Behind JOOL's life-altering vision and mission is Dr. Vic Strecher, founder and CEO who is a noted researcher, academician, and entrepreneur. Stretcher has not only been a part of well-known forums such as TEDx but is also the author of two books, Life On Purpose: How Living For What Matters Most Changes Everything, and a graphic novel On Purpose: Lessons In Life and Health From The Frog, The Dung Beetle, and Julia. In conversation with CIO Applications, Stretcher throws more light on how JOOL Health is leading a paradigm shift in employee engagement by moving from a population model of change to a precision model of change.
JOOL is taking employee engagement to new heights with its unique ‘performance through purpose’ approach. Tell us more about your extraordinary value proposition and the story behind JOOL’s inception?
It is proven that ‘purpose’ is one of the most important factors driving highly motivated employees, better organizational performance, and a healthy work-life balance. In fact, companies with a strong sense of purpose even witness higher revenue generation.
Back in 2015, when we founded JOOL Health, we realized that most engagement programs were focusing on the ‘how’ and not enough on ‘why’ having a purpose is important. Our one-of-a-kind purpose-driven performance solution that leverages breakthrough technology, (AI, machine learning, and data science) changes that. Once employees identify their motivating principle, we enable them to be the best version of themselves. This means better decision-making and being less defensive to change, which ultimately drives a greater sense of achievement.
By the virtue of your vast experience and market observation, what do you think are the key challenges or limitations when it comes to existing engagement models?
The traditional approaches to employee engagement invariably fall short today—whether it is wellness, behavior change, or human performance programs. Employees are paid to engage in such programs, which shouldn't be the case. Additionally, several life coaching programs are extensive and rigorous. JOOL Health is a cut above as we bridge the gaps in traditional wellness through our boutique human performance programs.
We are resetting the paradigm in what a life coach can do. We are a precision-performance company that believes that no one is ‘average’ and we create individualized solutions for an authentic, enduring, and engaging approach to life at work.
Picture a life coach sitting on your shoulder, guiding you to your higher self and goals
Our state-of-the-art mobile and web applications can be used by both employers and employees to guide, reinforce, and support each user on their path toward greater fulfillment. We start with a simple question: What are your areas of improvement which will help you reach your best self? Following this, the JOOL digital life coach assembles a plan that is science-driven and uses advanced predictive models to create highly personalized and dynamic guidance, tips, insights, and messages. We can collect environmental data from the cloud or individual data from tracking devices such as Fitbit or an Apple watch, through AI and ML and generate cutting-edge analytics and a precision model that gets smarter with time. Picture a life coach sitting on your shoulder, guiding you to your higher self and goals once in a while, whenever you require it.
Our application comprises several elements. For example, we offer an AI-driven performance dashboard called JOOL Vibe to provide unprecedented insights into what makes an organization or employee tick. There are a lot of administrative dashboards in the market but this is the first-of-its-kind ‘cultural dashboard’ that improves the overall direction and purpose of a company. JOOL Vibe is a powerful source to understand user behavior on a broader context. It can assess the well-being of a population in real-time as well give insights on the individual influences on energy and willpower.
JOOL’s solutions are applicable across industries and help employees achieve sustainable improvements in various dimensions such as physical, psychological, and interpersonal. On that note, can you give us a case study to help understand JOOL better?
Off the top of my head is the example of a major chemical company, with 30,000 employees, they were going through a merger, resulting in significant stress and work-life balance issues. While the employees were deeply invested in their work purpose, only 17 percent were aligned with the other important aspects in life: family, community, and personal. This led to burnout and a great deal of conflict. Once JOOL Health came on board, within three months, we were able to improve the overall energy and vitality of the workforce while doubling the number of staff that had a strong work-life balance.
What does JOOL's future course of action look like?
We are developing global applications and partnering with groups in Australia, Europe, and South East Asia. Currently, we are placing immense focus on special population groups. For instance, we are testing JOOL among senior or retired members of the community on how to feel more purposeful in life. We are also working on a very interesting project with WellCare, a Medicaid provider as well as colleges and universities where JOOL is emerging as a powerful tool that helps fight anxiety, suicidal ideation, and depression.
We are also expanding across user engagement channels such as Slack, Alexa, and Google Home. We are also building a virtual-agent that in combination with user engagement technology is all set to create wonders. Imagine Alexa being able to advise a user on their chances of contracting a migraine or how they can improve their sleep pattern. Our solution is also expected to open a whole new world of actionable insights and patterns for employees around human performance, absenteeism, and other issues.