Why Regenerative Travel Should Be Your Company's Next People Play
Updated: Apr 28
A recent Deloitte study shows that 98% of CEO's view the mental wellness of their employees as a major problem today. Given that other studies show 70% of the workforce has experienced pressing symptoms of burnout in the last year, there's good reason for the C-suite to worry. Where burnout lives and thrives, productivity and profits don't.
Let's Be Honest: Burnout Isn't Only a Covid Problem
The easy narrative on burnout is that we had a problem before the pandemic that's a crisis now. Except data sets from every industry eviscerate this line. Looking just at the tech sector before 2019, what we find is a misery index for the ages. Even top companies with the best benefits in their sector were losing talent at staggering rates. And hardest hit were working mothers and people of color.
As we turn the pandemic's corner, the good news is we'll have some relief where Covid-exacerbated burnout is concerned. The bad news? Since Covid didn't cause burnout in the first place, the pandemic's end may just return us to the horrifying metrics of before.
Knowing the Limits of Micro Solutions
HR professionals have been doing yeoman's labor for a long time, trying to keep top talent engaged, enriched and well. They're the ones who read and interpret the pulse surveys their teams take. And they're the ones who field the texts, calls and Zooms from people in distress. Because they've seen the full contours of talent misery, they've been first-embracers of micro solutions to the burnout problem. From standing desks to meditation and mindfulness, they've rolled out a variety of wellness initiatives that have achieved real gains with many people. And yet even with decent success, micro solutions have still left a pressing need today to do more.
Another Disruption: Business Travel
Business leaders and People teams have an opportunity coming out of the pandemic to disrupt the concept of business travel. Especially since our old-school ways of traveling for business may be dead, given what we know about the power of Artificial Intelligence, Zoom and any number of new technologies to render unnecessary the face-to-face meetings that were so recently the critical "why" for most business travel. If business travel as we knew it has changed forever, then what will next iteration be? One quick answer: we'll travel to foster and grow the EQ exchanges that are the basis of great business relationships. Our jet-lag will be a small price to pay for the shared trust, vulnerability, respect and honor that travel gets us.
The Regeneration Journey
The top-talent regeneration journey is another form of disrupted business travel to embrace today. It's an old story really. Van Gogh painted dreary and dark Dutch landscapes. Until he left home to see the world anew. So have countless other creatives, entrepreneurs and thought-leaders since. Why? Because travel is the ultimate disruptor of convention and routine.
We meet new worlds when we travel. New foods, systems of logic and ways of using humor wait for us on the other side of the world. When we travel, we engage in moments of change and growth with people who don't think like us, act like us or come from our deeply-ingrained organizational and cultural backgrounds. These new experiences and people fire our imaginations and our capacity to innovate. Perhaps Albert Einstein said it best:
"A voyage is a splendid existence for a ponderer."
The Sabatigo Solution
About 25% of the fortune 500 offer a sabbatical leave policy of some kind. As always, HR leaders whose companies have this benefit are doing everything they can to get top-talent to take a sabbatical. People teams are finding top talent reluctant to take the rejuvenation time they've earned. Why? Partly because corporate culture continues to prize "work heroism" over sustainability, such that top managers often leave unused vacation days on the table each year. And partly the sabbatical is a hard sell because of what burnout has done to exacerbate decision-fatigue among employees.
Where to go and stay? What to do and how much to spend? Will work forget me? What will I do on my sabbatical that will be special enough to warrant the time and investment?
Meet the disrupted, bespoke, 2-week sabbatical offered by Sabatigo. Just maybe the best way for most People teams to help their top-talent experience a regeneration journey. Sabatigo plans every key element of the 2-week reboot journey. But beyond the 4-star boutique housing and meticulous planning, what's spectacular about this offering are Sabatigo's three interwoven pathways of growth:
Daily coaching in mindfulness, resilience, empathy and wellness
Daily deep-dive "wonder walks" bringing history, art, literature and architecture to life
World-class disruptors-in-residence offering daily access to the entrepreneurial ecosystems of Paris and Berlin, while also featuring leadership, innovation and inclusivity coaching
Human Sustainability is the Goal
Benjamin Franklin rebooted his sense of wonder after moving to Paris. Pablo Picasso did the same thing. Genius and innovation need room to breath. It's always been that way. A bespoke journey of discovery and growth can bring top-talent back to what's magical, amazing and exciting about life as a passionate quest for innovation. And just maybe they can find some of the self-awareness and humility that even Sigmund Freud felt when he traveled far and wide:
"everywhere I go, I find that a poet was there before me."
Perhaps that's reason enough to head into the world now on a regeneration journey. To see what the poets have seen. To reach intentionally for what's lyrical in life.
And then to come back, better.