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    Entries in wellness (17)

    Friday
    Mar232018

    Job Titles of the Future: Director of Mental Health and Wellness

    While there definitely has been increased focus on wellness and wellbeing in the workplace in the last 10 or so years, most of that focus has been on the physical dimension of wellness - with programs and tools designed to help employees get more physically active, to quit smoking, to get a handle on better ways to manage long-term and (often) preventable health risks. But less attention (it seems to me anyway), has been paid to other aspects of wellness/wellbeing - and in particular, mental health. And mental health, and how employee mental health impacts people and the organization is a huge deal. I mean huge.

    How huge?

    According to some data from the Depression Center from the University of Michigan:

    Depressive illnesses, including major depression and bipolar disorder, are highly prevalent in the United States, affecting nearly one in five adults at some point in their life. These conditions are also among the top five causes of disability globally, and depression ranks as the #1 contributor to disability in the U.S. and Canada. An estimated 6.7% of adults in the U.S. had at least one major depressive episode in the past year. Depression is one of the most costly health conditions for American employers. The annual cost of depression in the U.S. is estimated at $210.5 billion, with approximately 45% attributable to direct costs, 5% to suicide-related costs, and 50% to workplace costs. A majority of these workplace costs are due to lost productivity in the workplace from both absenteeism (missed days of work) and "presenteeism" (reduced productivity at work). Presenteeism represents nearly 75% of workplace costs and 37% of the overall economic burden of depression.

    And that is just one set of data points from one source on the significant impact the mental health challenges and depression in particular makes on organizations, not to mention the personal and family impact depression has on people, families, and communities.

    So it makes sense that organizations are and should be addressing mental health and depression as just as important a dimension of employee wellness with as much focus as they have with physical wellness. And at least one organization, maybe one you wouldn't think would 'have' to worry about the mental health of its workforce is doing just that.

    The organization is the National Basketball Association, (don't worry, this is not turning into a 'sports' post). From a recent piece on the NBA.com site:

    Kevin Love and DeMar DeRozan -- two All-Stars -- who became the latest NBA players to detail their public battles with mental wellness. Love wrote a first-person account last week in The Players’ Tribune of the panic attack he suffered earlier this season. DeRozan spoke last month of the depression he’s dealing with during what may be his most successful NBA season.

    Their disclosures came as the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association are close to naming a Director of Mental Health and Wellness, who will run an independent mental wellness program that is being jointly funded by the league and union.

    It might seem surprising that NBA players - generally young, wealthy, successful, admired, and in great physical health would be affected by mental health issues, panic attacks, and depression. But the fact that we can have that kind of a reaction - 'Gee, what do these guys have to be depressed about?', reminds us that it is too easy to fail to take mental health issues seriously, or to want to treat them as not real issues for employees because we can't 'see' them.

    And I am pretty sure that is going to change, or it will have to change, as these issues become more common in the US and by extension, in the workplace. The National Institute of Health’s National Institute of Mental Health estimates that, in 2016, more than 44 million Americans suffered from some form of mental illness, ranging from mild to moderate to severe, and impacting more than 18 percent of all U.S. adults.

    As an NBA fan, I like that the league is doing more to actively recognize, address, support and mostly not to hide from the mental health challenges that players are facing - even if we think these don't or shouldn't exist, the accounts of Love, DeRozan, and others show us the problems are real. And with the data showing that mental health issues and illnesses growing at a consistent rate, it makes sense for organizations to think about today's Job Title of the Future - Director of Mental Health and Wellness. Maybe you should too.

    Have a great weekend!

    Monday
    Jun052017

    PODCAST - #HRHappyHour 287 - The Business Value of Employee Wellbeing

    HR Happy Hour 287 - The Business Value of Employee Wellbeing

    Hosts: Steve BoeseTrish McFarlane

    Guest: Dr. Rajiv Kumar, Chief Medical Officer, Virgin Pulse

    Listen HERE

    This week on the HR Happy Hour show, Steve and Trish are live at the Virgin Pulse Thrive Summit and are joined by Dr. Rajiv Kumar, Chief Medical Officer of Virgin Pulse to talk about employee experience, wellbeing, and the business value of investing in employee wellbeing.

    Virgin Pulse has now become the leading provider of employee wellbeing solutions, and their commitment to the overall employee experience, the central role that employee wellbeing plays in shaping that experience is evidenced by their approach to creating engaging solutions that focus on the employee and their health.

    Rajiv shared his thoughts on how wellbeing initiatives not only drive benefits like increased retention, decreased absenteeism, and reduced employer health care costs, but also have been shown to lead to positive business outcomes - sales, productivity, market capitalization and more. He also offered some ideas to help HR and business leaders make the business case for investing in employee wellbeing programs.

    You can listen to the show on the show page HERE, or by using the widget player below, or on your favorite podcast app.

    Treat your employees right and they will treat your customers right - that idea is at the core of what Virgin Pulse is all about.

    This was a fun show and many thanks to Virgin Pulse for having us at Thrive, and for supporting the HR Happy Hour Show.

    Subscribe wherever you get your podcasts - just search for 'HR Happy Hour'.

    Monday
    Jul252016

    PODCAST - #HRHappyHour 252 - Employee Wellbeing with Chris Boyce, CEO, Virgin Pulse

    HR Happy Hour 252 - Employee Wellbeing with Chris Boyce, CEO Virgin Pulse

    Hosts: Steve Boese, Trish McFarlane

    Guest: Chris Boyce, CEO, Virgin Pulse

    Listen to the show HERE

    This week on the show, Trish and Steve were joined by Chris Boyce, CEO of Virgin Pulse, a provider of market-leading, technology-based products and services that help employers improve workforce health, boost employee engagement, and enhance corporate culture.

    Chris shared some insights on how HR and business leaders can evaluate and assess wellbeing and workforce health initiatives using data and analytics, and how it is important to consider measures of success beyond employer benefit costs and health care claims or participation. The most successful wellbeing programs use data to inform changes in productivity, engagement, safety, and organizational culture. There isn't a single measure for ROI on these programs, employers have to think about their unique and specific challenges to find the measures that will most impact their organizations. Chris also shared some important information around employee data privacy and how Virgin Pulse and their client organizations keep employee data private and secure, while still allowing organizational leaders to use aggregate and anonymized data to inform decision making.

    Additionally, Chris shared his thoughts on why employee and organizational wellbeing has become a more global, and holistic phenomenon, and what that means for HR and business leaders in their efforts to find, attract, develop,and retain the talent they need to meet their organizational objectives.

    You can listen to the show on the show page HERE, or by using the widget player below:

     

    This was a fun and interesting show, many thanks to Chris Boyce and Virgin Pulse for coming on. You can learn more about Virgin Pulse at www.virginpulse.com.

    Remember to subscribe to the HR Happy Hour Show on iTunes, Stitcher Radio, or your favorite podcast app, just search for 'HR Happy Hour' to subscribe and never mess an episode.

    Thursday
    Mar312016

    PODCAST - #HRHappyHour 242 - Big Ideas for Employee Benefits in 2016

    HR Happy Hour 242 - Big Ideas for Employee Benefits in 2016

    Recorded Wednesday March 30, 2016 at the Health & Benefits Leadership Conference

    Hosts: Steve BoeseTrish McFarlane

    Guest: Nate Randall, President and Founder, Ursa Major Consulting

    Listen to the show HERE

    This week on the show Steve sat down at the Health & Benefits Leadership Conference with Nate Randall, President & Founder at Ursa Major Consulting to talk about three big ideas and trends in employee benefits that Nate is seeing as he works with organizations around the country. 

    Nate shared some ideas around managing benefits in a global and distributed environment, and the challenges that can present. We also talked a little about use of Private Exchanges for employee benefit coverage, and some considerations that employers should take into account when evaluating this model. Finally, we spent some time discussing the new trend of employers offering Financial Wellness programs for their employees, and some important factors employers need to consider before deploying these kind of programs.

    Nate also shared some insights from one of his former roles at Tesla Motors, and the challenges they faced in scaling up the organization from under 1,000 employees to over 13,000 in a very short time.

    You can listen to the show on the show page HERE, or using the widget player below:

    This was an interesting and informative show with one the the industry's leading experts and thinkers on employee benefits - we hope you will check it out.

    Reminder - you can subscribe to the show on iTunes and all the podcast player apps for iOS and Android - just search for 'HR Happy Hour' to subscribe and never miss a show.

    Wednesday
    Mar302016

    #BenefitsConf Opening Message: Meet people where they are, not where you want them to be

    I am out at the 4th Annual Health & Benefits Leadership Conference for the next few days and will (if plans don't get derailed because, well, Vegas), be sharing some ideas and highlights from the event, including at least one HR Happy Hour Show from the event.

    The opening keynote at the show was given by Alexandra Drane, Co-Founder of Eliza Corp and was titled Mentioning the Unmentionables: Is 'Life' the Missing Link?', an examination of where health and wellness approaches have possibly been misaligned with the needs, desires, and actual, practical situations and lives of the people the healthcare industry is trying to serve.

    Let's unpack that a little bit by referring to a chart we have all seen a thousand times, Maslow's hierarchy, and one that Ms. Drane referred to several times during her talk. Take a look at my (slightly out of focus) pic of the chart below, and then some FREE comments from me on the key points of the talk after that. Note: the person on the lower right of the pic is an artist doing a sketch of the talk in real time - really pretty cool!

    Alexandra's primary message on where health and wellness initiatives have gone wrong is in that so many of the efforts and outreach have been focused on individual and employee behavior modification that impact and reside at the very peak of the self-actualization pyramid - ignoring the fact that many, if not most people are wrestling with life issues much further down.

    We (or our employers), bug people to exercise more frequently, to eat healthier, to make sure they are up to date on all preventive medical screenings, etc., but often do not even attempt to address the myriad of issues that would prevent people from even thinking about doing more exercise or the other things that happy, secure people can spend time on.

    These are very basic, and fundamental issues and challenges like elder or child care, financial challenges and troubles, divorce, lack of intimacy, or even something as elementary as loneliness or disconnection from people.

    These issues, she argued, are the more important drivers that lead towards negative health outcomes that manifest in 'real' diseases like diabetes, alcoholism, heart disease, hypertension, and many more. And trying to motivate people into behavior changes that might lead to say a reduced risk of diabetes will not be effective if they are completely stressed out with family or personal crises that dominate their ability to cope.

     

    Until we are able to meet people where they are, many if not most of them dealing with tremendous pressures, stress, and personal challenges in their real lives, will we be able to better provide tools, resources, support, and empathy needed to try and move them to where we want (and hope) they can be - as people who can actually take the time to jog for 45 minutes a day, and spend an extra hour at home each night preparing healthy meals.

    It was a really important message I think, and one we'd all be wise to remember.

    People are really complex. Life can really suck sometimes. And the combination of the two makes trying to drive behavior change much, much more than just suggesting they choose a salad instead of a Big Mac.

    Thanks to Alexandra Drane for such an interesting and compelling talk this morning.