At Rise, we know that sleep is the first step to so many aspects of success, from general productivity to leadership skills. But for us, sleep is more than a means to an end. It’s what resets our brains each night and readies us for new challenges, and it’s what gives us the energy to connect with others, and fuels our creative instincts. In short, sleep is what primes us to be our best selves.
In investigating the science behind sleep, we’ve found that it’s one of the most reliable determinants of employee morale and wellbeing--and, subsequently, work performance. Now, we’re helping other companies to invest in their people first by harnessing the power of sleep.
“Supporting sleep means I'm investing in my people professionally and personally––in better lives.”
-Ron Needham, Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing (North America), ManpowerGroup
If you’d asked Ron Needham a year ago to name his biggest priority, he would have given a common answer: team productivity.
As Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing for the world’s third-largest staffing company, ManpowerGroup, Ron oversees more than a hundred employees. And like all good managers, he’s always on the lookout for performance-enhancing tools and tactics.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit and Ron’s employees began to work from home, he could see almost immediately that many were struggling. The virus and its subsequent stressors brought with it a myriad of new anxieties and unprecedented challenges, both personal and professional. Ron knew that his employees were suddenly working in sub-optimal conditions--many now had young children at home, some had spouses who had lost their jobs and were dealing with economic pressure on top of everything else. And the threat of illness was hovering over it all.
The crisis caused Ron’s priorities to recalibrate. He realized that his employees’ wellbeing--both physical and mental--needed to be his chief concern. If his team didn’t feel healthy and cared-for, productivity simply couldn’t happen.
Like Ron, Rise measures success not by output alone, but also by the wellbeing of the people at each company’s core. Rise believes that employees need to be well-rested and aware of their daily rhythms before they can function at their best. By championing natural sleep, Rise leads people into their most productive state of mind.
So, Rise went to Ron with a proposal for his team: try the Rise app for 30 days.
By using Rise, Ron’s team would learn how to begin minimizing their sleep debt, or the amount of sleep each person owes his or her body, compared to their relative sleep need, calculated over a two-week period. Rise would also track each person’s circadian rhythm, or the body’s daily ebb and flow of energy.
By teaching users how to get more sleep and take advantage of the day’s natural energy peaks and dips, Rise promised to bolster the team’s wellbeing and work performance.
Ron was quick to agree. As a former Army officer and decorated veteran, Ron has firsthand experience leading teams through difficult circumstances, and understands that mental and physical wellbeing are non-negotiables: "Health and wellbeing are number one in the military. Because if you don't have it...you'll make mistakes.” And the on the front lines, the consequences can be dire: “You [don’t] just lose a deal. You [lose] a life."
He also has a unique appreciation for the fundamental importance of sleep (in his early Army days of digging fox holes and toting M-16s, there was never enough of it) and for him the connection between the two--sleep and general wellbeing--was a no-brainer.
For Ron, introducing Rise to his employees’ daily routines was a threefold opportunity: “Promoting sleep shows my employees that I care about them, lowers their stress, and increases their effectiveness.”
The Rise team met with Ron and Katie Lindbloom, Director of Integrated Marketing, to plan the 30-day trial.
Katie echoed Ron in her vision for the team, saying that she, too, had witnessed a “cultural shift” in how companies pursue success. “In the current circumstances, we think it’s really important to focus on the health and wellbeing of our employees,” she said. “Rise fits this mission, as well as our goals for greater engagement.”
By working directly with sales leaders like Ron and Katie, Rise ensures that more employees adopt and use the app than if it was presented as another HR initiative—programs that are easily and often ignored.
Ron and Katie expressed two primary goals for the Rise trial:
- Improve operational efficiency and accelerate employee engagement.
- Serve the health and wellbeing of their team.
To assess whether these goals were achieved, Rise prepared a four-question survey for employees.
- Does Rise help me be more productive and effective?
- Does Rise help me better schedule my day, work more effectively, and maintain work-life balance?
- Does Rise help me deal with stress better?
- Does being offered Rise make me feel ManpowerGroup values me and cares about my wellbeing?
Using Rise, employees began to incorporate productivity-boosting habits into their bedtime and daily routines. Rise also paired users with experienced sleep and energy experts, who could address individual concerns and provide customized plans based on each person’s unique circadian rhythm and sleep habits.
Rise also hosted a workshop on sleep and sales performance, sharing the wealth of scientific evidence that links the two.
This has intrinsic value for anyone and everyone on the team.
-ManpowerGroup Sales Leader
By the end of the trial, 81% of the employees who had opted in were still actively using Rise. Overwhelmingly, these employees were:
- 86% felt more productive and effective in their work for ManpowerGroup.
I am very grateful to MPG for providing this [tool.] I’ve noticed habits I can work on to help my sleep debt and have more productive days!
- 86% felt that Rise helped them schedule their work days more effectively, and also advised them on the best times to unplug.
The dips and energy spurts help me plan my day (work days and non), and the sleep bedtime windows are really helpful.
- 75% felt that Rise made them better at coping with stress.
I use [Rise] to ensure I feel rested and calm in the morning, which puts me in a good mindset to tackle the rest of my day, even the really challenging ones.
- 100% felt that, by providing them access to Rise, ManpowerGroup was demonstrating care for their wellbeing.
I think the gift of sleep is very unique and thoughtful, and one that is universal. I loved the thought behind it and am definitely utilizing the information daily.
Ron took this feedback to heart and committed to annual Rise memberships for his entire team. The survey had confirmed the accomplishment of ManpowerGroup’s two primary goals—increased effectiveness and improved wellbeing--during a time when both are tougher to secure than ever.
Using Rise also revealed a bonus benefit: the positive branding that comes from showing your employees you care.
By adopting Rise as a tool for productivity and wellbeing, the team had set themselves apart from their competition—they’d positioned their employees to be happy, thankful, and at the top of their game. Furthermore, every single employee surveyed felt that by providing them access to Rise, ManpowerGroup proved that it cared about them, and they were quick to spread the word about Rise internally and with clients. Ron is confident that partners and prospects will be increasingly drawn to ManpowerGroup as a result.
Their stories about the trial coalesced into a consistent message about ManpowerGroup as a company: they value their staff, and are refreshingly proactive about prioritizing the health and happiness of their teams.
As Rise continues to deliver on the team’s initial goals, Ron and Katie will also be able to channel the app’s offerings in new ways.
Rise influences performance on a macro scale. Viewed in aggregate, the data that Rise produces can help managers answer the following the questions:
- What is the best time to schedule team meetings, so that peak performance/selling windows are preserved?
- When should my team be focused on our highest priority work?
- How do I put my team in the best position to perform during crunch time at the end of month, quarter, or year?
The Rise app and blog both provide an ongoing cadence of information, all of which is actionable and backed up by the top minds in sleep science.
Guidance from Specialists
As employees share best practices, recommendations, and new goals with one another, they won’t be alone. Rise facilitates one-on-one meetings and live workshops with experts. Drawing from the rich body of research on sleep and productivity, these programs push teams closer to each engagement goal.
When Rise launches with a sales team, it allows every user to enroll all of their family members as well. It’s a way to spread the positive impacts of natural sleep, and it also creates a shared language and atmosphere around wellbeing in the home.
And More to Come …
Rise is continually digging into the latest sleep research and engineering new features. As it builds a future in which employees sleep well to work well, ManpowerGroup will be among the first companies to experience that future’s rewards.
Learn more about Rise for sales teams.