Welcome to United Franchise Group. A dream coach will now assist you.

Editor’s Note: ‘Happy Hour’ is an HR Dive column from Reporter Ginger Christ. Follow along as she dives into some of the offbeat news in the HR space.

“Welcome to Hollywood! What’s your dream? Everybody comes here; this is Hollywood, land of dreams.”

The iconic Pretty Woman line yelled at random passersby by a character identified only as Happy Man on IMDB highlights that hopeful energy that drives people from across the country to go after their dreams in Los Angeles. 

Ray Titus, CEO of United Franchise Group, an organization of franchise brands, wants to tap into that same hopefulness in his company’s 240 employees. To that end, Titus recently created a new role at UFG: a dream coach. 

While the title immediately makes me think of dream journals tucked away on nightstands, Titus’s vision for the role is a hybrid of a life coach and a career coach. Enter Mary Jo Kurtz, a certified life coach and holistic health counselor and the company’s first dream coach.

“We weren’t just looking for somebody for business coaching,” Titus said. “We wanted somebody for everything … who could talk to them from a financial side to a personal side, from saving money to relationships, to accomplishing their goals here at UFG.” 

“It’s really about all parts of your life. ‘What are your dreams? What are your goals?’” Kurtz said.

In the past eight months, Kurtz has met one-on-one with more than 100 employees, and her calendar is booked out for the next three months. In individual one-hour introductory sessions, Kurtz works with employees to identify their goals and come up with action plans on how to achieve them. 

“The bottom line is happier employees and a better business,” Titus said. Employees with healthy lives who are reaching their personal and professional goals will be more motivated and satisfied at work, he said. 

Housed under the human resources department, Kurtz also is identified as the director of employee development.

While everyone is required to attend one session with Kurtz, the coaching isn’t mandatory. And while Titus said he expects there to be some holdouts, he hopes the momentum from the rest of the employee base engaging in the process will encourage others to join in. 

“We have 240 employees, and at the end of the day, if we can make a difference with 200 of them, I’d be thrilled,” Titus said. The program, he said, will be successful when he can stand up in front of the company and share (anonymous) results: how many people were able to buy a home or send their kids to college, for example.

Part of that process involves directing employees to existing offerings like a 401K match, while another is using the information learned from these sessions to develop new programs to meet workers’ needs, Kurtz said. 

A popular meme that regularly makes the rounds criticizes employers for asking workers what their dream jobs are, positing that employees work not for career satisfaction but to take trips, buy their cats cactus-shaped scratching posts and afford avocado toast.

In that vein, this idea of dream coaching — recognizing the intersection of the personal and the professional — is a realistic approach. We may not want to live to work, but we can be happy working to live if our lives are fulfilling and our needs are being met.

I’ll end with more advice from our friend, Happy Man: “Some dreams come true, some don’t; but keep on dreamin’ — this is Hollywood. Always time to dream, so keep on dreamin’.”