illustration of heart and brain portraying whole preson development

With the workplace rapidly changing, many employers are grappling with issues related to employee engagement and turnover. In order to retain talent, employers are realizing the importance of investing in professional development and reskilling. Making sure employees’ skills are up-to-date is important, but the reality is that when most managers express frustration with employees, the frustrations usually center less around the skillsets the employees are lacking, and more around the negative mindsets of the employees. To truly develop employees, organizations need to encourage whole person development by focusing on both the skillsets and the mindsets of employees.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

Nowadays, many people are talking about what benefits employees actually want from the workplace. Do they want fun perks, like ping pong and kegs? Or do they want more serious benefits, like competitive compensation, sufficient PTO, and a robust benefits package?

We can envision the perks at work in the framework of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. At the bottom are the things that are absolutely necessary – adequate pay, health insurance, etc. As we move up the pyramid, we tap into higher levels of employee benefits that keep workers feeling highly engaged and self-actualized at work. 

Companies that fulfill the tip-top of the hierarchy of employee needs are those that invest in growing their employees not just as workers, but as people. When companies invest in whole person development, employees feel inspired to grow as employees AND as people, and they become passionate about the work and loyal to the team. Everyone wins.

The truth is that investing in hard skills alone won’t help employees tap into the top level of the hierarchy of needs. In order to reach that level, employees need to feel comfortable bringing their whole selves to work. Building a high-trust culture where employees feel that they can be authentic results in a handful of benefits.

 Employees in more closely knit communities report that they enjoy:

  • Being 106% more energetic at work
  • Feeling 76% more engaged with their jobs
  • Experiencing 74% less stress
  • Taking 13% fewer days off for illness
  • Reporting 29% more satisfaction with life in general

Democratizing transformation and whole person development in the workplace

Helping employees be their authentic selves and reach levels of self-actualization at work sounds great, right? The numbers agree. A study from Boston College, Harvard University, and the University of Michigan found that soft skills training, like communication and problem-solving, boosts productivity and retention 12% and delivers a 250% return on investment based on higher productivity and retention

But is it actually a reality in most workplaces? 


Either companies are totally overlooking mindset development in the workplace, or training and development that focuses on mindset is reserved for company elites in the form of expensive executive retreats or seminars.

In order for real change to happen in the workplace, transformation needs to be democratized. Access to learning and development of both being and doing skills needs to be available for every member of the organization, not just the executives.

What does this look like in practice?

It looks like learning and development processes that are social and applicable to the real world. It also looks like skillset and mindset training that is woven into the fabric of the company culture, not something that company executives engage in every so often, detached from the rest of the team. 

How can an organization make this a reality?

The key to democratizing transformation in the workplace is using technology to enable social, experiential learning that is focused on whole person development. Employees should have access to continuous, bite-sized learning opportunities where they can hone in on skills that they are able to apply directly to challenges both inside and outside of the workplace.

Verb enables whole person development for the whole team. We offer bite-sized learning with a measurable impact that empowers employees to grow in traditional leadership skills like conflict management and negotiation, self-awareness skills like emotional intelligence and unconscious bias, and learning skills like systems thinking and creativity.

Democratizing transformation leads to a tangible impact. And employees that are developed as a whole person are more productive, adaptable, and loyal. Verb will help them get there.