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Why HR Doesn’t Have Time to Think About a Wellness Strategy & What It's Costing Your Company - Multi-part series: Ft. Lori-Ann Duguay

Inspired by, and featuring exclusive content from our Sept. 2022 Virtual Wellness Intensive with special guest, Lori-Ann Duguay, CEO of The People Person HR. Lori helps companies become that highly sought after employer where people want to work, stay and thrive! 

After working 21 years in government in a variety of roles, Lori realized she had basically become a tenant of the workplace tethered by the golden shackles of a good pension and benefits. She decided to combine her career experiences both inside and outside government as an HR Strategist, Talent Development Expert, Professional Coach, and Dispute Resolution Practitioner with her in-depth understanding of talent management and employee engagement to start her own company that teaches organizations and Leaders how to adopt a people-centered approach to leadership, talent development and conflict resolution.

Presenteeism, Quiet Quitting, Prioritizing Work-Life Balance & Purpose


Navigating Presenteeism & Quiet Quitting: Fostering a Thriving Work Environment Amidst the HR Exodus

In the corporate landscape, absenteeism often takes center stage as companies grapple with its tangible costs and productivity impact. However, a subtler yet more insidious issue, presenteeism, quietly lurks in the background, carrying greater risks and financial consequences. In this article, we explore the imperative of nurturing a workplace culture where employees don't merely clock in, but genuinely thrive in their roles, aligning their personal aspirations with the organization's overarching purpose.

The Hidden Costs of Presenteeism

Presenteeism, the phenomenon where employees show up to work but are not fully engaged or productive, is becoming a growing concern for modern enterprises. Unlike absenteeism, its adverse effects are often harder to quantify but can be far more detrimental. When employees physically occupy their workspaces without contributing their best efforts, it leads to reduced productivity, decreased innovation, and a decline in overall morale.

In the words of Lori-Ann Duguay, CEO of The People Person, HR, "At the end of the day, you really need to take the time to understand the needs and the preferences of your team, and really start to hone in on what it is they need to focus on, to be able to strategically create wellness programs that will have the impact that you intend it to have." To combat presenteeism, employers must delve into understanding the unique dynamics of their workforce and tailor wellness initiatives that resonate with employees' motivations and aspirations.

The Exodus of HR Employees

Amidst the discourse on presenteeism, another notable shift is taking place within organizations – a mass Exodus of HR employees. Organizations are witnessing a substantial departure of HR professionals, a trend that demands attention and introspection. This Exodus has far-reaching implications, as HR plays a pivotal role in shaping the work environment and fostering employee engagement.

Lori-Ann Duguay aptly states, "One in four employees are actually seeking work elsewhere." This statistic underscores the urgency for companies to reevaluate their approach to human resources. The traditional HR model is no longer sufficient; it's imperative to create an environment where HR professionals are not just managing transactions but are actively involved in creating a thriving workforce.

Cultivating a Culture of Purpose and Thriving

To navigate these challenges and reverse the Exodus, organizations must prioritize the creation of an empowering and purpose-driven work culture. Lori-Ann highlights the essence of this transformation, stating, "Attracting the talent you need to grow and to really evolve and to level up is about differentiating yourself, and about creating that culture that everybody wants to work for."

Leaders must redefine success metrics beyond mere attendance and focus on enabling employees to excel in their roles. This involves fostering a sense of purpose, offering growth opportunities, and facilitating an environment where individual contributions align with organizational goals.

Unveiling "Quiet Quitting": Navigating the Subtle Threat to Organizational Success

In the world of corporate dynamics, there's a phenomenon that has long been overshadowed by more overt challenges but has quietly wreaked havoc on employers and organizations for years. Termed "quiet quitting," this surreptitious occurrence has gained prominence in recent times, with the pandemic exacerbating its detrimental effects. Lets delve into the concept of quiet quitting, its repercussions, and how organizations can proactively tackle this issue to foster a culture of engagement and productivity.

The Unseen Threat: Defining Quiet Quitting

Quiet quitting is a nuanced phenomenon that transcends the traditional understanding of employees simply leaving their jobs. As aptly described by Lori-Ann, "It's really this notion of not actually quietly leaving your job, but you're actually there, but not doing much else. You're really just occupying space." This quiet departure from active engagement can be more insidious than a physical absence. Employees who are quiet quitters might appear present, but their disengagement erodes productivity, fosters toxicity, and saps the enthusiasm of their colleagues.

Economic Implications of Disengagement

Lori-Ann underscores the economic implications of disengagement, stating, "At the end of the day, even one disengaged employee is costing a company on average $3,400 for every $10,000 of annual salary." This staggering revelation highlights that disengagement doesn't just result in lost productivity; it directly impacts a company's bottom line. The financial toll becomes evident when considering the cumulative effect across the workforce.

Moreover, the repercussions extend beyond the mere financial realm. The unchecked disengagement of employees can give rise to workplace conflicts, leading to a toxic environment. Duguay further explains, "So if we do that math really quickly, we know that the average salary is not $10,000 out there, and that's only in lost revenue and production. So when you think about it, that's not even counting the time, cost, investment, and resources required to manage workplace conflict." The increase in conflicts and toxicity due to quiet quitting not only demoralizes employees but also demands valuable time and resources to address and mitigate.

Creating a Culture of Engagement

Amid this backdrop, organizations must proactively address quiet quitting to foster a culture of engagement, productivity, and growth. One powerful approach to uncover underlying issues is conducting a Gallup Survey. As Lori highlights, "In one company, the number one reason for leaving the company wasn't money and wasn't pay. It was because they did not feel valued or heard, and because they felt that there was no communication. They felt they didn't have the tools."

A Gallup Survey provides valuable insights into employee perceptions, giving organizations the tools to identify and rectify areas of concern. Through open communication, targeted training, and demonstrating genuine appreciation, employers can create an environment where employees are not only productive but also feel valued and motivated.

Ushering in a New Era: Prioritizing Work-Life Balance and Purpose in Post-Pandemic Organizations

The global pandemic served as a catalyst for transformation, reshaping the landscape of work and underscoring the significance of work-life balance like never before. As the dust begins to settle and organizations chart their course towards recovery, one crucial realization has emerged: there must be a better way to navigate the demands of modern work life. Let’s now focus on the newfound importance of work-life balance and the essential role of organizations in equipping their employees with purpose and clarity.

A Paradigm Shift: Work-Life Balance at the Forefront

The pandemic upheaval prompted a collective pause, allowing individuals to reevaluate their priorities and aspirations. Amidst the chaos, people began to take more time for themselves and their families, recognizing the urgency of attaining a healthier work-life balance. The traditional "survival mode" approach started to give way to a yearning for a more fulfilling and balanced way of living.

This shift was not only observed on an individual level but also echoed within organizations. Employers, too, recognized the need to reconfigure the work environment to better accommodate the well-being of their employees. As the lines between personal and professional spaces blurred, organizations began to acknowledge the decline in employee mental health, and the necessity of offering flexibility, remote work options, and the freedom to tailor work hours to individual needs.

Nurturing Purpose and Connection

However, the pursuit of work-life balance isn't solely about adjusting schedules; it's also about fostering a sense of purpose and belonging. During these transformative times, employees have realized that a sense of purpose is integral to maintaining enthusiasm for their work. Organizations that can retain their talent are those capable of helping each individual within their ranks understand how their contributions align with the broader purpose of the company.

Duguay eloquently expresses this concept, stating, "Organizations that will be able to keep their talent are those who are able to help every individual within the organization see how the work they do actually enables and fuels the achievement of that broader purpose." This alignment of individual efforts with organizational goals not only boosts engagement but also ignites a sense of fulfillment and pride in the work being done.

Equipping Employees for Success

For organizations, the road to harnessing purpose and fostering work-life balance entails more than just lip service. It requires a dedicated effort to provide employees with the tools, resources, and knowledge they need to truly be in the know. Clear communication, transparent goal-setting, and ample opportunities for skill development are pivotal elements in nurturing a workforce that feels valued, informed, and motivated.

Moreover, organizations must embrace a culture of continuous learning and adaptability, enabling employees to stay relevant in a rapidly evolving landscape. This proactive investment in employee growth not only benefits the individual but also contributes to the overall success of the company.


The contemporary corporate landscape demands a recalibration of priorities and strategies. While absenteeism remains a prevalent concern, the equally menacing issues of presenteeism and the Exodus of HR professionals require our deliberate attention. Organizations stand at a crossroads, recognizing that cultivating an environment where employees thrive is not merely a short-term goal but a profound investment in long-term prosperity. By fostering a culture that celebrates individual growth while aligning it with the broader organizational purpose, companies can successfully navigate the intricacies of presenteeism, quell the Exodus, and pave the way for a promising future that benefits both their workforce and the overarching business goals.

Quiet quitting, a subtle yet profound challenge, looms large on the corporate horizon. As we emerge from the pandemic's disruption and navigate evolving work dynamics, confronting quiet quitting takes on heightened significance. The imperative lies in embracing proactive strategies to bolster engagement, such as the invaluable insights gained through Gallup Surveys, and fostering an atmosphere of open communication. By doing so, organizations can not only shield themselves against the erosion of employee engagement but also establish a foundation for enduring growth, a reduction in conflict, and the nurturing of a thriving workplace ecosystem. Acknowledging the potential harm of quiet quitting and proactively countering its impact is the definitive path to achieving organizational triumph.

The post-pandemic era has undeniably shifted our perception of work-life balance and the intrinsic value of purpose in our professional endeavors. As organizations chart their course toward new horizons, those that embrace the significance of these fundamental aspects stand primed for success in this emerging landscape. By endowing employees with tools, resources, and opportunities to grasp their individual purpose and collective impact, businesses can cultivate a workforce that is not only resilient but also deeply engaged and motivated. The integration of work-life balance and purpose ceases to be a mere luxury; it emerges as a decisive factor in ensuring a sustainable and prosperous journey through the evolving dynamics of the modern workplace.

To get the full scope of the amazing insights, key strategies and tools that Lori-Ann Duguay provides her clients that go well beyond the topics covered in this blog, check out the Virtual Wellness Intensive video link below!

Be on the lookout for the next blog in this multi-part series!

By eLifestyle President, Blogger, Wellness Culture Synergist & Executive Wellness Expert, Robb Armstrong


➡️ To view our full Sept. 2022 Virtual Wellness Intensive Replay, CLICK THE LINK:

➡️ Interested in a Workplace Wellness Plan for your organization? Book a 30-min. consultation with eLifestyle CEO, Wellness Culture Synergist and Executive Wellness Expert, Leah Epstein Armstrong!

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