This Board and Exchange gathering focused on mental and employee well-being and featured:
Presentation by Amy Bloomquist, Wellness Manager, Land O’Lakes
- Amy gave an overview of the agribusiness organization and discussed how mental health support is being provided to members of the cooperative and to employees. Land O’Lakes has implemented innovative strategies to reach out to isolated farmers, identify those experiencing mental health issues, and enlist community members in support efforts.
- Multiple programs provide support for employees, including an on-site behavioral therapist who also does virtual sessions, a mindfulness/meditation practice, Mental Health First Aid training, EAP therapists for underserved populations of employees, and more.
Presentation by Carol Morrison, i4cp senior research analyst, on relevant i4cp research
- i4cp’s holistic well-being model
- High-performance organizations’ mental well-being practices
- Next practices that support mental well-being
- Direction to i4cp website (and Employer Resource Center) for additional information assets and research.
Challenges/problem areas and comments noted by attendees:
- Access to mental health care
- Preparing managers to support employees’ mental health
- External catalysts are straining well-being (societal factors rather than work-related)
- Do organizations manage holistic well-being as one experience through one functional area and is that a best practice
- Company is considering financial well-being in planning for employee return to office – concerns about commute costs, childcare, pet care, lunch.
- Role of cross-training in enabling flexibility for on-site workers
Strategies shared by attendees:
Training in mental health recognition/response, support for managers, and more:
- As part of our Oct 2021 Mental Health Awareness Month, we did offer a training to leaders where we started with the basics - defining well-being, what does mental health entail. Very introductory, so we have a similar vocabulary on which to base future conversations and learnings.
- In Canada, several years ago we used a playbook that was developed by a government agency and campaign that was a tremendously well done toolkit that we didn't need to customize.
- We started with Mental Health First Aid and moved to an internal shortened training. Training for employees and one specific for managers - Notice, Engage, Support model
- Member started a "well-being project team" just last month. Representative across areas of the business and includes reps from our Global Morale Committee, D&I Global Advisory Committee, and Benefits team. That way we have a wider viewpoint into what employees need and what we can do.
- We added behavioral health counselors to our on-site health centers after some analytics to understand needs and community access challenges. They reverted to virtual during the pandemic but not the long term plan for them. We have other virtual options.
Member shared script used to discuss well-being in manager/employee conversations:
Here's what we include in our quarterly check-ins script, for people managers and employees to use as a sample of how they can discuss how they are doing:
Share how you are doing:
What do you need to feel accountable, autonomous, and successful in your work?
What are you doing to stay engaged?
What are you doing to care for your overall health and well-being?
What keeps you up at night - either out of excitement or concern?
What additional feedback or observations would you like to share?
Links mentioned in the meeting:
Member link to i4cp’s Employee Well-being Series page: https://www.i4cp.com/c/well-being-series
Public link to i4cp’s Employer Resource Center: https://www.i4cp.com/coronavirus
Link to Mental Health First Aid: https://www.mentalhealthfirstaid.org/
Member-Contributed Well-being Tips
Thanks to all Board and Exchange members who contributed tips their organizations have used to positively affect employee well-being, especially mental well-being. Many of the tips shared embody next practices in action.
The tips have been gathered into a new toolkit – Next Practice Tips in Employee Well-being and posted to the Board and Exchange pages of the i4cp website. With the approval of all who contributed, the tips toolkit will be made accessible for i4cp members. Following today’s meeting, Marianne will send all Total Reward Leader Board and Employee Well-being Exchange members links to the toolkit.
Breakout session summaries submitted by attendees:
Breakout Room 2 – thanks to scribe Maria Dee
Many organizations have historically experienced an internal stigma associated with mental health issues; how has this changed in your experience?
What examples can you share of how you are pro-actively making it more acceptable and normal to acknowledge that employees have mental health issues and concerns?
- All organizations (Kaiser Permanente, Genentech, VFC, Vertex) were focused on addressing mental health even before the pandemic, however, refocused mental health efforts during the pandemic.
- Vertex (Catherine): Changed programming and provided offerings that appealed to everyone. Offered Headspace and Ginger.io as mental health support tools, promoted telehealth options. Currently trying to look for a global solution. Integrate efforts with the inclusion and diversity initiatives.
- VFC (Jessica): Created a task force before the pandemic. Effort to coordinate the experiences across the organization – focused on their top 10 markets. Worked to standardize the way mental health and well-being was promoted and it was talked about. This prompted training – with it being strongly encouraged with VP levels and above (use a “notice, talk, ask” model in the US). Trying to rollout in all their geographies. Jessica herself started to tell/share her own personal story about dealing with anxiety publicly with hopes it will encourage other leaders to be vulnerable and share their story.
- Genentech (Tim): Offers meQuilibrium program. During pandemic they had a revelation that it was critical to focus on managers as they can empathize with employees and better support them, build trust (via bi-weekly calls), building connections.
- Kaiser Permanente (Maria): Started with Mental Health First Aid, then created a 30-minute internal mental health training with a “notice, engage, support” model available for all employees and one for managers – aimed to reduce stigma on mental health and to encourage a work environment that feels safe for individuals to ask and seek help. A “mental health advocate network” of volunteers is used to promote the training with additional training opportunities to help them promote the resources available for employees.
Taking a multi-faceted approach – for senior leaders, focused on addressing role modeling and behaviors that impact the work culture and environment, for managers – education and training on how to take care of themselves and how to connect employees to resources they might need, and for employees – doing more forms of recognition to help them feel more valued.
Breakout Room 3 – thanks to scribe Tiffany Kramlich
What investments have you made in the area of mental health and well-being? And how do you know these investments are helping your workforce?
- Support for HR mental wellbeing
- Making mental wellbeing resources easy to find
- Considering enhancing EAP offerings – quality and ease of use – reviewing vendors
Our research indicates that many organizations are still experiencing stumbling blocks in their desire to acknowledge and invest in mental health—what roadblocks do you see?
- Recognizing issues only when they reach a state of crisis
- Limited money, resources and time
- Lack of vendors who can meet the needs
- Coordinating services across multiple vendors
Breakout Room 4 – thanks to scribe Johnny Liang
What has been your experience using technology to enhance access to mental health resources?
- For Dolby, Modern Health is the EAP replacement provider; app-based; implemented about 1.5 years ago after the pandemic; increased utilization rate but now dropped off; in the process of analyzing it; a well-rounded platform with ample resources and opportunities to connect – listening circles focusing on different topics.
- For T-Mobile, EAP site with T-Mobile branded. Marketing did good job with it; it’s well-utilized; ticketing system to log in with issues; getting users to the right place; 5 free sessions; now it’s 10 sessions. Family and significant others; found it’s been a real challenge getting service providers; you can go on a site and look yourself; you can reach out for facilitators to help if needed; people like the fact that it’s branded with T-Mobile.
Addressing children’s mental health? Healthcare providers do not want to use in-network providers; financial burden to address children’s wellbeing; could come up more.
- For Capital One, virtual visits through life health; highly advertised; there is a reminder to go for resources; business resource groups help promote; they will point people to EAP resources; Did go to benefits engagement platform - big spike in engagement and participation and then dropping; feedback is easier to access (but it’s not as effective as we thought it would be) - it does have ability to look at data to nudge.
Any segmented approach? Micro-culture that exists; there will be some storytelling; there is a lot of energy in this space. “Beautifully Human” initiative from Capital One really resonated; relatability is important.
Breakout Room 5 – thanks to scribe Marie Potter
Has your organization explored using the BRG/affinity group model or other informal support networks for creating a safe place to focus on mental health and well-being?
Is there a story of a particular leader who has demonstrated genuine care and concern for employees struggling with mental health and well-being concerns?
- Yes, using BRG/ERG/affinity groups. Wide array of groups – including some specifically for employees with disabilities/differences (invisible disabilities such as mental health, chronic illness). These groups tend to be intersectional in membership too.
- ERG engagement = can see variances between corporate office and front-line (store/supply chain). Considering how to address that divide with hybrid work as well.
- Holistic well-being programming – grown from grass roots, with affinity groups being co-sponsors or supporters to help leverage awareness.
- Nimbleness in resources to the teams that need them the most – see the need + meet the need, where they are. Example: stress on the supply chain arm of the org.
- Leader example: power of senior leader who stepped forward and said, ‘let’s talk about mental health,’ and supported this with funding of training/programming.
- Executive sponsorship is impactful. HR partner to provide support as well.
Breakout Room 6 – thanks to scribe Ashley Dickerson
How does the issue of employee mental health and well-being look different in geographies outside North America?
- It is important to take into consideration how different cultures view mental health and what the different support systems look like in different cultures.
- It is challenging to find one solution that will work for employees in multiple countries – Finding resources/vendors/apps that are applicable to different cultures and are available in multiple languages.
- May need to provide different resources to different groups
- Providing internal trainings that can apply to all employees
What specific training are you providing managers to help them identify, care for and equip employees who struggle with mental health issues?
This meeting is exclusively for members of the Employee Well-Being Exchange, Total Rewards Leader Board.
If you'd like to participate, please contact us to see if you qualify.
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- Mental Health First Aid
- Online Mental Health Training (for some groups it is mandated)
- For employees
- More in depth for managers
- Manager playbook for wellbeing