Three Key Takeaways from Green Circle Life's Webinar: "Promoting Emotional Wellbeing During COVID and Beyond"
On April 14th, Green Circle Life presented a webinar about the importance of supporting employees' wellbeing in the workplace featuring John Daniel, speaker, author and former Chief Human Resources Officer for First Horizon Corporation and Annie Lutostanski, FNP-C, Director of Live Coaching, Nurse Practitioner/Health Partner for Green Circle Life.
The experts shared many valuable insights including these three key takeaways from the hour-long event:
1. Promoting a culture of wellbeing in the workplace leads to more productivity.
Companies haven't always promoted wellbeing in the workplace as a part of their culture. Peter Drucker, known as the "father of management" maintained that companies were violating their employees' privacy by taking their wellbeing into account. That's just not the widely held belief anymore.
According to Daniel, extensive research and numerous studies of behavior support the practice of promoting wellbeing in the workplace. Not only is it a good idea to care for your employees because it's the right thing to do-it can actually lead to a more productive workforce.
How? Wellbeing is an inner state that can be characterized as feelings of strong emotion; a key subset of wellbeing is happiness. Rather than being an objective measure of wealth or other resources, overall wellbeing is a subjective measure that can be determined through an employee responding to a company-provided survey about how they are feeling. Knowing how employees are feeling and why and providing programs and resources they may need leads to a positive and healthy environment.
As Lutostanski pointed out, emotional state and overall wellness go hand-in-hand. To achieve wellness, you must engage in certain behaviors in order to lead a more productive life. Providing employees access to tools that are easily accessible creates a culture of wellbeing.
"People bring their personal issues into the workplace. We need to make sure we are creating a culture that allows employees to be the most productive they can be," Daniel said.
2. Companies need to have a defined strategy to create a culture of wellbeing.
With his decades of experience as an HR executive, Daniel discussed the importance of offering a wide array programs for employees. Many are dealing with health issues-chronic or otherwise which can ultimately affect how they perform in the workplace. Others have mental or emotional stress. High levels of stress decrease people's ability to solve problems or manage conflict.
This last year has added another layer of stress outside the workplace for employees. He cited a recent study in The Wall Street Journal that noted the heavy toll on mental health due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Lutostanski pointed out that in her experience employees may not know what they need to achieve wellness. That's where the importance of a wellness assessment comes into play followed by continued engagement. This helps them understand why they are feeling the way they are. Is it a weight gain as a result of the pandemic? Are they getting less sleep? Is there a chronic condition they aren't managing? Is there financial stress at home?
"You can't make changes until you know where you are," Lutostanski said. "It can take time to sustain change and you need to know what's at the core in order to move forward."
3. Provide employees and their families the tools like Green Circle Life's SmartFHR™ to promote wellness and wellbeing.
People respond to structure and regimen-these are important to mental and emotional health. COVID-19 upended structure for most people for a period of time. It's critical for companies to provide resources for employees as the workplace moves back to some sense of normalcy.
With Green Circle Life's SmartFHR™ app, there are structured programs as well as the coaching and support for employees and their families that encourage engagement. The platform brings together wellness and condition management all in one place making it easy for the employee and their family to access.
"Our health assessment identifies areas that need attention and then we provide the tools," said Lutostanski. "We teach the importance of deep breathing as a way to manage stress. If an employee needs help finding a health provider, we do that. We see even more success when the employee's family participates. We may discuss items for a grocery list. We are trying to help people change their behaviors, set intentional habits to create wellness, and learn skills to cope with stress."
"Caring from leadership goes a long way," Daniel said. "Employees want to know their boss has their back. By nurturing employees and offering them a comprehensive wellness tool like SmartFHR™, they will be happier and more committed to the company."
John Daniel was until recently chief human resource officer for First Horizon National Corporation, the parent company of First Horizon Bank and FHN Financial. Today he is serving as a consultant on cultural integration of its recent merger of equals with Iberia Bank. Over his career John has spoken on Emotional Wellbeing on numerous occasions. Presently he is taking his 30 years of experience in human resource management and writing a book.
Annie is a Nurse Practitioner with 30 years of nursing experience from the ICU to hospice care. In these roles, emotional wellness was a crucial component of holistic care. She has brought her expertise to Green Circle Life where she is Director of Live Coaching. Emotional wellbeing plays a central role in all care and wellness programs developed for the SmartFHR platform.