Prioritize personal and professional goal setting. In addition to setting priorities and goals for yourself and your career, it’s important to find an organization that will inspire and support you to achieve these goals. This means finding a company that will provide professional, personal and emotional support in order to to hold you accountable and ensure you’re reaching the goals you’ve set for yourself.
As a part of my series about the “5 Ways That Businesses Can Help Promote The Mental Wellness Of Their Employees” I had the pleasure of interviewing Frank Green.
Frank Green is the president of ExecuSource, a recognized leader in the Atlanta recruiting market due to its personable, hands-on culture and ability to tackle any business objective. Founded in 1998, the firm has deep-rooted knowledge in finance, accounting and IT professions and works aggressively to find the perfect human capital solution, regardless of industry or company size.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dive into our discussion, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the backstory about what brought you to your specific career path?
I graduated from college with a B.A. in History, fully intending to move on to law school. However, I ended up with a year between graduation and law school, so I went to a temp agency to find work that would pay for my expenses and give me more corporate exposure. I ended up getting hired by the temp agency to become a recruiter, and I was immediately hooked.
Now, I have been in the staffing and recruiting industry for 28 years. I am the proud President of ExecuSource, one of the leading staffing firms in the nation. Despite a year of challenges and uncertainty, our firm is continuing to thrive and grow. In fact, we’ve been recognized by the Atlanta Business Chronicle Pacesetters Awards for six consecutive years, which honors the fastest-growing companies in the city.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?
By now, I’ve seen it all! but one story that stands out takes me back to the 1990s. I had just placed a recent (two weeks, to be exact) college grad from Boston College in an entry-level position. Over the years, we’ve stayed in touch and I’ve made sure to follow his career journey. It’s been a privilege watching him continue to grow and thrive at the company — he’s now the COO of the firm.
It’s the stories like these that keep me motivated and passionate about forming connections with the people I work with and helping them accomplish their goals and reach their dreams.
What advice would you suggest to your colleagues in your industry to thrive and avoid burnout?
1) Prioritize personal and professional goal setting
In addition to setting priorities and goals for yourself and your career, it’s important to find an organization that will inspire and support you to achieve these goals. This means finding a company that will provide professional, personal and emotional support in order to to hold you accountable and ensure you’re reaching the goals you’ve set for yourself.
If you don’t set personal and professional goals, you risk floating through your work and being left feeling unfulfilled. Set your destination. Decide on a course. Get to it.
With that being said, I also think it is important to spend some time getting to know yourself so that the goals you make are as accurate as possible. There will always be circumstances that arise that are out of your control (children get sick, parents get older, bosses are unfair, traffic, pandemics). But if you know what you want out of life, these things will all just be temporary impediments that you will be able to navigate on this highway of life.
2) Be your authentic self
Authenticity is something that is also an important part of my life that I believe everyone should focus on — especially in their professional lives.
Anyone who knows me will say that I have a big personality. Early on in my career, I would try to temper myself and my enthusiasm to try to fit in and be well-liked. I now know that trying to change myself into being someone that I’m not didn’t give me the opportunity to make real connections with my coworkers and other people I met on my journey.
When you are authentically you, people will be attracted to you and can be supportive of your journey.
3) Prioritize your mental health
Seek peace of mind and prioritize your mental health.
Of course, I’m not an expert in clinical psychology, so I can only offer advice from my life experience and observations. I know I am in a positive state of mind when my behavior, environment and support system are aligned with my aspirations. I strive to improve my life in the aforementioned ways so that when problems come about, I can handle them effectively, learn something, and then get back on the road.
What advice would you give to other leaders about how to create a fantastic work culture?
I have had the great fortune to work for both incredible and horrible leaders — both of whom I have learned a great deal from. In my opinion, an overblown ego is one the biggest culture killers. Being a confident and competent leader is key but using these traits to dominate your team is ridiculous. Instead, use your confidence and competency to ignite, empower and encourage your team.
I recommend harnessing your team’s creativity by getting to know what is important to each of them. Then, you can effectively show, support and guide them to achieving their next big thing. You will be surprised by the success that will follow!
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?
“You are the sum of the five people with whom you spend the most time with.” — David P. Brown
Over the years, I have found this statement to be 100% true. As humans, we are social creatures. At times, the influence we have over each other is insurmountable. So, be sure to spend time with those who are on the same page as your long-term goals, and whose lives and habits support you achieving them.
Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s move to the main focus of our interview. As you know, the collective mental health of our country is facing extreme pressure. In recent years many companies have begun offering mental health programs for their employees. For the sake of inspiring others, we would love to hear about five steps or initiatives that companies have taken to help improve or optimize their employees mental wellness. Can you please share a story or example for each?
At ExecuSource, we began truly prioritizing emotional intelligence and mental wellbeing at a higher level six years ago. Since, we have been able to build a positive, resilient culture that thrives during times of exponential growth, and is the source of our pride during today’s tumultuous times.
- When I first started at ExecuSource, I realized we needed a company culture. A sales meritocracy isn’t enough — you need socially intelligent and collaborative people to make a company operate at its full potential. I hired an outside firm to help build the emotional intelligence of my staff through exercises aiming at identifying personal and company-level goals, learning how to support each other to achieve these goals and where to find the tools needed to achieve.
- This past year, we also implemented a new mental health insurance program for our contract workers at ExecuSource. This was long needed but came at an appropriate time in all of our lives. Through this program, our workers can find and implement the resources needed to support themselves mentally. We also offer the same program for our internal employees as well, and it has proven to be a huge part in guaranteeing a positive workplace culture.
- Since the pandemic began, I have made myself available by phone or Zoom at a much higher capacity than in the previous years. I’ve always been happy to hop on the phone and talk for hours with any employee who needs it, but this year, I have made certain that I would be available to talk to at any time. Knowing you’re heard, respected and appreciated is incredibly important to building self-esteem and maintaining a good sense of mental wellbeing.
- We also shifted some roles around at ExecuSource this year to make sure that everyone is supported, both emotionally and professionally. We enhanced the role of our HR Manager to oversee more team building, company culture and employee benefits programs to accommodate our changing needs as a company as the world continues to change every day.
These ideas are wonderful, but sadly they are not yet commonplace. What strategies would you suggest to raise awareness about the importance of supporting the mental wellness of employees?
As mentioned earlier, I think it is important for companies to decide who they want to be, and then hire, train and hold accountable those employees who play an integral role in building that culture.
Attitude is often symptomatic of what is going on behind closed doors in one’s personal life. Hire those whose attitudes and skill sets are in line with the company’s culture, thus forming a group of positive, supportive people.
Although, one of the most important strategies you can have as a leader is open communication and empathy while listening. Making sure your employees feel like comfortable coming to their leaders is a huge step in easing some of the day-to-day stress and supporting their mental health. Having someone to talk to, even if it’s just about daily life, is crucial to keeping a positive mental wellbeing.
From your experience or research, what are different steps that each of us as individuals, as a community and as a society, can take to effectively offer support to those around us who are feeling stressed, depressed, anxious and having other mental health issues ? Can you explain?
I’m not qualified to address all the ills of society, but I think a little less blame and a little more listening is a start. Today, people are oftentimes so quick to assume and make judgments.
This is where interpersonal skills really play a huge role. Learning how to openly communicate, have empathy and maintain meaningful relationships (both big and small) is important to supporting ourselves and those around us. Success here starts with individual emotional intelligence and interpersonal skills, and then leads to the society as a whole.
Habits can play a huge role in mental wellness. What are the best strategies you would suggest to develop good healthy habits for optimal mental wellness that can replace any poor habits?
Setting small goals every day that align with my long-term plans, even if it’s just to eat breakfast that day, keep me on track and my mind with positive thoughts. Also, a habit that I have personally made that has strengthened relationships is to make amends immediately if I have done something wrong.
Do you use any meditation, breathing or mind-calming practices that promote your mental wellbeing? We’d love to hear about all of them. How have they impacted your own life?
For me, time spent alone is critical. I am an extravert by nature and someone who gains energy and satisfaction from interacting with people. However, as I have grown older, I have recognized the need to spend time alone so that I can re-energize, consider my life actions and appreciate all of the positive things that have come my way.
Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story?
I am an avid reader and have gained a great deal from many books, but I know that the things I learn from them will never work until I put them into practice.
That being said, one of the best and early influences was Steven Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, which has continuously resonated with me over the years.
You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
I am fascinated by 12-step programs and how they can have such a profound and transformative influence when nothing else seems to work. I think a movement that used the same philosophy and guidelines for folks who don’t have obvious setbacks, could be very powerful and change how we communicate with each other throughout the world.
What is the best way our readers can further follow your work online?