right? Because a few of my friends who have underwent this situation and it’s unfortunate because these are amazing amazing people it’s hard to tell when you’re in that state how does Quan help raise that awareness to kind of like ‘okay I’m actually going into that road, how can I prevent it?’
AROSHA: Yeah. Well a couple hours ago I just spoke with someone who took to- who basically wanted to speak to me because they’re going through a burnout right now. And they stay- themselves saw the signs even their team members saw the signs but no one actually did anything until it was too late and it’s a little bit like before when you’re on go-go-go and you’re just busy-busy-busy and then you’re just like waking up I think you mentioned like working at 4AM to be on email, like you know just continuously on even though you recognize some science, you kind of like push it until your body just one day goes and it’s done right? And so we need to put in practices that enable people to have that moment of self-awareness and I’m not saying it’s all on self-awareness but if you create a culture where you’re also aware of each other, then even if the person themselves don’t see the sign, you can intervene right? You as a leader, or a manager, you as a colleague, you as a friend you know. And so you can literally say this doesn’t look good. And if you have a culture of toxicity, if you have a culture of high growth where everyone’s working hard and everyone is not aware they’re just running – it’s just burnout is happening around you, you’re just focused on yourself and hitting your targets right? And that’s that thing. So it’s a one hand it’s the individual becoming where it and having time and the other thing is the context that it’s not normal we need to break that. That is not normal.
RHEA: Yeah. I have a question for you. Because I’m just curious, like, how can we- how much time do you require to actually go in there? How often do you go in there to do that reflection? Because I think time is also a factor there, right?
AROSHA: For it, for going through Quan or for yourself if I went through Quan. So Quan is structured as a quarterly assessment and journey at the moment so the assessment itself I think it takes 10 to 12 minutes and then you get insights for yourself it’s aggregated at a team level and then it gets aggregated up at all levels so you can look across team and we ensure that there has to be at least six people at a team so that we can ensure that the anonymity of the data and then what happens is we have worked over the last two years with more than 100 or 150 teams where we’ve now developed a two-hour self-reflection or team reflection session where the team can look at the aggregated insights and develop better ways of working when it comes and so that’s enough for the team to look at their quarterly results have a discussion develop better ways of working then you have like six to nine weeks to develop better habits right? Because habits formation takes time when you’re an individual, you should practice self you know, self reflection a lot more continuously. But this is what we say at a team level is enough to ensure that the context is that we provide you with the vocabulary we provide you with the data and the insights and even the way to have the conversation and we even point you to interventions that can help and we give you time to actually change behavior and that takes time.
RHEA: Yeah, it’s very interesting because I do recognize that habit formation takes time and rhythm and daily rituals. I wonder whether there is like the four- like quarterly, yeah? Is enough to kind of raise that level of awareness. Do you see that you might-
AROSHA: It’s the rituals that you develop as a result of the self-reflect the team reflection sessions. Okay, that is most important. And that is what you would continuously check in on and there are these pulse checks out there I’m aware of them daily, weekly. But ask around, how many people are actually honest on those pulse checks. They just- it becomes one of those
swipe. So it’s better to ask it less frequently and then spend time on the actual task to improve the behavior than just ask and collect data for the sake of it.
RHEA: No, I mean I’ve heard this a lot in psychology and I was once on noom for example it’s a
weight loss app and there they also don’t encourage you to check every like every week they say like do it every two weeks to check what your numbers are and it does make it doesn’t make
sense right? Because we get like we can easily get swallowed into the number game.
AROSHA: Yes and again remember what that doctor said, it’s not a challenge it’s a state of balance.
AROSHA: This is with you for the your whole life.
RHEA: Yeah. That’s amazing. Hey we have another question. It’s coming from Ken and I wonder do you have to convince leaders or how did you convince the leaders to shift their focus
from maybe customers or business metrics towards employee engagement, is it one or the other or is it full?
AROSHA: I think it is a case of both now. I mean there’s a great resignation happening and it’s really hard to hire talent right now and so and you eventually you need your employees to help you deliver that product or service to your customers right? So employee engagement or business metrics around you know, or you know around how well your employees are is fundamental to your success and what we’re seeing is that some of the metrics that we currently use and aren’t working they’re not a real true reflection of how people are so rather than just having an engagement survey where you just sort of do like management reporting of people
like people numbers and then a bunch of perks which usually have about 25 to 40 adoption anyway. Do it end to end measure how your people are then provide the interventions to help them and then track the ROI of that and that’s basically what we’re trying to do. Like take it all the way.
RHEA: I mean now that we are talking about the interconnectedness of well-being with success of companies right? I’m curious, how do you see well-being playing a role in adoption of changes within a company? So we’re talking about change management. How does-well being play a role in that.
AROSHA: It’s an interesting one, when you look at HR tech I think any tech implementation
do they say there’s a famous statistic like when it comes to issues with adoption it’s like 80% of the time it’s not the tech, it’s the people. And people don’t like change right? That’s what they say, like, it takes time. So we need to understand you know why did they like, change? And you need to look into it and when we look into it and what school of psychology kind of says is like all of us have a lot of baggage, fears. Most of the times how we behave is driven by our fears more than our wants. We’re trying to escape a certain situation that’s why we behave in a certain way so when there’s resistance to change you need to understand where that fear comes from right? When you’re more self-aware, when people are more aware, they’re more
aware at that deeper level of what their fears are.
What is it that they’re trying to avoid and you can have honest and open conversations and once you have honest and open conversations you get to the root of an issue. So from a change managed perspective it is not so much about convincing but to understand and once you understand why the resistance and the human side of it then you can co-create a way to ensure that actually not only do we drive the adoption we can actually do it in a way that it helps people.
RHEA: It’s very interesting. One of the things and maybe I have some self-interest on this question. One of the things that I work with a lot is- you know like this fluid model that is being rolled out in many organizations today where you’re no longer attached to a function but you’re actually part of a larger community and there’s kind of a lot of fluidity around that there’s a lot of unclear boundaries around that.
I think there is a sense of- part of that- part of gaining momentum and getting engagement is understanding where people are at in their journey and bringing them along, and collaborating
in a new space that has a lot of uncertainty right? So I’m just curious, like, what are the factors in the five, amongst the five dimensions that you have, what would be the factors that I should be focusing on? Interested in?
AROSHA: So if you can repeat the question for me, so I understood like the fluid structures. People- bringing people along but just re- just ask me that question once more just like get it absolutely clear in my mind?
RHEA: Yeah so like for example, when you’re in a fluid structure, it comes with a lot of uncertainty because I’m no longer like being perceived from that one specific function – that I’m a specialist on. But how I engage with a broader community, right? And with that, there’s a whole aspect of my whole self going into this space. What would be the aspect if I look at the five dimensions that I should totally focus on when I enter this kind of space?
AROSHA: So it’s funny because uncertainty is- we have anxiousness and stress in work life
and I believe that organization like reorganizations and things are like a sub-dimension as well
and so the topic of uncertainty comes up in the mind module but what is really important to note, Rhea, here is that yes, from an organizational perspective, from a work life perspective, this person is going to experience higher levels of uncertainty going into this new flow. But what you’ve got to be mindful of is related to that. There are other things which could also take a hit which could be stress, which could be anxiety, could be concentration, creativity and so what the answer is to be aware at an individual level, the different subdimensions that have taken a hit so to speak and at a team level you need to aggregate it up to see what are the the main ones right?
Because at first glance you think ‘oh it’s high levels of uncertainty’ but maybe the real hit is it’s lower levels of creativity right? So what we do is we identify the aggregated lowest performing or reported subdimensions in this particular situation where everyone’s going into this state but then we get the team to select one to work on so maybe everyone goes it’s the anxiety at work. That’s what we want and then we ask them the secondary level of questions to get to the root
of why this is an issue. Because maybe uncertainty in work is okay. I mean look, I’m a founder of a startup, I sign up for uncertainty – it’s okay, right? But if I’m not sleeping well, if I’m having
deeper issues with that, that’s what I need to address, right? That’s the real- so what I’m saying here is that at first glance, it doesn’t usually tell you what the core thing is which is what is actually driving behavior.
RHEA: But through conversations and through reflection, together I guess you-
AROSHA: Absolutely. Unearth the real, yeah.
RHEA: The real. What would be your advice to leaders, right? Of course things like this, it requires some leadership and some sponsorship also to fly. What would be your advice to leaders who are maybe potentially going to look into getting this insight of well-being into their
from their teams?
AROSHA: Whether or not you choose to understand it, realize it’s going on and if you get ahead of it, you can prevent issues such as burnout. You can prevent attrition, you can prevent lower levels of engagement if you get ahead of it by opening up the conversation by using data to have conversations you are creating space for people to fundamentally work on things that need to be improved which is impacting your engagement and productivity whether or not you choose to discuss that you can also choose to make your KPI harder or throw more people at it but if there’s a systemic issue or if there’s something underneath all of that which is the real underlying cause for people leaving low levels of engagement giving them the data and some time to address that is so much more worth your time and money because it is actually a more effective way to operate.
RHEA: Yeah. I guess we cannot solve other people’s problems right? But helping to create that awareness is probably something that will help people take action on uncertain things. Yeah, some questions are flowing in. It’s really interesting. Yeah, so Nicholas has a question about the subdimensions. Quite curious about the two hundreds of dimensions of wellness.
AROSHA: There’s a lot. So what we’re looking at, Nicholas is then if you have your sub dimensions. Like these are the underlying causes like for example one could be financial insecurity, another one could be organizational transformation, work-life balance, low levels of self-care. So those are just like some of them off the top of my mind which would potentially contribute to – you know, when someone says you know I want to improve like stress at work, any one of those could be the real reasons why right? Like low levels of self-care means that you actually are more stressed at work because you’re not putting up your boundaries you know? And maybe that whole uncertainty, that anxiousness is actually associated with financial insecurity. That’s the fundamental reason why you are anxious yeah?
AROSHA: So you can’t just you can’t just treat anxiousness at work. Like you can’t be like here are some exercises to deep internet deep breathe in and out when the thing that’s going in the back of your mind is if I don’t get financial security, I can’t pay my bills right? So those are the kind of that’s- that’s some of the examples that we’re going to yeah.
RHEA: Yeah. Yeah it’s very interesting. I’m just trying to set it in the context of companies that are shifting from Orange, so more hierarchical into kind of let’s say Teal-ish but yeah I would say, Teal. But getting there right and you we always talk about self-organization, autonomy and we’re always talking about sense of purpose and wholeness as well. And these three dimensions are so- it’s not polarizing but it pulls in different aspects of well-being right? How do you think organizations that are on this journey could benefit from having an awareness of this?
AROSHA: One of the companies that we’re speaking to is B Corp certified and it started to get me really curious about B Corp and I started reading it, and I could probably say many of those
are really like as close to Teal in terms of like ideal you know, they quantify well-being as one of the things like they literally have a score for it you know so essentially when you have these these dynamic teams that are like purpose-built units by definition, they’re the types of units that create the context for individuals to bring the best selves but best of themselves and they’re the type of unit that encourages people to take time out when they need time out.
And you know do things that like their lives like that, I think – that by definition so all we’re saying is like ‘oh here’s here’s actual insights like a level deeper than like we know that you know it’s important but here’s a level deeply on what is actually at play and how you can do it so we’re really just a tool software to enable you to do that more accurately.
RHEA: Yeah. you know, thank you so much Arosha. And I still have a lot of questions in my head but I’ll save that for another day and maybe another conversation. I do want to give space
for one last question for Kate here I’m not sure if Quan is the right tool to measure burnout but
maybe sharing some perspective on how you can detect early signs of it?
AROSHA: Sure. Sure, indeed. Like I’m not a psychologist but okay we’ve been working on this topic for quite some years and I can tell you what our clinical and org psych sort of talks about in terms of early signs but what we’ve seen and what we’ve read and what we’ve heard is that you,
in many cases are more reactive. You’re not sleeping as well, your social connectedness starts to drop, so the relationships with the people that are close to you start to fray.
Things like learning become more of a chore then like it’s more overwhelming, you have this feeling of being overwhelmed. Those are some of the things that people see and also you have physiological like more sweating, ticks all sorts so it can manifest in all sorts of different ways.
But this general feeling of being overwhelmed is definitely something that we hear about a lot
and then in the worst case of burnout people that we’ve actually spoken to they’re physically
not able to get out of bed and things like that and then and at that moment you’ve hit it right? So
some of those early signs are some of those things that I just mentioned and that’s based on us talking to people and also the research.
RHEA: Thank you so much Arosha. And yeah I want to end this conversation with a positive note. We still have some time so really I’d love to invite you to tell us a little bit more about what’s next for Quan. Where you’re headed, what are the things that you’re up to.
AROSHA: Yes, of course. So we are part of YCombinator which is if not the best yeah one of the world’s most intense accelerators and it’s run out of Silicon Valley where it’s a three month program and we’re in the last four weeks of it. It’s very exciting because we’re meeting brilliant founders that are really trying to solve big problems and we’re meeting some really interesting
investors from around the world that also see what we’re building is being something useful for the world which is an enlightening and definitely important for us in terms of where Quan wants to be. Right now we have a great team of 20 I think spread across seven time zones. We are planning on working with more global customers this year and hopefully raising a healthy
seed round and yeah, being able to impact thousands of lives by the end of the year and
yeah, really deepening our understanding of the topic contributing to science and developing software that continues to help individuals, teams and organizations.
RHEA: Thank you so much Arosha. And thank you for spending some time with us, having
this conversation about a very important topic that the world needs today. So thank you
for your perspective. Yeah, so for the audience if you have enjoyed this conversation, please follow us on social media – we have it on Youtube also on Spotify also on Facebook and Linkedin. Follow the different conversations that we’re having in the course of the next weeks and months, there’s a lot of interesting conversations coming up so do follow us. And of course I want to make a shameless plug of Teal Around The World which is happening tomorrow. Arosha will be taking the stage as well talking about Quan and talking about well-being.
So catch us there tomorrow. It’s going to be a 29-hour event running across the whole world so if you haven’t bought a ticket please go ahead and scan the code on your screen and if you struggle to financially pay for the ticket, please reach out to me on Linkedin personally and Ibe happy to figure out a way for you to be able to join the conference. We don’t want to leave anyone behind so join us over there, ping me on Linkedin if you need a ticket. Also in two weeks we will have another Living Room Conversation. This one will be hosted by my colleague Stefan Keller and this is together with Dunia Reverter from Krisos. And last but not the least you will also have our Teal Safari on Sustainability. This will be in German and it will happen on the 24th of March so do scan the code on your screen and join us at the Teal Safari.
And yeah if you have other questions and what other events are coming up, you know where to find me on Linkedin and I hope to be able to catch up with you. And yeah, before we close, Arosha, do you have any last thoughts to share? Last words?
AROSHA: No, I just want to say thank you for the opportunity, Rhea. And the really great conversation. I appreciate it.
RHEA: Thank you. Thank you so much Arosha. And yeah, do follow Arosha on Linkedin we’re
both very active on Linkedin. Engage in a conversation with us, happy to take this forward with you and yeah, if you’re watching this on replay leave your comments, we’ll make sure that we interact with you on the comment section. So thank you so much for joining us and speak to you soon – hopefully tomorrow on Teal Around The World.
RHEA: Thank you!
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