The COVID-19 pandemic is undoubtedly touching every aspect of work and human resources – and health and well-being are no exception. This has pushed employers to take a key role in supporting employees in their efforts to lead healthy lifestyles.
On October 7, Journi sponsored the American Heart Association’s 11th Annual Worksite Wellbeing Summit to host conversations about addressing well-being in our “new normal.” Co-hosted by Coleen Carey, Journi Vice President of Sales and Marketing, the summit discussed actionable strategies in employee health and engagement, improved workplace culture, financial wellness, and diversity, equity and inclusion.
Attendees came together virtually to learn from expert speakers – including Dee Cruz, Cambia Health Solutions’ Vice President of Consumer Obsession – who discussed best practices to promote well-being within a remote workplace, create a family-supportive workplace, provide financial guidance for employees, and how to adopt sustainable diversity, equity and inclusion practices.
Impact of Remote Work on Inclusion
Many of us are navigating the unprecedented challenges presented by COVID-19 while simultaneously addressing systemic racism in the workplace. Dee Cruz, Vicki Nakashima, Community Advocate with the organization Partners in Diversity, and Dr. Larry Martinez, Assistant Professor of Psychology at Portland State University, explored how diversity, equity and inclusion efforts can be a powerful solution to employee challenges, and how employers can create a stronger, more sustainable future.
“At Cambia we are thinking of it in two frames,” Dee Cruz shared when asked what attendees should take away from the conversation. “How can we support consumers along their health journey? How can we create better equity? Better access points? And how do we hold ourselves accountable for that?”
Not sure where to begin? The panelists emphasized the importance of listening to what employees want to see and need. Then, taking regular and authentic action to deliver on those requests.
Caring for Caregivers
Dr. Amy Beacom, Founder, Center for Parental Leave Leadership, discussed the evidence-based ways that employers can support the mothers, fathers, caregivers, brothers and sisters who are balancing work and more work.
By honoring an employee’s need for greater freedom, flexibility, transparency, customization and control of their health and well-being decisions, Dr. Beacom encouraged employers and managers to take action that is personally and professionally supportive.
That action and support will look different for each person. However, managers can support their employees through this “messy middle” by creatively and appropriately keeping in touch, advocating on their behalf, and supporting their effort to make this new normal sustainable.
Creating Culture in a New Environment
Many businesses have had to adapt since the COVID-19 pandemic hit; causing facility closures, increased need for a remote workforce and impacts to employees’ day-to-day routine. The final session of the day, moderated by April Coiteux, Director of Account Management at Regence BlueCross BlueShield, looked at opportunities to anticipate what will come next and how to support people through that experience.
Cassie Buckroyd, Wellbeing Programs Manager at Columbia Sportswear Company, candidly shared that although she was proud of the way her organization adjusted to assist employees, she wished that they could have done so more quickly. Adding that in the early days of the pandemic there was a lot of focus on reframing health benefits to speak to the situation that employees were in. “I can’t tell you how many matrices I created,” she joked. “So that employees could look at their situation and what benefits applied.”
The other panelists echoed her sentiment, sharing that employers need to continually help their employees adapt to a new way of life that deeply integrates health and well-being as an important part of their professional lives.
To learn more about how Journi can support health equity, plus the evolving physical, behavioral and financial needs people face each day, contact us here.