In “Take Care,” Louise (you can call her Lou) ends up teaching her Mom an important lesson. At school, Lou’s class only has one rule — “take care of yourself and each other.” When Lou learns that this simple rule isn’t being followed at her Mom’s work, she wonders why. In this entertaining story, we’re all reminded why lists are great, sometimes the simplest rules are the hardest to follow and care is a powerful approach that we all need.
We sat down with authors Dr. Laura Hamill, Chief People Officer and Chief Science Officer at Limeade and Jolene Cramer, Senior Director of Integrated Marketing at Limeade, to discuss their new book “Take Care” — now available to order!
Q: What inspired you to write this book?
Jolene: Three things were the driver:
- I have young kids at home and have always loved books.
- When I started at Limeade fall of 2017, my first conversation with a coworker was how Limeade fits and is unique within the HR tech world. After our discussion, we said, “we should write a book.” There is so much content and unique points of view to share.
- During Limeade Engage 2019, I was listening to Dr. Laura Hamill’s Science of Care presentation — and in that moment it all aligned in my head: this is so compelling, this is so clear. I thought to myself, “How can we take a fresh approach to illustrating the impact of this? And the idea for a children’s book was born.
Q: What is the main takeaway of the book?
Jolene: Care is so fundamental, caring for others is so important, but yet we forget that. It’s not always rewarded in the workplace. You can even be looked down upon for caring in the workplace. People think “you’re too soft” — this is so impactful for businesses, yet it isn’t always reinforced.
Being caring doesn’t just mean that you’re nice. It’s different than being nice — being caring means you have empathy.
“It’s time to embrace something a little more human.”– Dr. Laura Hamill, Chief People Officer and Chief Science Officer at Limeade
Laura: The research is supportive of people acting this way — it’s the human thing to do. It’s the right, better for business thing to do.
Some organizations are afraid of acknowledging their own role in care and pretend it’s not true. It’s time to embrace something a little more human. And other organizations aren’t willing to be honest about what matters. There’s fear and inertia about how we’ve been doing things. Somehow, we expect people to stop being humans when we go to work.
It’s about human connection and how we are with people. Even when it’s hard — having that trust and foundation allows you to go through hard times and work through things.
Q: What is the connection between Limeade and this story?
Laura: The most obvious connection is how we treat each other does make a difference. Organizational support theory is the science behind all of this — we’ve made it much more simple since it’s a kids book but the idea of care and the connection with Limeade is saying the science tells us the more we show that support to people the more they can thrive.
Lou has taken that concept from her teacher — the science of something academic to something basic and it’s fundamentally what matters most. How we can learn from simple things that can happen in grade school and organizations can learn from it. The idea of organizational support and care is what connects to this in the most explicit ways.
Limeade also connects through employees who are working parents, having babies and in that stage of life where this is so relevant and top of mind — that also makes me happy. We were able to host a book reading to little kids of employees. Kids have an idealism for what they can do in the world and in some ways that is Limeade — anything is possible, things can be better, don’t give up, have big ideas and more.
Q: You wrote this book prior to COVID-19. How do you think this message applies given our current climate?
Jolene: Now, living through this and everything we are going through and being asked or told to change your life and curtail your activities so that you can truly care for yourself and each other — has many negative emotional impacts. But doing that because you literally are taking care of each other. Because of the stress we’re under and uncertainty we are experiencing it makes care even more important. There’s no better time to live this as best we all can.
Laura: Different aspects of well-being are so obvious now — they’re megaphoned. Well-being is an important thing we knew before but now we really know. Not having so much scheduled — our lives are simpler — fewer sports or big events, it shows you what really matters — people.
Q: What do you hope people get out of this book?
Jolene: I hope that it makes people smile, and that there are moments where we can take this to heart and make a difference in lives. One instance in your day you can apply the message of this book and take it to heart. At the grocery store, ask the checker how they’re doing and really listen. When your partner gets home from work and is frustrated you can ask what can I do for you? It’s small instances in daily lives, especially at work. Managers actually listening — it’s powerful.
Laura: We need to aspire for more. In order to create a better future for kids we have to be able to imagine that and see that — this book might be more for adults than little kids. We can do better than this and what’s stopping us from someone taking the first step? Imagine something better.
Q: What do you think is important for parents to remember as their children start to see or connect the dots about parent’s work?
Laura: My kids will ask about conference calls. They hear what my work is like in a way they never have before — they’re getting messages about how much laughter I have, every mood. We’re setting a tone for what they think work is like — conscious or unconscious — they’re learning what work is by hearing me. I want work to be something they look forward to, that they get joy and fulfillment from.
Jolene: I have so much empathy for every working parent. It’s important my kids see that work is fulfilling and something that I look forward to — understand the purpose and it’s not just work to get money. I want them to feel that someday.
Q: What can we all learn from Lou?
Jolene: Lou is receptive and curious and believes things can be better. When she learns a new rule at school, she tries it at home and with her mom — she’s open and positive.
Laura: Lou is a list person. I love how organized she is. We can learn from the way she tries new things and cares for others.
Q: What is your favorite children’s book?
Jolene: “Make Way for Ducklings” by Robert McCloskey and “On the Night You Were Born” by Nancy Tillman.
Laura: Richard Scarry books — “What Do People Do All Day?” I love “Lowly Worm”!
Q: What other lessons have your children taught you that applies to your work?
Laura: As your kids get older, they end up being the ones giving you the pep talk. Lou was teaching her mom something and that’s what I experience as my kids get older.
Jolene: Find the joy. My children find joy in so many things. That’s always been important to me at work. I have to have a good time regardless of what’s going on — there’s moments of joy in everything. You realize there’s ways to do that regardless of the situation. Sometimes joy is having a hard conversation and getting to a breakthrough or realization.