The Great Resignation & The Future Of Work: Jim Curtis Of Institute for Integrative Nutrition On How Employers and Employees Are Reworking Work Together

An Interview with Karen Mangia

Karen Mangia
Authority Magazine

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Passion over paycheck — more employees will be making moves to employers that are bringing their passion(s) to life, even if it means taking a pay cut to do it.

When it comes to designing the future of work, one size fits none. Discovering success isn’t about a hybrid model or offering remote work options. Individuals and organizations are looking for more freedom. The freedom to choose the work model that makes the most sense. The freedom to choose their own values. And the freedom to pursue what matters most. We reached out to successful leaders and thought leaders across all industries to glean their insights and predictions about how to create a future that works.

As a part of our interview series called “How Employers and Employees are Reworking Work Together,” we had the pleasure to interview Institute for Jim Curtis, Institute for Integrative Nutrition’s Head Coach, Chief Revenue Officer & Head of Brand.

Jim Curtis, a wellness pioneer for the last 20 years, is a keynote speaker, author, health coach, business consultant, and IIN’s Head of Brand, Head Coach, and Chief Revenue and Marketing Officer. Jim, who graduated Whittemore School of Business at the University of New Hampshire, was named one of PharmaVOICE’s Top 100 Most Influential and Inspirational Leaders in Health three years in a row and is the recipient of PM360’s Elite Disrupter Award and author of The Stimulati Experience (Random House).

Thank you for making time to visit with us about the topic of our time. Our readers would like to get to know you a bit better. Can you please tell us about one or two life experiences that most shaped who you are today.

When I was 20 years old I developed a lesion on my spinal cord through an undiagnosed viral infection. I was very ill for years and lost the ability to walk for a short time. I quickly learned that I needed to physically and mentally fight for my physical health and mental well-being. Although I still walk with a limp, this health issue has been my greatest teacher — and continues to humble me every day.

Let’s zoom out. What do you predict will be the same about work, the workforce and the workplace 10–15 years from now? What do you predict will be different?

There have already been major shifts towards pursuing work that is aligned with one’s values, passions, and goals, so I predict this will remain the same/only get stronger in the next 10–15 years. I also believe that you simply cannot replace in-person, human to human interaction and connection. We had to the last few years out of necessity, but long-term I think we’ll see a renewed emphasis on being in a shared workspace.

What advice would you offer to employers who want to future-proof their organizations?

Listen to your employees. Office snacks and the like are nice perks but empowering your employees to create wellness outside of work will greatly benefit the organization, and this can only be achieved if they are asked what they would actually want. These things could include more flexible working hours, more financial or logistical support for working parents, robust health insurance offerings, built-in mental health days, a monthly/quarterly stipend towards exercise subscriptions, acupuncture, massages… the list goes on.

What do you predict will be the biggest gaps between what employers are willing to offer and what employees expect as we move forward? And what strategies would you offer about how to reconcile those gaps?

I think ultimately employees will need to decide what’s worth it for them — what’s worth their time, energy, and well-being. If employers are financially able to provide all the flexibility and perks in the world for their employees, that’s great. And if they’re not, that’s not necessary a “bad” thing — it depends on what type of people they are trying to attract and what they are potentially willing to sacrifice as a result of not being able to offer certain things that promote employee well-being.

We simultaneously joined a global experiment together last year called “Working From Home.” How will this experience influence the future of work?

This is the future of work. The adaptations and flexibility that were born out of this global experiment created a nimbler workforce that found freedom in unexpected parts of their lives, and for many this freedom led to resigning from their roles to pursue work aligned with their passions.

Further, employers and employees alike realized that lack of physical proximity did not necessarily equate to lack of performance. The future of work will (hopefully) include more trust in employees to do their work efficiently while still being collaborative and connected with their teams despite where they are in the world.

This is the future of work. The adaptations and flexibility that were born out of this global experiment created a nimbler workforce that found freedom in unexpected parts of their lives, and for many this freedom led to resigning from their roles to pursue work aligned with their passions.

There have already been major shifts towards pursuing work that is aligned with one’s values, passions, and goals, so I predict this will remain the same/only get stronger in the next 10–15 years. I also believe that you simply cannot replace in-person, human to human interaction and connection. We had to the last few years out of necessity, but long-term I think we’ll see a renewed emphasis on being in a shared workspace.

We’ve all read the headlines about how the pandemic reshaped the workforce. What societal changes do you foresee as necessary to support a future of work that works for everyone?

Being more open-minded to creating a workforce grounded in supporting all aspects of health — physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. With so much of the workforce identifying their being (who they are) with their doing (what they do), it will be imperative for society to look at work as part of the larger lifestyle someone is leading and how it heavily influences their well-being.

What is your greatest source of optimism about the future of work?

That it’s going to be heart-centered and led. That people are going to be eager to improve their own lives through their work, which in turn, will ripple out to improve the health of the world.

Our collective mental health and wellbeing are now considered collateral as we consider the future of work. What innovative strategies do you see employers offering to help improve and optimize their employee’s mental health and wellbeing?

Providing education, like coaching skills, to manage employees effectively with empathy and compassion. Regular dialogue around mental health, including providing adequate resources to guide employees to seek the help they may need. And setting an example — if you’re touting work-life balance but you yourself are emailing and messaging people until 10 o’clock at night or throughout the weekend expecting responses, it sends mixed signals which can cause undue stress. These aren’t necessarily ‘innovative’ but they’re foundational ways to optimize mental health and well-being.

It seems like there’s a new headline every day. ‘The Great Resignation’. ‘The Great Reconfiguration’. And now the ‘Great Reevaluation’. What are the most important messages leaders need to hear from these headlines? How do company cultures need to evolve?

Employees are resigning from living a life they don’t love. They’re reconfiguring how they live their lives, from where they are physically (like moving out of the city into the country) to how they manage their personal time. They’re reevaluating what’s most important to them — friends, family, partners, relationships, etc. — and how their work/career is aligned or not.

I think it’s important to remember that leaders of all organizations are humans first and that they, too, may need to do some introspection on how they are living their own lives and how that shows up in their leadership. Company cultures will evolve based on the leaders’ understanding of how their workforce can best reach their company goals, and how flexible they are willing to be to achieve them.

Let’s get more specific. What are your “Top 5 Trends To Track In the Future of Work?”

  1. Wellness-infused workplaces — both employers and employees alike will be prioritizing well-being, from perks that employees actually want to taking care of mental wellness.
  2. Passion over paycheck — more employees will be making moves to employers that are bringing their passion(s) to life, even if it means taking a pay cut to do it.
  3. Optimizing workspaces for hybrid workers — employers know they can keep their employees home without sacrificing productivity or culture, but they also know that they value real, in-person connections, so we are going to see a focus on creating spaces where people can meet (safely) but that don’t break the budget (aka they don’t need to fit the entire staff at once!).
  4. Shifting of the traditional 9–5 — Given the flexibility of being able to work from home, many employees especially those with families might be looking for the ability to shift their hours to be better able to manage everything else that life throws their way, like having a chunk of time in the middle of the afternoon to pick up kids from school and prepare dinner, or working early in the morning/later in the evening when there’s no interruptions.
  5. Shifting of the employee mindset — Employees want to be valued, heard, respected, seen as human beings, not just a part in a machine. This is ever apparent in the moves employees are making to companies that align with their passions and values. We are going to continue to see shifts in how employers care for their employees, not just in perks but in everything they do to create a safe and effective workplace for them. We spend the majority of our time at work — we have to make it healthier.

I keep quotes on my desk and on scraps of paper to stay inspired. What’s your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? And how has this quote shaped your perspective?

You are at the perfect place at the perfect time. My perspective is that it is all learning.

We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US, with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He, she, or they might just see this if we tag them.

Elon Musk

Our readers often like to continue the conversation with our featured interviewees. How can they best connect with you and stay current on what you’re discovering?

Instagram: @jimcurtis1 @nutritionschool

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jim-curtis-revenue/

Website: https://www.integrativenutrition.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NutritionSchool

Thank you for sharing your insights and predictions. We appreciate the gift of your time and wish you continued success and good health.

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