1. Tell us about your role at LeggUP.
I’m the co-founder and CEO of LeggUP, a professional coaching and wellbeing platform offered as an employee benefit called Talent Insurance. With a strong employee benefits background, I recognized a shift occurring not only in the wants, but the expectations employees had surrounding company culture, work habits, and of course, benefits. This shift was ushering in a new era of work called Talent Empowerment.
Talent Empowerment encompasses many areas of professional and personal growth, but two areas that resonate with me are inclusive work experiences and preventative mental health solutions. So I joined forces with my brilliant co-founder, Viktor Bullain, to create a solution that supported the needs of employees and employers alike. Talent Insurance gives all eligible employees 6 professional coaching sessions per plan year, making this typical luxury benefit an inclusive experience for the first time. And because we all know our mind and body are intricately connected, our coaching focuses on developing and improving 12 dimensions of Wellbeing and Productivity. Our Wellbeing dimensions help an individual identify work-related triggers impacting their emotional, mental, and physical health, and adapt new skills and habits so they can function well; our Productivity dimensions focus on sets of behaviors instrumental in achieving desired levels of performance. And for people with clinical diagnoses like anxiety or depression, our coaching acts as a highly effective support mechanism to understand what impacts their symptoms at work and how to mitigate negative effects.
Employees see results like a 73% improvement in their emotional health, a 54% improvement in their leadership and empowerment skills, and a 74% improvement in their overall job satisfaction. Employers see a more engaged, balanced, and productive workforce resulting in reduced medical and turnover costs for a company.
2. Could you tell us about your journey in the industry?
Before founding LeggUP, I worked exclusively in healthcare and insurance markets, most notably as VP & General Manager of Aetna and Regional Managing Director of Anthem Blue Cross. At Aetna, I accelerated regional earnings from $6 million to $50 million in five years. And at Anthem, I proposed and built small group and industry vertical purchasing pools from the ground up. For the first time in Anthem’s history, small companies could now access healthcare plans previously only available to large organizations, creating an entirely new stream of revenue.
Staying true to my commitment of helping small businesses stay competitive with Fortune 500 benefits, Talent Insurance from LeggUP was primarily designed with small group in mind. As the first talent empowerment solution available to companies with 250 employees or less, it’s scientifically proven to increase employee retention, build adaptable and resilient workforces, and catapult the companies output and culture.
3. What is the importance of employee wellness for career development?
Nothing else matters more than an employee’s wellbeing when it comes to their professional development trajectory. Our minds and bodies are intrinsically connected; if we don’t feel good, we can’t function well.
Organizational and Positive Psychology state that higher employee wellbeing is associated with higher morale, which, in turn, leads to higher productivity. In particular, positive emotions lead to heightened motivation and hence improved job performance. When we have unchecked high performance we see burnout, anxiety, and depression. When we lack motivation, we see low engagement, a loss of values, and low performance. A healthy balance of wellbeing and productivity ultimately drives career growth. All of this is why LeggUP takes a holistic approach to people development by focusing our coaching on 12 dimensions of Productivity & Wellbeing.
4. What are your views about recognizing employee potential in the workplace?
If you hire the right people, meaning individuals whose personal values align with your company values, then everyone within your organization should have high potential. Ultimately, I believe it’s up to employers to properly support the development of their people. If all you’re offering is learning modules with no personalization or expecting your employees to first seek out development opportunities and then ask for permission, you will fail to either realize or unlock the potential of your people. No matter the industry, the role, the country you live in, people are always a company’s greatest asset.
5. What are your views about employer initiatives in designing employee benefits?
The 1930s were all about EAPs, the 40s brought PTO, the 80s made parental leave and stock options the norm, and as we all should remember, the 2000s brought a wave of wellness perks. Employee benefits are an ever-evolving world as the wants, needs, and expectations of employees rightfully change from decade to decade— and we’re in the midst of another shift right now called Talent Empowerment! This new era of work is defined by a few critical employee needs: ongoing professional development, inclusive work environments, on-demand support, and personalized programs. If you want to attract, develop, and retain your people, these are the initiatives you need to design your benefits around this open enrollment season.
How do you do that? By swapping outdated and underutilized EAPs and LMS programs for personalized professional development programs, shift from workplace hierarchies to inclusive experiences and environments, and replace group trainings or seminars with on-demand support. Ultimately, the companies who design their benefits around talent empowerment, as opposed to talent management, will win.
6. How important is team feedback for your modules?
We don’t use modules as most might be familiar with them from old-school L&D platforms. Rather, companies and their employees can customize their coaching programs by selecting from LeggUP’s library of hyper-relevant and time-tested development topics, curated and created by LeggUP LABS, or our Learning and Behavioral Sciences department. Members can choose a new topic for each session or dig deeper with the same topic for multiple sessions. This allows for a coaching session rooted in science but leaves enough room for a highly personalized experience. It’s a one-size-fits-one solution unlike traditional modules meeting a one-size-fits-all criteria.
The most important piece of feedback we receive surrounds our member-coach ratings.
All of our professional coaches bring years of professional coaching and industry experience, helping our members attain the most benefit and success in their chosen focal areas. Initially, members are matched to their best-suited coaches using our intelligent coach matching technology and proprietary assessments. Members are asked to rate their coach after their first session on five factors. All coaches must maintain an average star rating of at least 4.5 out of 5 stars to remain part of LeggUP’s network.
7. Can you tell us about your team?
The LeggUP team is rapidly growing with a US and European presence. We have talented developers who built our platform from scratch, licensed therapists and professional coaches leading our networks, customer success teams who are passionate about helping businesses move from talent management to talent empowerment, and more. Despite their departments or roles, however, they all have one thing in common— they are high-performers who want their employer to value their personal and professional growth. They all came to our organization because they knew they could get the support they need, have career growth actualized, and have access to a coach for the first time. They have a strong desire to grow, and ultimately the ability to have access to our product was and is important to them.
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