Well-being, Stress, and Resilience – New Podcast Episode

Posted 18 April 2024 by
Kevin Wood, Global Marketing

1 minute read

“Well-being is not just about one thing. It brings in our physical health, it brings in our emotional health, it brings in our environment, it brings in our values, our circumstances, our quality of life. There’s a lot to it.”

In this episode of The Myers-Briggs Company Podcast, we’re joined by Melissa Hill. She’s a chartered occupational psychologist experienced in vocational rehabilitation, return to work planning, and wellbeing. Melissa is a Senior Consultant with The Myers-Briggs Company. 

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Intro: Welcome to The Myers-Briggs Company Podcast, where we bring together thought leaders, psychologists, and personality experts from around the world to talk about work life, home life, and how to get the best from life. 


Melissa Summer (MS): In this episode of The Myers-Briggs Company Podcast, we're talking all about well-being, both for individuals and at work. We'll explore the distinctions between well-being and happiness, emphasizing the PERMA and the PREMAN frameworks, and talk about resilience. We'll also talk about how to evaluate personal well-being – considering various life domains like work, family, relationships, mental health, and more.

Lastly, we discuss well-being at work, and what leaders and organizations can do to better their employees’ well-being. Listen to this episode to learn the difference between well-being and happiness, how you can evaluate your own well-being, what does stress have to do with well-being, what can leaders do to maximize employee well-being, and how does MBTI personality type relate to happiness, resilience, and well-being at work. 

Our guest this episode is Melissa Hill, a chartered occupational psychologist with a variety of experiences within vocational rehabilitation, return-to-work planning, and well-being. She's one of the senior consultants here at The Myers-Briggs Company. And in particular, she specializes in selection assessment and leadership development, where she's led on the design and delivery of bespoke and national assessment processes in previous roles. 

She's also been responsible for embedding a well-being strategy and the research, design, and evaluation of a central well-being syllabus for a large public sector organization in the UK. She holds a master's in occupational psychology from the University of Sheffield. Welcome, Melissa. 

Melissa Hill (MH): Thank you. 

MS: The first question I have for you is just a basic definition. What is well-being? 

MH: I might not give you a basic definition, so bear with me. I think people can have a really different idea about what well-being is. And sometimes when people talk about well-being, theyli nk this to mental health or speak about well-being and mental health as being interchangeable, which is not the case.

There are so many different definitions of well-being that exist, so  think it's absolutely the perfect question to start this podcast off with, because we need to know what we're talking about when we're talking about well-being so we know what we're trying to achieve and we know where to focus our attention.

If we go right back to a really early definition of well-being, I think it was from 1946 and it was by [Martin] Seligman and he said that well-being was to do with the absence of illness. So Seligman's often cited as the founder of positive psychology. He suggested that initially. Psychology could focus too much on the worst of things – the negatives that we experience, our ill health, and how to fix this – rather than looking at when there is no illness. How do we create that state, what is needed for that to flourish? And it's a really interesting perspective, that shift from focusing on what needs to be fixed, to what do we need to do in order to experience positive emotions – what does that state look like?

So that's just one definition, the absence of illness. And then the American Psychological Association, the APA, defines well-being as a state of happiness and contentment with low levels of distress, overall good physical and mental health and outlook, or good quality of life. The World Health Organization describes well-being as a positive state experienced by individuals and societies. Similar to health, it is a resource for daily life and is determined by social, economic, and environmental conditions. 

One final one would be from the UK. The Department of Health defines well-being as feeling good and functioning well, and comprises each individual's experiences of their life and a comparison of life circumstances with social norms and values, which is quite a mouthful and I had to reread a couple of times myself to really try and get what he was saying.

Even if we break all of these definitions down, there are still questions. So what does feeling good require or look like? What are those individual life experiences that comprise someone's well-being? What do we mean when we say a state of happiness or a good quality of life? What does that actually look like and mean?

And I guess I'd pause there and ask you. I've just thrown a few different definitions out at you. Is anything standing out? Would you agree with them? Is there anything that you think is missing from those definitions?

MS: I definitely hear the throughline in all those definitions of generally not being sick or ill, lik4 physically sick or ill. It sounds to me like having your basic needs met –food, shelter, those sorts of things. It sounds to me like there’s a physical component, mental component, environmental component.
Overall to me, more positive than negative if I had to think about well-being. But it's funny because in everyday language, we talk about happiness. And I think a lot of times when people say, ‘Oh, what's the key to happiness’ or those sorts of things, they are actually meaning well-being in your life. Or contentment if you're talking emotionally, but we kind of, in colloquial language, default to happiness. 

MH: Yeah, well-being can be used to speak about so many different things, which is why I think it's important we're really clear about what we're talking about. And I think you're absolutely right.
The point that I took away from those definitions is exactly what you said there. It's not just about one thing. It brings in our physical health, it brings in our emotional health, it brings in our environment, it brings in our values, our circumstances, our quality of life. 

Well-being is to do with so many different things. It's not just a singular or one-dimensional concept or definition. There's a lot to it. And to try and give you an answer, I'll go back to the work of Seligman – and we'll probably talk about him quite a lot throughout this conversation. His work, just from decades-

MS: Martin Seligman? 

MH: Yes. And he's often cited as the founder of positive psychology, and he's contributed a great deal to the knowledge and research around your question of what is well-being, but he developed a model called the PERMA model of well-being. PERMA, which stands for Positive emotions, Engagement, Relationships, Meaning, and Accomplishment. 

If I can just break them down a little bit – positive emotions is the component of well-being that refers to feelings of happiness, pleasure, comfort. Also feelings of hope, interest, joy, love, compassion.

The E is for engagement, and this is about the extent to which we have a connection with the activity or course and how absorbed we might be and intrinsically motivated we might be about the tasks that we're doing. 

The R is to do with relationships. So what relationships do we have with those around us – with our society, with our community, and with our colleagues, our peers? To what extent do we feel cared for or looked after and supported by our social network. And I find the relationship part of the PERMA model really interesting because there's so much evidence out there that says that relationships have such an influence, not just on our well-being, but also on other positive health behaviors.

So there's some research that states that the presence of positive relationships are beneficial for health behaviors, such as the management of chronic illnesses, for example. So they have quite an impact on a lot of aspects of our health basically and how we engage with that. 

MS: There's one really long study, if I remember right. They did it every 10 years and I can't remember what the institution was. I think it's in the United States, one of the big universities. But I remember watching that because it was like a 50-year or something insane study where they started with people and they were asking about well-being and happiness and the biggest thing that came out of that was relationships.

I know you're saying [with] PERMA that there's those five. But that every time they said what are the things that make people the happiest or that lead to when people say they have a fulfilling life or a satisfying life – and it was relationships. 

MH: Absolutely. We'll no doubt talk about relationships and how we can build them and how we can maintain them within the workplace. They do have such an important contributing factor to our health – not just our well-being, but our actual overall health. It fascinates me, the kind of concepts of well-being, concepts of relationships, and the impact that they have.

But yeah, just going through the PERMA model, the M is to do with meaning, and this refers to having a sense of purpose or direction in life, being connected to something bigger than yourself. 

And then finally, we have accomplishment. So actually the progress we make towards goals and what we accomplish, what we achieve. Seligman wasn't trying to say that the PERMA model defines well-being perfectly, that it's everything that well-being is made up of. But he was trying to say that there's no single element that defines well-being, but they each contribute to it. And it provides the building blocks of well-being, and actually also recognizing that there are other components involved – such as your kind of financial circumstances, your responsibilities, your health, your vitality.

It's not just those five elements or pillars that we've just described there. I don't know if that's giving you a simple answer to the question of what is well-being, but what I think it's important to take away is that in all the research in recent years that's focused on trying to define and create well-being, it's really quite clear that well-being isn’t the sole responsibility of the individual. It doesn't exist in isolation from everything else. So like we've already said, the role of relationships and other people, as well as our environments, the context in which we live, also have an impact on our well-being and a part to play.

MS: I think that's a great definition, that's something that you can take away. I know you've shared a lot of definitions as far as PERMA – so positive emotion, engagement, relationships, motivation? No.

MH: Meaning. and accomplishment. Yeah. 

MS: Meaning. And accomplishment. I think that's a good one because I think that's something that anyone could use even just if you're starting with yourself and being like, okay, where do I stand on these different areas? What might I need to focus more on or, of these, which one might be lower? Do I feel like I don't have enough of one?

MH: I think when you're in those positions where maybe you've gone through a period of prolonged stress and you're trying to take a stop, check and pause and look at how you're feeling. When you look at well-being and everything that can involve, it can probably feel quite overwhelming to think, ‘Well, what do I look at first? What do I focus on? How do I deal with this?’ And what a model like PERMA does is gives us those five pillars to say, ‘Actually, let's have a look at those five  pillars of our well-being,’ but acknowledging that there are going to be other contributing factors. So it does give us a starting point to look at our well-being and how we can start to influence it. 

MS: The other way that I've seen – and we're talking right now about just well-being as an individual – what does it mean to an individual? What can an individual do? I've also seen that there's eight or nine parts of life or – quote unquote, I'm using air quotes – parts of life. But that when you're evaluating your own well-being – and I've seen stuff from like life coaching and other things – that when you're evaluating your own well-being, that you can actually divide it into these nine parts. 

I think you can Google ‘nine parts of life’ and see what comes up. I know that there's work, family romantic relationships, mental, physical, emotional – that's six. So there's three more in there somewhere. But when you're looking at those parts of your life, maybe it's another layer that you can add on to the PERMA. You look at the PERMA definition and then you're looking at these different parts of your life. How should you divide those? Or is that a good way to divide it? Is there anything missing there? 

MH: I would say I don't think there is one formula which says you need to spend X percent of time on a certain area of your life. What works or how one person divides that time between work, family, romantic, physical, emotional aspects, won't be the same for you and won't be the same for me. So you could look at that question more from the perspective of not being about how we should divide our time, but rather what balance makes you feel fulfilled or content in all those pillars or all those areas of your life at any one present moment in time.

I think when you asked that question, I don't know if it was deliberate, I think it was quite interesting how you asked it. So the phrase, ‘when evaluating our own well-being,’ it's present tense. It suggests that this is something that is live. It's something we're doing all the time. So this evaluation of our well-being is an ongoing action. So when we evaluate our own well-being and we're trying to decide at that present moment, whether the balance we have is working for us, whether we feel content, whether we're feeling those feelings of happiness. I think instead of thinking about how well-being is divided, I think it's like I mentioned just before, it's taking that pause and a step back – almost doing a stop check – and reflecting on what may be out of balance, what might we have less of. [These] are the areas of your life that you need to spend more or less time on. And reflecting on what may be causing stress or happiness. What impact is this then having and then considering actually how is that making us feel? So looking at the emotions, are we experiencing those feelings associated with happiness or joy or pleasure or has there been an increase in the negative emotions that we're experiencing and why might that be? You can then start to use that information to think what may we need to change? And I think this is where a model like PERMA is really helpful where you get to that point of, ‘Okay, I've recognized something's out of balance. I recognize it's making me feel like this.’ You can start to think what do you want to focus on first? What may need to change? What is out of balance? What can you do to rectify this? And it could be that one part of our well-being is out of balance. We can acknowledge this. We understand why. There's a reason for it.

And then the other pillars or other areas of our life can almost bolster this for a time. So we might start to lean on other aspects of our well-being, but I think this is quite key. So when if we are experiencing stress, if part of our well-being is impacted because of that – be that our work-life balance, be that the positive emotions we're experiencing – and we can acknowledge that and we understand why it's happening.

When we experience that prolonged period of stress, how long can those other pillars of well-being support and bolster that area? Because actually if that goes on for a long time, what other impact is that stress going to start to have? Can those other pillars bolster that forever? And if not, what happens when the other pillars of our well-being start to be impacted as well?

What wider impact does that have on our resilience? I think it's an interesting perspective because I've often heard that people say, not necessarily to me, but in conversations, how are you so resilient? Nothing ever seems to bother you. I don't know how you manage with that, but these people absolutely can and do still experience stress and they can definitely then still have that resilience impacted.

It's not just because you've been resilient in one situation that then you're resilient and can cope with anything. It's that consistent stopping and checking, not necessarily dividing our well-being, but actually regularly taking that time to pause, reflect, being aware of what and why something is out of balance.

And then what we can do to readdress this – that is most important. I think that consistent evaluation, looking at what is out of balance, be it the relationships in our life or other support that will help us mitigate that impact of stress and will help us to- I was going to say protect, but promote our resilience.
MS: For people who may not be as familiar with the term, what exactly is resilience? I know I've heard it a lot before and I know it's related to stress. How would you define it? 

MH: Again, there are so many different definitions. And I remember in a previous role, trying to work on a resilience guide. And I spent most of my time just trying to define resilience. I've heard it described as almost ‘bounce ability’ – that ability to bounce back and to come at something – a task, a situation – with the same kind of energy as before. So during those stressful situations, during those difficult periods, to be able to get through that situation, get through that period of stress, and to bounce back like it hasn't affected you. So it's that wraparound of our well-being. So when something stressful happens, it's actually not impacting any of our pillars of our well-being because we've got that resilience. We can bounce back from it. I think it is so much more than that though. 
MS: I love that visual that you just gave. For people who might not be watching video, the wraparound Melissa made a ball shape, like a sphere shape with her hands. And the resilience is kind of the outer bounce ability, the outer tension, so that your pillars of well-being inside the sphere are protected. And it's almost like this rubber shell. I think of it like a tennis ball that has the rubber coating on the outside. I love that visual. I just wanted to call that out. 

MH: I talk with my hands all the time as well. [laughter] I can't stop it. 

MS: [laughter] No, no, no. It's good. It's great. So for people listening, this whole video of the podcast recording will also be on YouTube to watch. If you're listening now and you want to see us doing all the talking with our hands – I'll try and say it out loud for the people who are listening – but the video will be on there too. But yeah, that's just a great visual of resilience. I had never thought of it that way.

MH: And I think in short, if I can give a succinct answer to at least one of your questions- 

MS: No succinct answers necessary. This is what this is for. [laughter]

MH: [laughter] I think for me, resilience is that wraparound around our well-being. And I think when I say we need to do a pause, we need to do a stock check and check in with our well-being.
I think the reason why that is so important to protect that wraparound support around our well-being is to protect our resilience and our ability to manage with life and work stresses. Because I think it's so easy if one part of our well-being starts to get a little bit impacted, and if we're not paying attention to it and it carries on into another part, that we can get to the point where we've lost some of that protection. And things within work and out of work can start to have a real impact on our health. 

MS: That makes sense. Especially what you said before of it affecting your physical health. If you are under stress for long enough, there's definitely physical signs that you see, that affect you. I'm going back and forth cause I want to ask about the psychology part of well-being, but I also want to ask about specifically the MBTI personality part of well-being. But the MBTI personality part falls under the psychology part. 

That's my next question I have for you – when it comes to psychology and what that has to do with well-being and where psychologists or people who study psychology might have insights into well-being. And then specifically, my second question is obviously MBTI personality type and well-being.

MH: I feel like this should be a really easy question to answer. It's kind of making me think a little bit about some of the conversations I've had with friends over the years. As each of myself and my friends have progressed in our careers, some of them have gone on to pursue promotions or leadership roles. I pursue my professional chartership, so I'm a chartered occupational psychologist. And they've often asked for my thoughts on different situations or conversations they need to have with individuals that they lead or teams that they lead around well-being, around reasonable adjustments in the workplace, around return-to-work support that might be needed.

And sometimes they've been really blunt because there's nothing like your friends to ask you a really direct question like, ‘What do you actually do? What is your job? What do you do day-to-day?’ And they ask me this in that kind of tone. So I think if we look at that question from the perspective of- if there's a CE of a company who is looking for a well-being lead or looking to improve well-being, why should they look to a psychologist to undertake that role? What can psychologists offer employers in terms of well-being? 

I think to answer your question, I'd probably say psychology is so varied. It's so wide ranging. And I think that's one of the things that really attracted the degree to me many years ago at 18, looking at what I was going to do at University. I find psychology fascinating because it is so wide ranging and varied and it's through the human mind and our behavior. Psychology can look at how we process information and make decisions and what can influence this. An psychology looks at ways in which the environment and different messaging strategies can influence our subconscious and how likely that is then to influence whether we engage in positive behaviors or not. And I think it's that real multifaceted outlook and reach. 

For another visual, I almost see it as like a spider reaching its legs out. That makes psychology absolutely essential to that discussion of well-being. And I think if we take an example that looks at the workplace. In the UK, traditionally, if someone's experiencing ill health in work – be that physical, emotional, mental health – they would be referred to something called occupational health where they have an assessment by a doctor or nurse and be provided with a set of recommendations outlining the workplace support that's needed.

I don't believe occupational health exists in the same way in the US. You may be referred to your primary care physician or if your company does have an employee assistance program, you'd be able to access that support or adjustments from there. Traditionally – and it might be the same with yourselves in the US – traditionally, occupational health or other services tends to follow that medical model. They look to your symptoms – what physical or environmental support could be provided, such as blood pressure. medication or ergonomic assessment, a functional capacity evaluation, potentially changes to duties or working patterns. And these adjustments are absolutely needed. I'm not trying to take away from this approach at all.

The point I'm trying to make is, in the field of well-being, psychology is able to provide that holistic insight. It's able to pull together all those approaches and consider all the different aspects of the environment, the individual, their support network. And I think psychology or psychologists provide that depth of insight. They look under the surface of what is happening. What is the root cause of a concern? And then they work with individuals or groups to really identify the long-term solutions that are needed. 

I don't think psychology has to be the only voice in this conversation. I think it's ideally placed to be part of that discussion because of the kind of breadth and depth of insights that we draw upon.
It is by no means the only voice, but psychology should definitely have a voice in that conversation.

MS: What about personality type in psychology? Obviously, specifically the [MBTI] since we are on The Myers-Briggs Company Podcast. I know that there's lots of personality assessments. I know we publish a few of them, but there are many out there. But when it comes to Jungian MBTI personality type – I know that MBTI and stress because we've, we've done lots of things over the years about stress and type – that there's certain things that might stress me out as someone who prefers INFJ versus something that might stress you. And I don't think I asked your MBTI type either.

MH: I'm an INFP. 

MS: Oh, okay. I’m an INFJ.

MH: We're quite close. Just one letter. 

MS: What does, if anything, personality type have to do with someone's individual well-being?

MH: It's a really fascinating question because it's so common and this will probably resonate with a lot of people who either work with MBTI questionnaires as independent practitioners or work with other personality assessments that are available.

It's really common when we're working with clients for them to ask us, ‘Are some profiles better? Are there happier profiles that are more resilient profiles than other types?’ It doesn't matter how much we can explain the concept of type theory or what we mean by preference. There's still this idea that there must be a better type to be, especially when we're talking about misdemeanors or stress, there must be a better type to be or a better type that can cope under periods of stress.

And there's some research that's been conducted by researchers with The Myers Briggs Company, and they conducted this research across 2016 to 18, so a three year period. It was published in 2019. They looked at the link between MBTI type and well-being and specifically in terms of the most effective activities or support that would have the most positive impact on a person's well-being.

In this research, participants completed a survey which was aligned with – I'm going to take a step out of my explanation. There's a model that The Myers Briggs Company used that's not dissimilar to PERMA, but it's called the PREMAN model. The PREMAN model was born out of this research. I'll explain at the end what PREMAN means, but it's not dissimilar to PERMA that we've just discussed.

In this research, participants completed a survey that was aligned to the PREMAN model, so looking at the pillars of well-being, and they also completed the MBTI Step One questionnaire. So the research looked at the participant's MBTI type, their scores along PREMAN, and their overall scores for well-being. And they were able to find some really interesting information or findings that do suggest that our personality or our personality type does have an influence on our well-being and the type of support we're most likely to engage with or how we're likely to engage with support. 

One of the key findings was that overall scores of well-being tended to be lower in people with a preference for Introversion. So people with a preference for Introversion also reported a slightly higher frequency of negative emotions compared to people with the preference for Extraversion. 

That concept around negative emotions is what is unique to the PREMAN model. So it's what the N stands for in PREMAN – it's negative emotions. Because what this research identified was that it's the absence of or the reduction of negative emotions that is also important for our well-being. This research found that people with a preference for Introversion reported a slightly higher frequency of experiencing negative emotions compared to people with a preference for Extraversion. 

They also identified that the lowest overall score of well-being related to people with an ISTP type, with the highest well-being score being for an ENFP type. There's quite a slight difference if you look at the statistics in it. It's quite a slight difference, but important to think that actually an ISTP and an ENFP differ on three preferences, Extraversion—Introversion, Sensing—Intuition, Thinking—Feeling, which really does suggest our personality has an influence on our well-being or how we're experiencing well-being, and what well-being looks like for us.

As I was looking through the research a while back, what the research couldn't identify, which I think will be a really interesting next step to explore, is why those people with a preference for Extraversion were reporting higher levels of well-being. And it may be that that work environments more readily reflect Extraversion preferences so they have their preferences met more frequently. Or that those who have a preference for Extraversion are more likely to report positive well-being through the likelihood that they might interact more with discussions and engage with others. We were talking earlier about relationships having such a key importance – how likely for people with a preference Extraversion to engage in that part and therefore report higher levels of overall well-being.

MS: My instant thought when you said that people who prefer Introversion reported slightly lower on well-being, just in general. My thought was, ‘Oh that's because not everyone who prefers Introversion gets to work from home like some of us do.’ Most people who prefer Introversion might be a lot happier if they got to work from home because they get to control the amount of interaction that they have versus the amount of like alone time in their head they have.

And I know personally, as someone who works from home, I get a good amount of quiet time and that's great for me. I really appreciate that. I know there's probably lots of factors that go into it, but that's just the first one that popped into my head.

MH: Yeah. Those people who have that preference for Extraversion. So yeah, like I said, people that preference for introversion reporting a slightly higher frequency of negative emotions compared to people who preference for Extraversion is just really interesting. When you think, why is it that people with a preference for Extraversion are the reporting those higher scores on well-being? What is it about the environment? And I think working from home is a really interesting one, especially. I don't know what it's like in the US, but there's definitely a move in the UK of come back into the office, of employers wanting people to come back into the office and the discussion around. I'd be surprised if it wasn't.

So it'll be really fascinating to think actually what influence has being able to work from home had on the well-being of people with a preference for Introversion. And like you said, being able to control and have essentially control over those interactions that they may not have had before. I think it'll be a really interesting step to explore why those people with a preference for Extroversion are reporting those higher levels of well-being. And over the next few years as potentially we do move back to office space working, what impact does that have? 

MS: Yeah. When it makes me think of the Susan Cain book, Quiet. And the subtitle is, I think it's ‘ The power of Introverts in a world that can't stop talking.’ Like you said, are a lot of businesses and things – and a lot of cultures, well, especially a lot of Western cultures – definitely veer towards Extraversion being the preferred method of interaction or the preference that's more dominant and more valued generally. That makes me want to say what if we looked at the countries where like maybe culturally, Introversion is a lot more accepted and valued – I wonder if that would still- This study was global, right? 

MH: I think it was about across about 10,000 people in about 130, 131 countries. So it is a global sample. Yeah, definitely. It was done across 2016, 17, 18. So obviously pre-COVID. 

MS: Right before COVID. 

MH: The way we work has changed a significant amount. So it would be interesting to see what the impact of, COVID has had of returning to the office may have, definitely. 

MS: We'll see if we get any comments that say, ‘Hey, we want that follow up research.’ We'll go bug our research team [and say] ‘We did this podcast and we have this great idea. We need this follow-up study.’ [laughter]

MH: [laughter] ‘Over to you.’ There's just so many other things. If we've got time, there's a couple of findings that I thought were quite interesting to your question. 

MS: I’d love to hear them. 

MH: It's a little bit hard to explain them without just really quickly explaining what PREMAN was. So PREMAN stands for Positive emotions, Relationships, Engagement, Meaning, Accomplishment, and Negative emotions. So it's that N, the negative emotions, that makes this model quite unique because this research did identify that the reduction in or the absence of experiences of distress of negative emotions is part of our well-being. It makes sense. 

Part of the research was participants were asked to rank order the six variables of the PREMAN model in order of the impact it had on well-being. So like I said, in PREMAN model, the relationship part refers to mutual feelings of caring, support, and satisfaction – so to what extent do we have those meaningful relationships with those around us that contain mutual feelings of care, support, and satisfaction. And it was this aspect of well-being – relationships – that was found to be the highest-rated factor for well-being across all types apart from three. So it has such a big impact on our well-being, the relationship part of our well-being.

And I mentioned that apart from an INTJ, an ESTJ and an ENTJ. So an INTJ rated accomplishment as the highest factor. Whereas an ESTJ and an ENTJ rated meaning as the highest factor contributing to their workplace well-being. So generally, relationships. But there was a couple of differences between the types in terms of accomplishment and meaning also being really important.

MS: As someone who doesn't do research frequently, that's so interesting to think that across 10,000 people in 130 countries that there are similarities between type in rating these six things, and these three types did not rate relationship. They related relationship second, but accomplishment and meaning first. That's fascinating. 

MH: I was going to say relationships was still up there. It's still a really important part of well-being, but it's just that for those types, accomplishment and meaning actually had more of an impact on their well-being or were rated as being more important than relationships.

MS: Which I feel like would be really important to know if you know your MBTI type and you're trying to increase your own well-being or your happiness – but generally we know now well-being is the bigger overarching one and happiness is a little part of the well-being. But yeah, I feel like knowing that would make a big difference. 

MH: If you look at it in terms of what this research would suggest that employers could do this kind of information, because I know we talk about the individual and knowing this information is absolutely really important. Because actually if you're a INTJ and accomplishment meant something to you, and if you're in the workplace, you may really benefit from looking at, okay, what are the goals I want to work towards? What do I need to do in order to achieve them? So that kind of achievement of the goals is going to be really important for you.

And if there are barriers in the way, what can you do to remove those barriers, to address those barriers so you can achieve that accomplishment. And so it’s really important for the individual to understand, but I think also from the perspective of an employer, they would really benefit from taking the time to consider how they can build meaningful relationships or create a culture that would enable this, but also how can they create opportunities for meaning and accomplishment. 

So taking the first step of actually understanding the needs of interests of an employee, looking at the roles and trying to align them to what those needs and interests are, or creating that flexibility where an employee can shape their own role and engage with work that aligns to. Things that they find important and things that they want to accomplish.

And I know that's easier said than done. Some workplaces may have a really rigid way of doing something. I don't like the word rigid. They might have a very specific way of doing something or they might be mandated to do something in a certain way. And it means that there might be less flexibility there to enable an employee to engage in work or only engage in work that's gonna meet their interest or give them meaning or accomplishment. 

But I also think this kind of information is really helpful to an employer, to line managers even, to start to think, ‘How can we shape some of these roles that meets what that person's going to need in terms of their personality and in terms of how that will influence their well-being?’ Does that make sense? I feel like I may have gone off on a bit of a tangent there. 

MS: It makes sense. It's interesting because the going back and forth between the well-being of individuals, but then most people spend so much of their time, their life at work, that it makes sense that the well-being part at work would be a huge part of your overall well-being just because of the amount of time that you spend at work. 


MS:  Before we move on to well-being at work, just one last question, which is if you could give someone one piece of advice, one takeaway for individuals, not managers or work, but just individuals on how can people increase their well-being, what would that be?

MH: I will try and be really specific here. I think my one piece, or my first piece of advice, would be really to be conscious about taking that pause and to stop, check. And whether you use the PREMAN model or a different approach, actually consciously stopping, pausing, and checking in with the different parts of your well-being. Really taking that time to recognize when something might be out of balance and acknowledging what might be causing that and what we can do.

How is that making you feel and what can you do to rectify that and to address it? I think through that regular check-in with our well-being is when we're going to be able to identify when something actually needs to be done because we can all work under stressful conditions and manage relatively well with that.

But unless we're doing that constant check-in, unless we're quite consistent in looking at our well-being and reflecting and seeing if things are still in balance with the working for us, it's quite easy for that stress to get prolonged. And it can be quite quick for it to start to really impact our well-being.

We talked about that kind of visual of the globe, that kind of resilience, that protective piece around our well-being. And if we're not checking in, a little bit of stress builds and builds and builds and start to impact that protective sphere around our well-being. That is probably my one piece of advice.
MS: How often is regular? How often should we be doing regular checks? Because I know for me, I am a person who is go, go, go all the time. Very Type A. Very ‘trying to do all the things’ because I'm interested in so many things, but I usually only stop and do the check when I'm really stressed because I realize something's really wrong, but I probably don't. So what good, regular cadence could we start with? 

MH: I'll be hesitant to put a number on it because again, it goes back to everyone's going to be different personally. I'll tend to do it daily. And sometimes it's a really quick thing of at the end of the day, I will think, okay, how's the day gone? What have I got on tomorrow? And I'm almost asking myself when I say, what have I got on tomorrow, I'm thinking, have I got the resources in me to deal with what's coming tomorrow? Have I got the resilience to deal with that? Is there anybody I need to speak to in terms of relationships? 

I think for me, I do it sometimes. I do it daily, and it's not something that I have to physically stop and spend a great deal of time on. But it's almost that kind of internal conversation with yourself to say, actually where am I? Sometimes I'm doing it daily quite quick, and sometimes you can have a longer period of time and you may stop and take a longer time to reflect. I just think if there's anyone listening to this that thinks, ‘Oh, I never do that.’ Or, like you've just said, unless it gets to the point where I know something's wrong.

It's almost about doing it really consciously at the start and doing it maybe daily to get yourself used to thinking about how you're feeling, what might be out of balance, what impact is that having? And like a lot of things, the more you're doing that, the more it becomes part of your day-to-day question to yourself, the more aware of your well-being – and when it's being impacted – you'll become 

MS: Do it before it starts to feel really . . . 

MH: Essentially that. Yeah, so if there's anyone listening, that is my one piece of advice around how to kind of support your own. If you're aware that you let things get to a point where you're either exhausted. It breaks my heart when people I've spoken to in the past have said, ‘I've cried at work today because of the workload, because of conflict with a colleague or a manager.’ No one should be crying at work. I know it does happen, and I just think how we need to get to the point before that happens. We need to be trying to not get to the point where we're crying at work because we've let that little bit of stress, like I said earlier, creep up and creep in and start to have a real impact. 

MS: That's great. I love that piece of advice. I'm going to start thinking, even if it's just a minute before I go to sleep, I will check in. ‘How are you doing today? How was today? What's coming tomorrow?’

MH: It's just so interesting because again, looking at it from the employer perspective, an employer can make a change that, to them, seems really quite simple. It can be a change in shift pattern. It can be a change in office location that you're working from, and they may not envisage the impact. Or they might consider the impact on people in terms of if you're working a day shift and then you go to night shift. Or if you work in a different office location, they might think actually how much longer is it going to take for the workforce to travel? What are the costs involved in that? But actually what is the impact on us? There was a colleague I worked with previously that explained this perfectly – that you might be on day shift and you might be doing a really difficult job, a high volume of demand, real high scrutiny, and criticality. And you might have an amazing network of people on your shift that actually really plays into that relationship part of our well-being that we were talking about. And then for whatever reason – it could be you've got a childcare demand or a current commitment. It could be that your employer makes a slight change, and suddenly you go on to a night shift.

Initially, I would probably think nothing more of like, ‘Oh, that's going to be quite difficult to get into the pattern of sleeping or how much sleep I'm realistically going to get in the day?’ And if we don't stop and do a stop check, what we don't realize is that the relationship part of our well-being that was really solid has changed quite a bit because who's on that night shift? Do we know them as well? Do we feel as comfortable talking to them about things that are going on as the people that we might have been on the day shift with? And actually if they're not . . . it makes it a little bit more difficult for us to step into the relationships that we may have had before and before we know it, the relationship part of our well-being is, by an innocuous change in shift patterns or working location, has actually started to have quite an impact on one part of our well-being. Because it's not to say people who work on day shifts and night shifts don't interact, but that interaction becomes harder.

I've got a really good friend that works night shifts and it takes a lot of work and a lot of conversation to really maintain our friendship because our lives are going like ships passing, I think is the phrase I'm looking for. So it's that point actually, there can be a really small change, a really small bit of stress. Something that happens if we're not checking in and being aware of how that's actually impacting, it can start to have quite an impact. I'm using my hands again. 

MS: Yeah, that's such a great example. Because things at work change all the time. Change, for a lot of people, is a normal part of just being at work. And it could be something that's so small that a manager or someone thinks, ‘Oh, I'll just put this person on night shift for a couple of weeks and it'll be fine. And then they can go back.’ But not thinking about the repercussions of how that might affect well-being at work. 

I do want to get into the well-being at work conversation because I know that there's a lot here too. I know that, us as individuals, we can do so much to increase our own well-being, but we spend a lot of time at work. I think it's a third of our life – it’s a third of the life is at work, a third of the life is sleeping, and then the rest is weekends. But when it comes to what companies can do, what are the things that a company could do from their side to increase an employee’s well-being at work?

MH: Companies will have all different resources. There's employee assistance programs or EAPs, and they can include things like access to remote or in-person therapy, telephone support, online resources, guidance, meditation, access to different health apps.

But some companies will take this further and build a well-being culture throughout their organization. This can be done by embedding it into an onboarding process or even the recruitment processes. It can be about providing line managers with specific training, embedding skills. I'm going to hesitate here because I don't know if it's a UK or an international, so there's mental health first aid. It’s where people are qualified and having those conversations around not just mental health, but around well-being, so that becomes part of a mandatory training. So people can at least have a conversation. 

It's a little bit like what I said before – it's also about employers thinking of how do we create opportunities for meaningful relationships to develop? So if we're saying relationships are having – across MBTI type, apart from the three I mentioned – are having the most impact on well-being, how do employers create the opportunities for that? And there's also some outcomes in the research that The Myers-Briggs Company did that said for employees to have autonomy in their role, to be able to shape their role as well. How do employers create that autonomy?

There was a really interesting paper that I read a little while ago that was published by Deloitte and it was based in 2022 and I'm just looking at the corner of my screen and thinking, oh that's actually two years ago already. That's ridiculous. It doesn't feel like it.

MS: It really doesn't feel like it.

MH: So, yeah, they released a paper called Mental Health and Employers: the Case for Investment. And it had some really interesting information that looked at the return on investment by type of intervention. How I feel this information can be used, it starts to indicate what kind of support employees could really try and focus their attention to if they're wanting to have a real impact on employees’ well-being. I don't know if the phrase ‘sticking plaster’ translates, but you just don't want to put a little plaster over an issue. Or a tick box exercise, does that translate? 

MS: Oh, okay. Yeah. 

MH: So sticking plaster – if you just want to put a little plaster over an issue, it's not really going to do anything, but it'll hold it in place for a time being. 

MS: It's like the Taylor Swift [lyric] ‘Band Aids don't fix bullet holes.’

MH: Yes. Yes. Perfect. [laughter]

MS: Got the Taylor Swift reference in there. [laughter]

MH: Love it. So the Deloitte findings can really- employers could really start to use it to think actually, if we want to have a real impact on our well-being, this is what we could be doing. Some of the specific findings that I found really interesting – apologies, I'm going to quote some numbers and they are in pounds. But I think the point should translate. So organization-wide early intervention – such as cultural change programs, raising awareness around well-being and mental health – has the greatest return on investment of five pounds, sixty for every one pound spent.

MS: Wow. So for every one pound spent – one pound sterling, the return is five point six?

MH: Yeah, it’s the highest one.

MS: It's like a five-hundred percent ROI.

MH: I was going to say, math is not my strong point. It has a return on investment of five pounds, sixty P for every one pound spent. And proactive interventions that are introduced at an early stage have a return of investment of a little bit less – five pounds for every one pound spent. 

And then our reactive interventions. Those interventions are only introduced once an employee's health has started to deteriorate. So now we are stepping into that space of talking about mental health. So when somebody has experienced stress and they may have reported it to their manager and reported it again, and that stress becomes prolonged and it starts to impact their mental health and that employee's health has begun to deteriorate. These reactive interventions have the lowest return on investment of three pounds, forty P for every one pound spent. 

It does suggest that the more employers do proactively upfront to support well-being, the most likely impact it’s going to have. So there's reactive interventions when someone's well-being isn't being supported and mental health does begin to arise, have the least impact and return on investment. And it's interesting again – apologies, I'm going to reference the CIPD, which is the Chartered Institute for Personnel Development. it's a professional body in the UK and they do some fantastic research and provide guidance to HR professionals. Absolutely worth a look on their website. They have some really, really interesting research around well-being and they also release some-

MS: Are they CIPD[dot]UK?

MH: Yes. So it stands for Chartered Institute for Personnel Development, but yes, CIPD[dot]UK. They did some research, which was published in 2022 and it again is based in the UK, but it was across 804 organizations, I think. They were looking at what are organizations actually doing with regards to well-being?

They found that fifty-one percent of organizations are taking that strategic approach, so trying to embed that proactive organization-wide approach that is likely to have the most impact. In a really negative way, I'd argue that's only half of employers that are doing it while the other half are only doing the reactive. Let's take the positive half of those organizations. 

MS: And I feel like the reactive is kind of the default of what companies normally do. 

MH: Yeah I think that it isn't necessarily all about the return on investment, about what employers can get back, but organizations – which I'm sure it translates to the US – they're always being tasked to do more with less. We want you to do this, but you've got last resource or this resource has been cut – we want you to do everything plus more. Resources can be fairly scarce and sometimes if you've got that finite limited resources, I think this kind of information employers can start to use.

So if we've only got a bit of resources, how can we use it that has the most meaningful, most wide- reaching impact on employees well- being? I think the point from, going back to the Deloitte report, that stood out for me was that they recommended that employers should be taking what they called a ‘portfolio approach’ to support well-being.

Everyone's going to need something slightly different. And we discussed it earlier, that depending on someone's Extraversion or Introversion preference, they may engage with support in a different way. That might look a bit different for them. Or they may rate something that builds a relationship greater or more important than engaging in a task that brings them meaning or accomplishment, which adds that concept of having that portfolio approach. So not just one approach that targets everything, but really looking strategically at how can we address well-being? What are all the things that we might need to consider as an employer?

MS: It's good. It's a lot to think about, but I don't want to say it's disheartening, but when I think about it – personally, in the twenty some years I've been in the workforce, I think there's only this company that I'm at right now that I've actually seen any sort of proactive well-being program.

And I know it's – well, I assume – that it's become more common in recent years than in previous years. But those numbers are pretty astounding when it comes to the return for proactive versus reactive and where you could invest. I also did look up by the way, it's CIPD[dot]org is the website in case anyone wants to go check it out.

MH: I'm just trying to find the name of the Deloitte paper. It's Deloitte Mental health and Employers: The Case for Investment, March 2022. It’s got some really interesting return on investment information. They've also got information around the type of intervention and the different ways in which you can target different areas of the workforce, for example. So again, I think that would be a fascinating paper to read as well. 

MS: I'll make sure to link the, the CIPD website, the Deloitte report and The Myers-Briggs website.

MH: Definitely. 

MS: If it's YouTube, it's in the comments. If you're listening to it in audio, I'll put it in the show notes. But yeah, such good information. So I know you mentioned the Deloitte report and CIPD. Was there anything when it came to MBTI type at work that The Myers-Briggs Company research said about well-being at work? 

MH: Yes, so we looked a little bit there around Extraversion, Introversion. The research did identify outcomes that looked at patterns between effectiveness of the different strategies and MBTI type. We know that personality can influence how we may respond to [and] experience well-being. But what impact does that have on the strategies you engage in as individuals? So what the research was able to identify was that there were similarities again across types, but the differences related to what could be expected or what we would expect of opposite types.

For example, those with a preference for Extraversion rated activities that involved others as being effective for their well-being. Whereas those people with a preference for Introversion tend to engage in activities that may not involve other people. So actually the activities themselves were relatively similar across type, but how people were likely to engage with them or who they might do that with could be quite different.

It kind of makes sense when we look at the key characteristics of Extraversion, Introversion, or any of the preferences really, They did also identify some findings around age, occupation, and gender as well. So the findings suggested that there were differences in the level of well-being between occupational groups and age in that well-being scores tended to increase with age.

So if we look specifically at the kind of age categories, the youngest age group in The Myers-Briggs Company research was eighteen to twenty-four years old, and they reported the lowest levels of well-being. The oldest age group of sixty-five plus reported the highest levels of well-being. And then when we look to occupational groups, the results suggest that occupations that experienced the highest levels of well-being were education and training, library occupations, healthcare practitioner, technical occupations, and community and social services.

Whereas those occupational categories that tend to experience the lowest levels of well-being for personal care and personal service, production occupations, and food preparation, food services. I think it's really important that it kind of suggests that it's not only our personality that influences our well-being, but it goes back to exactly what we said at the start about how well-being involves so many different things and it's so encompassing. It's also the role that we're doing, it's the environment, the kind of tasks that we undertake also have a play on our well-being. 

In terms of gender, the results, I find this really interesting, actually, the results found that men and women tend to have similar levels of overall well-being, but they reported different levels of well-being across the pillars of PREMAN. Women reported slightly higher levels of engagement and positive emotions compared to men. That suggests that in the workplace, women's well-being may be most supported or most impacted by emotions that link with the level of interest and enjoyment they experience from their work. Whereas in comparison, men tend to experience positive emotions less frequently than women, and they have lower levels of engagement, meaning, and accomplishment. 

And it would suggest that employers would benefit from looking at ways of addressing some of those factors. So what is inhibiting men's experience of positive emotions in the workplace? What can we do to encourage engagement, meaning, and accomplishment? And how can employers support that link with the level of interest and enjoyment that people experience? There's quite a lot in terms of kind of strategies people might want to engage in and the kind of initiatives that might be effective. It's a really interesting piece of research to read through. 

MS: And it sounds like there's also just a lot of different cross sections that you can look at- like occupational type. I'm sure all that occupational level is in there, gender, and then also MBTI type. Yeah, definitely linking that in there. 

Now that you've given me all this information, I feel like the question I had, I need to break into three different questions. Because what I wanted to ask is what advice do you have for workplaces looking to better well-being? But now I feel like I need to ask . . . what advice do you have for workplaces? And then what advice do you have for HR or people in the people development / hiring / HR space for well-being? And then line managers too, because we've covered individual, but I feel like now we have those three different levels. I know that's a lot, so we'll start with the highest level advice you have for company leaders, say CEO. We'll do a CEO level. And then I'll ask the other two. 

MH: I think workplaces need to consider opportunities for how they can build relationships or for how relationships can be built, how they can create a culture where spending time building relationships and valuing the relationships we have at work. What does that culture look like? And I think it's how you build it in from the start of an employee's career with an organization. So for a CEO, how do you develop that strategic perspective? What opportunities are there for well-being to embedded from the start of that employee's career would be my piece of advice for your CEO.

If you're looking at that, so if somebody joins your company, what's your recruitment advert saying? What are you recruiting for? What's your competencies or values or strengths that you're recruiting for and actually goes for promotions as well? So what are you valuing in terms of the leaders that you're promoting throughout the company? Because that can start to send a message in terms of – I hope I'm not speaking out of turn and I'm sure this will resonate with people who are listening – that sometimes people are promoted because they're actually technically really good at their job, but they may not have those people skills that are needed to actually then lead and manage people and have those sometimes quite difficult conversations with people around their well-being and around their behavior. 

I think from a CEO perspective, it's that strategic approach of how do you build in and create those opportunities, but how do you give your workforce and your managers, the skills with which then deliver that? Because some people might find it really easy to have that conversation or it might come quite naturally, but it can be quite hard for some people as well. 

MS: And those are skills then that people can learn. If I'm a manager who has great technical prowess, but maybe not the best at checking in on my employees and their well-being, like being able to have those conversations or know what to ask, what to look for. Those sorts of things are skills that are learnable. 

MH: If we look at line managers then, or employers in general, so employers would benefit from taking that time to get to know their employees. What are their interests and needs? What learning and development do they want to engage in? So both the employer and the employee can understand how they can be aligned to the role that the employee goes on to do. So really creating that opportunity for meaning engagement to develop. And I think it's quite hard to stick. And it came out of the CIPD research that for the majority of organizations they surveyed, it was the responsibility of the line manager to have these kinds of conversations.

However, at the same time, only thirty-eight percent of the organizations that participated in the survey agreed that line managers were confident to have sensitive discussions or to signpost people. So it's quite a- I don't want to end a podcast on that kind of note, but in the UK, management style remains amongst one of the most common causes of stress at work.

And I think we ask a lot of our line managers and the tasks they’re doing a lot. And you may have been promoted through no fault of your own without any of that support, without any of that development and learning of those skills that you need in order to lead people. And I think that is a piece of advice I'd give to a CEO or a piece of advice I'd give to learning and development professionals that actually we need to look at what skills you're embedding from your very first line leader right up to senior manager to promote well-being and to have conversations.

I think that can be part of a recruitment process and onboarding process. It can be part of a leadership development program. We could be assessing for those skills as part of a promotion or a selection process. So I think when we say employers need to take time to understand the needs and interests of their employees, absolutely agree with that. Who is responsible for doing that? And do they have the skills to have these conversations and then be able to do something meaningful with that information too? She might be great at having that conversation, but then do you know how to put that into place? 

MS: That makes me think of . . . the statistics of when they do exit interviews of why people are most likely to leave positions, the majority of the time, it's people's relationships with their managers. And the common phrase – I don't know if you've heard it before; I know it's common in the US – is that ‘People don't leave jobs. People leave managers.’

MH: Yeah. I've heard that one, definitely.

MS: And now when you're saying this, I'm thinking, ‘Oh, that makes sense.’ And the whole reason we're talking about this and talking about what workplaces can do, or CEOs, HR, line managers, is because you want to keep the people at work that are good. You don't want your employees leaving. That’s hard for HR, that’s hard for the organization. Not a great look for the company, but also it makes things a lot more difficult than replacing employees, costs a lot more.

MH: Huge cost. 

MS: I think the stats are anywhere between – and obviously it varies if you're replacing someone who's on the production floor versus someone who's a CEO – but anywhere between one hundred twenty percent to like five hundred percent of that employee's salary to find a replacement for them. 

MH: Oh wow. Did not know that.

MS: We've put it in an infographic before. But yeah, most of the time it costs more to replace the employee than it does for them to stay and just pay them their salary just because of the turnover, the negative effect on the people that they're working with. And especially with what you're saying with relationships, even that, daytime to nighttime shift that you were talking about, if one person leaves on a team and that person had a lot of really close relationships, I'm thinking about the negative emotions that are then going to affect the rest of the people on the team, and not just them picking up the other person's work and that sort of thing.

MH: Again, it goes back to what we said, it's having that regular check-in with your own well-being and whether something's in balance in that moment and if it's working for you. Because absolutely, if one person leaves, you might initially think, ‘Oh, that means extra workload. When are we going to do a handover? When's the new person starting?’ But actually it could be the relationship part of your well-being that you might not necessarily think to check in on first – which actually has, as we discussed, quite a significant impact on our well-being.

MS: This has been great. There's so much good information in here. I want to go back and listen to it now. Anything else that I haven't asked that you want to include or that we didn't get to cover before we wrap up?  

MH: There's a lot that employers can do and there's a lot that employees can do. So do you think it's an individual can do things as well in terms of looking at their well-being, doing that check-in? The Myers-Briggs Company research did ask participants to rate activities in terms of effectiveness, and they had some common themes in work from an individual perspective about having autonomy in the role engaging and work that was of interest to them having the opportunity to learn and be challenged. That was very much what individuals can do in work to support their well-being. 

The research also looked at actually what they can do out of work. So they identified a number of out-of-work activities that were rated as effective such as spending time with friends and family, listening to or playing music, reading, focusing on the positives, exercising, playing sports.

What was really interesting was that the research was able to identify that the most effective way an individual can manage their well-being related to those positive experiences they had with friends and family. So again, highlighting that role of relationships in the management of our well-being as well. So, there's absolutely things that an employer can do but there's also some research findings around actually what would be effective for individuals to do. 

MS: What I heard when you said that was what individuals can do is play music, dance party, exercise, in the kitchen, with your family. That's what I got out of that. Individually. Okay. Exercise is the dance. Music. Relationships. Family. There we go. Dancing before you have dinner. [laughter]

MH: [laughter] And I would absolutely recommend looking at The Myers-Briggs Company research when you've linked it because there's a couple of pages that actually break down the strategies that have been found as effective for individuals by type.

And there's a lot of similarities, which is why I thought it's not going to be very interesting if I just start reading out the strategies for 16 different types, but they're the kind of highlights there that I've, just said, but absolutely they would recommend people looking at that information and thinking what applies to you, how effective is that gonna be for you? How do you want to engage in that? There's really interesting advice within the actual paper. 

MS: I have loved having you on this podcast. So much good information. Thank you so much, Melissa, for being on this episode. You shared so much amazing information. I really appreciate you and all the references to the specific research that you shared, and the statistics – that's something that a lot of people really like to hear and that's very impactful too. So I'll make sure I link all the research and the CIDP- oh, CIPD. There we go. 

MH: They've got some really great research. Definitely. 

MS: Thank you, and I look forward to talking to you again soon. 

MH: Fantastic. Thank you, Melissa.


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