Keith Nealon is the Chief Executive Officer of the technology company Bazaarvoice, which has been named a Great Place to Work in the US, UK, and Australia. Keith is an example of leading with love, as he shares the initiatives he has made in his company to support his employees’ mental health and positive human connection. He is an advocate for policies and external support systems as part of the organization’s infrastructure.
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- “We had to talk about mental, physical, and emotional health. It wasn’t easy at first, but it was so worth it.” [12:45] Keith Nealon talks about how he, as the CEO of Bazaarvoice, acknowledged mental health challenges. He focused on vulnerability and different employee situations to make sure no employee felt alone.
- “We’ve had a lot of discussions on finding those things that fill your cup or fill your soul, not simply occupying the mind.” [18:25] Creating outlets, supplying mental health support services, and clearly defining priorities are some of the ways, among many others, that Bazaarvoice is using to support their employees against burnout.
- “You have to normalize this issue of mental health and wellbeing, and bring it into every conversation.” [30:14] This important idea cannot come out of nowhere; it needs to be intentional and talked about. Keith shares how he related and shared his personal experiences and toolbox with his staff. The offering of helpful apps, services, and policies like “no meeting therapy” helps normalize this initiative.
- “If folks see the CEO is human and not superhuman, there is less fear about admitting the issues.” [32:40] Keith is setting an example as a CEO of his humanness and how it’s okay to talk about this topic. It is the leader’s responsibility to break the stigma and create an environment where employees feel safe to open up.
- “There is culture, and then there is connection”. [35:34] How do you keep up with company culture when everyone is spread out and working remotely? Keith names many ways they create connections, including company all-hands meetings, department all-hands meetings, in-office events, fun-focused Slack chats, and an employee-led “culture crew”. All of these feed into the positive human connection and fun environment at Bazaarvoice.
- “The leadership of the company is a reflection of that love that I want to bring into the organization.” [40:27] From the familiar saying, ‘people leave managers, not jobs’, Keith highlights the importance of choosing caring, empathetic leaders to reach the employees. With over 1300 employees across the globe, Keith can’t be with everyone, so by making choosing the right leaders a focus in his role, he can greatly impact his staff with love.
Mentioned in this episode:
- Bazaarvoice ROI Calculator
- Keith Nealon @keithnealon on Twitter
- Forrester Consulting Study
- Modern Health
- Marcel Schwantes
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