Workplace Wellness and Mental Health
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It looks like we have everyone here. So we'll go ahead and begin.
First on behalf of G&A Partners welcome to today's webinar. Workplace Wellness and Mental Health. Before we begin today's presentation, I want to quickly point out a few important pieces of information. First, we are recording this webinar. The on-demand version will be available for viewing on our site by the end of the week so make sure to check back soon. Second this webinar has been pre-certified by HRCI and SHRM for one hour of recertification credit. Those of you who attend this broadcast in its entirety will receive an email from G&A Partners about how to claim your credit. Third, we welcome your questions. If at any time during the presentation, you have a question you'd like for us to answer, send it to us using the “Questions” tab in the GoToWebinar menu bar. We'll try to get to as many of these as we can at the end of the presentation. Before we get started with today's presentation, we wanted to share a little bit about what we do. As a leading national HR outsourcing provider, G&A Partners specializes in helping employers more efficiently manage their human resources and administrative functions by giving them access to a team of HR, benefits and payroll experts all for about the same cost of hiring just one full time employee. If you'd like to learn more about how G&A Partners can help your organization overcome its HR challenges, visit our website at www.gnapartners.com. So without further ado, let's get started with today's presentation.
Today's presentation is about how you as an employer can help your employees cope with anxiety and stress during these times of crisis. Our speakers today are our very own, Olivia Curtis and Denise Macik. Olivia is a certified personal trainer, fitness nutritionist and wellness expert. In her current role as Wellness Specialist for G&A Partners, she manages G&A’s award winning full service Evolve wellness program both internally and for many of G&A’s clients. Now a little bit about Denise. Denise has worked as a human resources manager in the central Texas area for over 25 years. She has worked in manufacturing, warehousing, sales and biotech industries. Denise attended Sinclair College and the University of Dayton, both located in Dayton, Ohio. She also received her PHR certification in 2013 and her SHRM CP certification in 2014. She is currently a Human Resources Advisor in the College Station area. for G&A Partners. With that said, I'd like to go ahead and turn it over to Denise and Olivia. Thank you.
Good afternoon, everyone, and welcome to the webinar. You can see our agenda is posted here on your screen. And we're going to cover various aspects of wellness what it is, why it's important. And we talk specifically are going to talk about COVID-19 to how the pandemic has played a big part in the mental and physical wellness of our employees. But that doesn't just stop there. It's the natural disasters, It’s the social conflict. So there are a number of other reasons that this topic is very timely for us today. We're going to talk about the HR compliance side of all of this. Even though this is all great. We always know that there are some compliance issues we have to keep in front of us as we delve through these matters. And then Olivia is going to share with us some additional resources for you to use. We hope that you find something new in this presentation that's something different and can apply it to help make your workplace a better place. Olivia. Thank you so much, Denise.
What is Wellness?
This is a topic that I'm very passionate about and very excited to discuss with you guys. Like Denise said mainly due to the current state of our workforce right now. Simply put our employees are struggling and they need our help. And I truly believe that any organization, regardless of their budget, their employee count or other circumstances can roll out comprehensive wellness strategies and have them positively affect not only their employees in the time of need, but also their company as a whole. So I'm looking forward to chatting about a few ways to go about accomplishing that.
So there are many ways to define wellness but these are a few that I'd like to bring to your attention today. The top one by Mark Twain is definitely my least favorite definition but unfortunately, it's the one that resonates with a lot of our employees. So our goal with wellness is to discredit this negative outlook on health and make it a more comprehensive, positive and exciting approach. So the latter two are much more in line with how we want to portray health and wellness. And you'll see that The Wellness Institute mentions that it's “an active process through which people can make choices towards a more successful existence.” I love that more successful existence we're going to harp on that a lot during this presentation. And then you can see the World Health Organization highlights that Wellness truly is all inclusive and “not merely the absence of disease or infirmity” Thanks Jackie. So in summary wellness is a conscious choice. It's comprehensive and multi-dimensional it's a very positive and uplifting notion and above all, it's the process of achieving a person's highest potential, which is huge for me. So my main takeaway from these definitions of wellness during our current situation is that when employees cannot achieve their highest potential – whether that's at work or at home.
They can't do that when they're struggling to cope with mental health, especially during the pandemic. And we as employers have a lot of power to help them along this path to wellness as they spend at least a quarter of their week with us hours wise. So that's a lot of time for us to help them.
And moving on from that, now that we've actually defined what wellness is we want to get your thoughts before we go into why we need it and how we can address it with our employees during this pandemic. So in just a moment, you'll see a poll question pop up on your screen. And you'll have about 30 seconds to answer. So if we can advance that and get that question up, we should see that on your screen in just a second. And the question is, ‘do you currently offer a comprehensive wellness program to your employees?’ So again, we'll give you about 30 seconds to answer that question starting now. And while you're doing that these poll questions will help us tailor our material to specific situations. We really appreciate your participation. We'll give you a couple of seconds to think about that and answer that. Perfect. So it looks like we have that here. We can see how many of you do offer a comprehensive wellness approach to your employees and those who don't. And this is wonderful. So for those of you that already do offer a program hopefully you'll be able to glean some new ideas that you can implement in your own program to keep it really fresh and improving. And for those that do not hopefully, this will give you the tools necessary to consider starting one even on a very small scale. So thank you guys so much for your participation with us.
What is Wellness in the Workplace?
Well, we have covered you're seeing this live virtual presentation is in separate areas of the country. So bear with us for just a moment as we get our system working. But what is wellness in the workplace. You know we talk about the physical, the mental, the emotional wellness that Olivia was sharing with us about our bodies about our minds. We don't. We also have a wellness in the Workplace - a business wellness. And those report cards can look different much different than those for employees, you see here, we've listed a few things like good processes solid SOPs, profitability gains, market gains. All of those things make the business successful. That's what a good healthy report card looks like in the business world. But we lose sight when we only use that to determine the wellness of our workplace. We lose sight of our employees because without them. And those individuals contributing to our team. We can't achieve these things. So we must realize that losing sight of our employees is critical to our success because your organization is only as healthy as your employees are.
So with that, we are going to turn that over and let's talk a little bit about why? Exactly, so the need to focus on wellness with our employees seems to increase every year. And recently probably every day. So the reality is that health care costs are continually rising. And actually about 75% of chronic diseases are preventable. And they're the ones that are responsible for about ¾ of health care spending. So that's huge. And when I say preventable chronic diseases. I'm referring to heart disease, stroke some forms of cancers and obesity and then it's moving along that list according to a survey done by the CDC a couple of years ago about 80% of American adults do not get the recommended amount of daily exercise. And I suspect that that has not gotten any better with the recent closure of gyms, the stay-at-home orders and obviously the encouragement of social distancing. So that's an issue. And then in a study that was done by the American Psychological Association and the American Institute of Stress in 2014, so that was 6 years ago, 44% of Americans said that they felt more stress now than they did five years ago. And I say that from 2014. So again, that was some six years ago. And I can guarantee that this has risen severely in just the past six months. So overall, our lives have become so much more fast paced, plugged in, cut throat and a ton more competitive than ever before. And now we have the COVID-19 pandemic to struggle with as well. The stress levels truly are skyrocketing. And that last point there finally mental health diagnoses, so things like anxiety and depression, are at an all time high with a 32.43% increase in depression and other reported issues just since the start of this pandemic. So again, our employees need us more than ever before. So like we just discussed. Employees are under a tremendous amount of stress and each employee will deal with that stress in a little bit of a different way. So for our next poll question we hope to see how many of you have experienced employees coming to you with a mental health issue that they're struggling with.
You'll see this question up on your screen and it’s ‘Have you experienced an employee advising you of any mental health issues?’ So again, we'll give you about 30 seconds to answer this question and we'll chat about the results. Wonderful so this is actually very surprising. Thank you for your participation and that's wonderful that so many of your employees feel comfortable coming to you with their struggles and hopefully the remainder of this presentation will aid in guiding you through these and different scenarios as we continue to strive to support your employees through these difficult times. And to me, it says our HR guru, would You like to add any comments on these results. Sure this doesn't surprise me at all. In fact, this is probably the trend that I'm seeing in working with my client base and with other industries that materials that I'm reading. This is this can start to be a sticky area. We just need to really pay attention to how we respond. I will talk a little bit about that later. in a few of the slides, but we want to make sure that we cover all of the other detail and arm you with how to prepare for this. Before we talk about preparing for it. But this is excellent information and it is right on point. So Olivia, why don’t you take us to employee wellness. Perfect. Thank you.
COVID-19 & Employee Wellness
Whether your employees choose to come to you directly with their struggles or not, mental distress during the current circumstances surrounding COVID-19 is extremely common. The employees are now struggling with their mental health more than ever before as they face just complete unpredictability and uncertainty in all aspects of their life as well as dealing with what a lot of us are calling the new normal. So we're seeing changes in employment whether that being a great deal more busy and stressed or being laid off unexpectedly. Our employees are navigating the challenges that come with working while children at home, being confined to their homes without in-person support of their co-workers that they're used to. A lot of us are constantly being concerned about catching or spreading COVID-19 to friends and family. And we all know financial stress has increased exponentially as well for a variety of reasons. So with all this on their mind, keeping focus on work and maintaining that high level of performance can be difficult to say the least. And I know that I'm kind of probably sounding like a broken record. But our employees really do need our help. So how can we tell if our employees really need our help. Yes, every employee experiences mental distress to some degree here or there. But when symptoms start becoming constant and begin to affect daily life. That’s when it needs to be addressed.
The symptoms of extreme mental stress related to work can include any or all of the signs that you see here on your screen. And it's very important to keep your eyes open and really trust your instincts as you are interacting with your employees. So through observing your employees, you may start to see a decrease in or lack of productivity with some employees. And this can manifest itself in things like this organization that is particularly uncharacteristic about employee maybe decreased creativity or even decreased or difficulty concentrating. So are some employees needing more time off than normal or are they reporting tons of physical symptoms like frequent headaches stomach aches maybe digestive issues a lack of energy or excessive muscle tension like a lot of back and neck pain. Are you seeing any changes in personality or behavior? Are these employees maybe not working as well with their team? Do you notice that they're more withdrawn on? They're easily frustrated or agitated. Are they more cynical at work? Are you noticing extreme highs or lows in their emotions? All of these are typical signs that we need to step in and offer assistance because these employees are not doing well and are well on their way to complete burnout and exhaustion.
Employee Warning Signs
Now that we've covered the warning signs associated with employees that are really struggling with their mental health, we're going to have Denise expound on that a little bit and tell us what impact those employees can have on our workplaces.
That was a pretty in-depth list. And this slide here is just like the tip of the iceberg that we will start to see from negative workplace impact due to mental and emotional stress that our employees can have their very real finds and the impact that these triggers can have in your workplace is significant. So we had the polling question earlier that talks about do you have a wellness program. These are some reasons to really consider trying to do something if it's not just one or two things. But these items here where you have the reduced productivity poor workplace culture you know this is the story goes that employees leave a workplace because of the manager not because of the workplace, not because of the employer itself or the mission or the work they're performing but because the managers didn't care about them. So it's something that's really to be said about being aware of all these concerns and trace that Olivia has taken us through you know, the biggest item that employees find satisfying is the overall care and concern. Many employees find their work is their outlet or even their mission. And when they do not get the care and concern from their employer. This can create an even deeper mental issue and result in them having even further issues where you’re going to have some increased cost in business, you're going to have your benefit plans go up at renewal, you're going to see that turnover and we all know how hard it is to find a new person to replace the old person because it is really hard to train.
Negative Workplace Impact
And in our world today with having to be remote and with having less one on one contact that training period is going to be significantly different. And then revenues decrease. We don't want that. We want to keep our workplaces healthy in a business sense. So we want to keep our employees healthy as well. So I think we have another polling question that's going to be popped up for us. And we are going to ask you to take a few minutes to think about this and respond. So is your workforce working remote. If you would select one. You have about 30 seconds to make that selection. That will also help us guide our discussion as we complete this presentation and can focus a little bit more on your specific situation. All right.
We have quite a significant amount almost half of our team is either yes or somewhat. So this is very common, especially in this time where we have limited space. We have limited situations where we can have the numbers have a certain amount of people in our workplaces. And it's great that you can provide that flexibility. But that flexibility also creates another layer of stress, not only on you. But our employees. So I think we're going to start through a plan of action Olivia. Do you want to start us through that. And we'll identify some things for you to be aware of as employers absolutely. So yes as we discussed it looks like a great deal of your employees are working remotely. So we really do need to tailor our plan of action to that. So what can employers do. And although it's not really the role of the employer or HR to diagnose or treat these mental health disorders. They can play a very integral role and increase in awareness around mental health and taking measures to ensure that employees feel supported empowered and comfortable at work like you see there. So the first thing to do to achieve that. I think, is to start the conversation. So although addressing mental health in the workplace is thankfully becoming much more commonplace. It can still be really difficult to talk about given the stigma around it. So a company can work to displace these misconceptions around mental health by just one bringing this common issue to light, super simple to educating themselves and their employees and creating environments or number 3 and creating an environment where conversation is welcome. Unfortunately there's a ton of employees struggling with mental health that choose to suffer in the dark, but if they feel comfortable and supportive. They're much more likely to reach out for help, which is exactly what we want. So I previously mentioned that it is the role of the employer or HR to ensure that employees feel supported empowered and comfortable at work. But what are some ways we can do that. I mean easier said than done. And thankfully Denise is going to illustrate that one a little bit more for us.
Plan of Action
Let's talk about a plan of action from the HR business perspective, you know training your managers observing them had teaching them how to observe, especially in this virtual workplace that we're seeing so much more of and in our employees having to balance maybe homeschooling with their children or the concerns of sending their kids back to school or even just the day to day connectivity. Sometimes that's just a problem, as well. So if we can train our managers and others in the company to recognize these signs that we've been describing and how those affect mental health and how stress and burnout can really become a little bit more heightened in this time, the time that we're in they petitions early and then we train them how to handle those people and how to talk to those people then maybe we're going to be able to eliminate a lot of pain and suffering for everyone. Establishing proactive check in meeting. This is critical. Having in there. I think is even more critical now that we are. Having that one on one time regular meetings with your staff. Meaningful meaning meeting not just the hey how you doing, say, are you. Good You got everything you need by, it's more of a get on the video camera. Look at that. Look at them make sure they look right. Make sure that the same language that they're speaking is the same that they would have said when they were in the office just really good check and make sure they do have the tools that they need.
And the support they need. But frequent conversations foster healthy relationships that employees can count on when times get tough. And they may be more willing to even pitch in a little harder for you create a culture that encourages a work life balance. You know this time period that we're in and employees working from home. We feel on all the time. So make sure that you try to foster healthy work hours for these people. Make sure you set that start and stop time. You know our emails go off. We know where they are 24/7 to make sure they understand that it's OK. You don't have to answer that email until the next day when you start your shift because so many of us are already checking emails at 5:00 AM in the morning at midnight at night. So make sure we created a culture about work life balance encourage taking PTO don't frown on it people need to be refreshed. If you can adjust schedules and if you can shift where people may get a little bit more over a longer weekend or a little bit more time to regroup and refresh that will also help your performance as a company. So we'll talk a little bit more that we want to talk about on this plan of action is the assessable offer tools, things that thing that may make their work a little bit easier. Offer avenues for anonymous feedback. We all have heard about the little box where you can leave your anonymous letter and had a lot of changes throughout the years that I've been in a jar you know anonymous feedback is critical. Create some kind of survey that will allow your employees to give you candid feedback. It is hard to address an anonymous complaints or an anonymous issue. But you do it as a whole. Then they will still notice you. They were hurt and if you try to help them through that implement company wide wellness initiative. Oh my goodness G&A Partners has a great resource for you for that.
If you're one of our clients. We would encourage you to talk to one of your trusted advisors about that. If you're not one of our clients then we would definitely encourage you to research this outside of our company and find some local vendors that can help you. Because when people know you care about them people will be committed to you and they will also help to support you and they will also be healthier. So as we get through that Olivia's going to take us through another plan of action around wellness initiatives. Yeah So Denise mentions company-wide wellness initiatives and that can cover a very broad range of action items just like she mentioned. Mental health is extremely intertwined with every aspect of health. Which is why it's so important to have a comprehensive and well-rounded approach and well-rounded interventions. And we cannot address mental health especially during this pandemic without also addressing every other dimension of what you see here. So you can see although we've listed all the dimensions of wellness we've found that during these current times mental and emotional physical, social, and financial health are where you're going to get the most bang for your buck. So we're really going to focus and hone in on those for the rest of the time that we have together. And as we discuss these specific initiatives in each of these four dimensions of wellness. It's important to note that wellness activities that are not integrated into a comprehensive workplace strategy. Studies show that they're likely to fail. So we as companies need to focus on the total health model and intentionally build a company culture of health. That's supportive of complete mental and emotional and physical and social and financial. All of those things the whole well-being not just the occasional weight loss challenge that's not going to do a whole lot for your population. So to help guide you through creating this culture of health. We're going to take you through each of the four dimensions of wellness that we have started here and talk about one what it is, then why it's important. And then chat about some ways we can address it in the form of company wide and personal initiative.
For our first one. And arguably the most important right now is the mental and emotional. The mental and emotional wellness is being able to emotionally cope with stress and challenges in a healthy, productive way. So again, all of us feel stressed here and there. But it's how we address that stress that truly determines the status of our mental health going along with that mental and emotional health kind of refers to things like stress management capabilities self esteem, self acceptance maybe how often we engage in self care and how we employ optimism and positivity in our lives. So many of our employees are unfortunately not equipped to emotionally cope with the stress and challenges that they're facing in a healthy and productive way. So how do we address that. How do we help them. And all of these activities that you see here are geared more towards the individual employee. So as a trusted employer or manager, you're in a very unique and special position to actually coach your employees who may be struggling with stress and challenges. So it's important to have a couple of these techniques in your arsenal that you can maybe suggest or walk your employees through. So the first tool that you can pass along to your employees is the importance of planning and scheduling. So with all of the uncertainty and predict an unpredictability many individuals find themselves for lack of a better word paralyzed with the stress and they're continually ruminating on the negative, but it's all around us. And it's crucial to prevent that rumination and just get to work. So help them create a to do list help them set deadlines and follow through with goals. And you can further step in and help them with accountability by checking in on them in a very supportive way as you see fit. So that's a huge one I'm compartmentalizing is also very powerful as many employees feel overwhelmed with everything they mentioned like work family life, their healthy economy. Their finances and everything else. So let's help them simplify and focus on one thing at a time sort of. Again, just getting paralyzed to all what's on their mind. So one thing you can do is really encourage them to visualize their mind as a series of doors. So instead of having all the doors open at once, which honestly stresses me out just thinking about that we can teach them to just open one door or one to complete it. And then close it before opening another that'll really help them from getting overwhelmed. Another great one is meditation and breathing. It can be an incredible tool, but it can also sound a bit scary because the word meditation can sound very daunting. You can direct them and you don't have to be a master in meditation. You can direct them to useful breathing or meditation focus maybe YouTube videos or apps like headspace simple habit call or there's a bunch of other ones that you can suggest to help them get started. And also just encouraging them to step back close their eyes and take 10 low deep breaths. Every once in a while to do wonders for the mind maybe once an hour. Once every other hour. We get so inundated with work that we forget to breathe. I've heard it called life apnea. So keep that in mind. That's the individual. Again, just getting outside in the sunshine can also have a big impact mentally with a very small time investment staying positive. That next one obviously won't fix everything but it certainly can't hurt. So to help increase their positivity and really light in their minds that you can recommend that they just make sure that they're connecting with others that they trust distracting themselves with healthy hobbies that they enjoy. Definitely setting limits when it comes to news and social media. I mean, a lot of us have the news on 24/7. We get it on social media. We get it everywhere. 90% of it is negative. So we really need to set limits for our minds on that. Practicing gratitude whether that's keeping a gratitude journal or simply expressing it verbally each day, you can incorporate gratitude into each one of your meetings if you want to that would be something to kind of lighten it up. And then listen to uplifting music can do a lot to lift you out of a slump. So again, these are all things that you can do to help your and your struggling employees through their situations. But Denise is also going to give us some ideas on how we can help our employees with their mental and emotional moment on a company wide scale.
So when we start thinking about those things Olivia talked about we get a little overwhelmed. We obviously need tools to help get it get those into place for our work for employees into our workplaces. But your policies usually focus more on physical things by you know you've got to clock in on time. You can't lie. You can't cheat you can't feel. So there are some things that are just typical of a policy you might see. But let's think about some other policies. So employee assistance program is there a tool available at your workplace for employees to get free assistance immediately instantly online through a phone call and what those services do is it's kind of like a concierge service of sorts. They can have they who usually have licensed professional answering the phone and they can provide immediate triage. They can also provide financial guidance. They can help find a place for your child. I've even heard one person say they helped find a dog sitter. So there are some things that an EAP employee assistance program can bring to your workplace that is invaluable G&A partnership offers that to our clients. So if you're one of our team members, please reach out to one of your trusted advisors and have them share a little bit more about that process with you. If you're not seek out a local professional and they can provide some tools and resources for you to help your employees things like a stress management class, even though we may be remote we could still have a webinar. We could have time where you know allow everyone to eat their lunch and let's talk about stress. Let's talk about some ways that you find yourself successful you know engage someone from your team somebody that may be a fitness expert or be good at helping people to find positive readings or create a book club do something with your own team and find a champion. They can bring those tools alive for them to create even better employee morale experience for your team. We can talk a little bit about flexible schedules. I know some people some businesses. But that's not possible. But it's something to start considering employees may need a mental break sometimes just that five minutes of alone time can re-engage somebody or reignite just walking out in the parking lot. Getting that sunshine is what Olivia said that can bring an employee focus and sensitivity level back. But think about how you can work through flexible schedules allow people to take a mental health break promote that work life balance. We talked about that a few slides ago. It's important for us to understand where the limits are because we want to do the right thing. Your employees don't come to work intentionally to sabotage you. They want to do the right thing for you. So try to help them promote start stop times primitive grouping counters that can be positive. Have called have chat pages where they can share positive things with the team. I know my team has several chat pages. And we have one that's just for fun and we post silly pictures we say great morning. Good morning. We do a lot of different things with that, we care about each other and honestly, the team that sometimes is very close together has grown to be tighter that way. So there some tools that you can promote that work life balance that maybe you would talk about some physical things that can also happen. Absolutely Yes. So physical bonus is pretty self-explanatory but the importance of it really can't be understated. So like I previously touched upon mental and emotional wellness is very strongly connected with physical wellness. So our physical health is failing more often than not, our minds are failing. And actually in some studies physical activity and exercise have been shown to be even more effective than antidepressants oriented anxiety medications for some individuals. So it really can be a very powerful medicine and physical health doesn't just mean exercising although that's a very integral part, but it also includes things like good nutrition getting enough sleep, drinking enough water taking care of ourselves by attending our annual appointments like our annual physicals with our doctors and avoiding unhealthy coping mechanisms like alcohol smoking or recreational drug. So these things are a couple of ideas that you as an employer can roll out company wide to encourage better physical health for your employees. And I know you can read all these, but I just want to touch on a couple the virtual health or virtual workout classes is something that we've rolled out at G&A Partners. And it has been a huge hit. So we hold a live virtual yoga session every Thursday and we also provide a library of at home YouTube workouts. Literally we just found some great ones we asked our employees to submit some and we compiled a list that employees can access and can complete on their own time and again, we've got some great feedback about that and highlighting another one.
Educating employees on proper ergonomics is more important than ever because employees. They don't. They no longer have access to their ergonomically friendly lumbar supportive chairs and desks and other equipment in the office. Some of us are working from our beds or our kitchen island or things like that. And this can cause back pain and neck pain among other issues. So yes, this is a definite need right now. Mean kind of come through that list are little bit. But tell it up. Teladoc services. This is another huge one smoking cessation program. Health coaching just emailing out or posting healthy tips and workouts and recipes on your company wide intranet help holding company wide challenges to encourage employees to drink more water or eat more vegetables or meditate. Things like that will really help. There's lots that you can do to encourage your employees to improve their physical activity. So we're next one is social wellness as it's essentially being able to develop and nurture healthy relationships. So this is crucial to our overall happiness emotional health. And unfortunately, during this pandemic. This has become increasingly difficult with a remote workforce. And obviously, the encouraged social isolation. So we think of social wellness. Think of things like feeling a sense of belonging having a strong supportive network of people or even just one person that you trust and feel comfortable speaking with and connecting well with your team and communicating effectively and often. So to foster good social wellness. Companies can employ company wide initiatives like virtual lunch or coffee break where employees can gauge with one another and catch up because they no longer have that water cooler talk opportunity that they once had in the office. Then we've actually implemented these at G&A Partners have been and they've also gotten some incredible feedback. Our employees love it. They love seeing each other's faces on the video. Maybe people that aren't usually in their team. It really does do a lot to unite our workforce. You can also roll out company wide recognition programs to highlight individuals that are going above and beyond or even just introducing an employee per month to further help your population, get to know one another feel that sense of belonging. And finally, you can start things like virtual team building activities or company wide virtual service opportunities things like that to help bring people together. So you can get really creative with these.
So this brings us to our last dimension of wellness that we're going to focus on today. And that's financial. Financial wellness is being able to make sound decisions about money and being financially prepared for present and future circumstances. And unfortunately, many of us are not prepared and have not received the education that we need on things like that management or budgeting saving or really just understanding our current financial situation. And the reality is that finances are huge and they're very costly and large problems of both the employee and the employer. So what can we do to help. We have a couple of ideas here. Just simply offering a company sponsored retirement plan and not only make sure that your employees are aware of the program because a lot of companies have them in place. But their employees don't know about them. So make them aware of the program. And then make sure that they fully understand it. And the benefits of contributing. We can also offer other financial education resources, whether it's through online classes handouts email tips or other avenues. It can be something super, super simple as just sending out a YouTube video of maybe how to budget. And then just overall knowledge is power. And we really do have the opportunity to aid our employees in this difficult time by providing them with ways they can gain that knowledge related to their finances which will have a huge impact on their stress overall.
So now that we've covered in my opinion, the most important dimensions of wellness for our employees during this time what benefits can you expect from implementing a few of these comprehensive wellness initiatives into your company. And overall, this comprehensive well-rounded approach to wellness will help support our employees as they try to find and restore some sense of balance and wellness and the current turmoil. You can help them experience things like you can see here reduce anxiety, depression improved self-esteem increased energy increased productivity improved physical health and just overall an increase in happiness and quality of life. So all of this in turn can really help your employees become incredible fulfilled representatives of them some of their families and your company. Now all of this is more on an individual note, but this is going to touch on a few benefits that you can see on a company wide scale as well. Thanks Olivia.
As an employer when we start paying attention to all of these facets of our employees. We are going to reap the rewards. We look at positive things that you can achieve through education on wellness. You can have higher productivity healthy employees are going to work harder. They may even work a little faster and you may be able to get more out the door than what you initially had healthy employees are also more productive. They have fewer accidents because they may not be as tired or they may not be as stressed. They may not lack sleep, that can create a significant impact on your workers Comp rate. Healthy employees also will experience probably less absenteeism less delay in getting work done. Some employers have reduced or absenteeism by 40% with a good wellness program. Healthy employees have lower health care costs. That's a significant thing for employers and employees right now. These things can be very expensive as an employer and employee depending on how you take care of your employees to help them take care of themselves. Those costs can be impacted significantly. And then employers with a good wellness program usually have a great corporate culture and that improves the ability to retain and attract the best employees. Because that's going to make you the employer of choice in your community. So when we have those things happen, we have good healthy and a good healthy environment. But you know all this fun and games and all that's great.
HR Compliance & Response
But I know there's a lot of us that are on our side, which is a little bit different. And we want to talk about compliance. We've rolled a lot of things out. And what are the rules of engagement. There are rules and his employers have to be very sensitive to that. It's not an easy tangled web to get through. There is the Department of Labor has established several different rules and groups on this. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission oversees complaints about ACA Americans with Disabilities Act, which can be unfair hiring because of a disability, it could be unfair treatment because I told them. I had a mental health issue. It could be I just can't get the work done because I've gained too much weight. So those are some things that you have to be aware of with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Federal family medical leave act is another one that will protect your employees and allow them time legally for employers over 50 employees works by the employees to have protection for up to 12 weeks while they retain regain their health. It also helps with some other things. But those are the rules of engagement you have HIPPA. You have some privacy thing. You know, the thing that is concerning about this is when these employees I just have one sentence that you need to remember when they come to you, and they tell you that I've been seeing a counselor and they said, I have a major depression disorder is just look at them and care and act. How can I help you. So find out what they need and then reach out to a trusted advisor. Don't try to go through this on your own. This is a very slippery slope. And we want to make sure that we engage with those people that are more knowledgeable on the topic. So that you can avoid a disaster. And B have an employee that's healthy and productive. We talked a little bit earlier about the supported virtual one on one meeting. Those are critical as you move forward from the HR compliance side as well, because what you expect you might expect. Right So with that, you need to take into consideration all of the rules of engagement, the privacy. They have the ACA FMLA all of those things that can be associated to this topic. But you also have to get the work done. When you are having those one on one. It will allow you to act faster. It will allow you to observe more quickly. And it will allow you to open that question that is open ended questions. It will allow you to start that dialogue. When you sit down and you start seeing these things. No take your observation. That's one of the biggest things in nature. If it's not documented it didn't happen. Then if you look at this and you say, OK, well, I've noticed that you've been logging in the last 14 call to clients have come and said that they've had trouble or difficulty reaching you or getting a response starting asking those open ended questions. Hey, how can I help you be successful at this. Because I know you can do it. I know you're working from home. I know you may be teaching your kids on the you know while you're trying to do our work. Let's talk about how we can help you be successful. And then establish the ground rules make sure you they understand that you're supportive, but you're not going to remove that accountability. But walk them through in a way that they feel cared and trusted and they trust you and they know that you're going to do the right thing by them because you've followed a lot of these other things that we've talked about before in this presentation, you care about their wellness you care and your concerns. So focus on the work related item don't make things personal when you do have to have those one on ones that may not be as a positive tone. But make sure they understand that we're here for you. Help us understand how we can make you successful. What do you think success looks like in your role. So make sure you keep that dialogue open because your eyes might be open to you might realize you're not even in the right job. So make sure that support tool is there. And then it has to get to where there's just something not working out. Reach out to a trusted advisor. If you're a G&A client. We would certainly welcome that conversation with you as a client advocate. We have a team of professionals that can help you also, if you're not a client of ours, you have a team, your own professionals and resources that can help you walk through those issues and circumstances that supportive. One on one will open up a lot of doors for you create a positive team culture when people know you care about them and you have those one on one day as a whole. Feel more supported. They feel valued. You are able to prove your track record. If you ever have to face anything negative is a follow up item to these concerns and promote wellness practices and policies. I can't say it enough. I've seen it over and over. When we see that employees are mentally healthy employees. We stay productive employers. And we see good communication. And we see positive workplaces because after all, we are together probably more at work than we are with our families or at least we used to be. But that is it is a point for us to always remember. We have not only had to change with the time we've had to change our business practices we've had to change the in-game rules of engagement with our associates one on one. But it's also time for us to realize how they were impacted as well. And how we can take the tools or the rules of engagement and make them work for our advantage. So we hope this that you found this interesting. And I know G&A has compiled a set of resources that I think she's going to walk us through here as we end our presentation. And Olivia. I'll turn it over to you.
Employee Resources Summary
Thank you so much Denise. So yes, we just wanted to end with a summary of what we think are some of the most crucial resources for your employees and your company that we covered today. You can read all of them on this list. We've covered each one of them. But I really just want to drive home the fact that a truly comprehensive wellness strategy that is developed and executed well going along with what Denise said, not only shows employees that they're cared about within the organization in these hard times. But through these initiatives they also receive the education and tools they need to address themselves as a whole and really ensure that they can make those choices towards a more successful existence and reach their full potential. Like we discussed at the beginning of the presentation. So as employees and organizations work together towards these goals. Employees are much happier. They're more engaged, they're more productive. And organizations can see the benefits of this with their employee culture reputation and bottom line. So thank you guys so much for your time. And with that, I think we have a couple minutes for questions from Jackie. I'll turn it back to you.
Awesome Thank you. Olivia and here we are now going to go ahead and open it up as in Q&A. We do have 15 minutes to go to interest him in the question. So as I said at the beginning of our presentation you can type questions for Olivia And Denise on the right side of your page and the good to have it our many firms we'll give everyone about 30 seconds to submit your questions and then we'll return to the Q&A session. All right.
So our first question is, what do I do if an employee brings me his or hers medical transcripts to prove a mental health issue. I'll take that one. Listen to this. So first of all, I would always say don't take it. Don't take a brown envelope. Don't take anything. Just acknowledge that the employee has brought you something that is very concerning to them that they're trying to prove a point and bring them into in area that is just the two of you. It doesn't have to be a closed door. But in a very private area that you can have a conversation with the employee and kind of find out what's going on. And again, that one phrase how can I help you. I understand this might be used for a terrible time for you. How can I help you. And just write down some notes of what they're perceiving what their feelings are and just tell me you know you might want to keep that documentation because I need to talk with HR I need to talk with our trusted advisor. And we will work through a plan to try and figure out what we can and can't do to help you through this time, it's really important because not to take those types of documents that have a lot of detail on them because then you become privileged. You have that knowledge and then you can suffer some things in those rules of engagement that we don't like to hear like a retaliation charge or. Well, they knew I was sick. So they didn't do anything to help me or they knew I was sick. So they fired me. So if it's important to make sure that you don't just take things they share with you. Listen respond with empathy provide support. Make sure they care and make sure they know you're going to follow up most of all. And then reach out to a trusted advisor and let those people help walk you through the next steps of that situation because you may be engaging in an interactive process with them. Great Thank you, Denise.
Our second question is, when meeting virtually with employees. Can I require them to turn on their camera. Olivia. I'll take that one to those more in the HR world. It's no different, really, than meeting in an office. You know we have meetings that we require to see everyone say. It's not necessarily a may I wouldn't make it a mandate. I would make it a preference. And then if you have someone on your team that just really refuses to do that talk to them. Maybe you need to provide them a screensaver maybe they don't want you to necessarily see the relevance or they don't want you to hear their kids in the background. Maybe it's something that you need to walk through one on one with that person. But it is something that we see more and more often, and being required of employers by employees to have still have that virtual connection, because it is important to be able to look at the employee face to face and not just deal strictly over the phone. I would tread lightly and reach out to a trusted advisor for follow up on that. OK, awesome.
Now this third and last question seems to be more for Olivia. I mean, it's a two part question. So Olivia, what resources would you recommend I use to help create our wellness initiative and if we don't have a current wellness strategy. What is the best way to start when of course. So first as far as resources go. I would recommend your insurance provider be kind of your first thing out the gate. So many insurance providers have a great wellness program and wellness resources especially regarding mental health. So be sure to reach out to them and ensure that you're taking advantage of all of those included services at no cost. Also there are tons of resources online. I mean, a simple Google search will give you hundreds of ideas on pretty much any subject that your employees seem to be struggling with. You can turn to Google. I mean, obviously make sure they're reputable. They can also turn to reputable companies like, welcome to the realm of Council of America is a great one for the World Health Organization. They're wonderful as well, especially with mental health. And then obviously, you have us, G&A. I mean, we can help you with anything from a simple discussion if you're just looking to bounce ideas off of us or if you're wanting advice or new ideas. We can also help you with rolling out virtual classes all the way to setting up and rolling out a full comprehensive wellness program. So we can do anything that you need. So if you have any questions, don't hesitate to reach out to us. And I think the second part of that is if you don't have a wellness strategy. What's the best way to start. And I would just say start by gauging the interest and needs of your employees. So this can be done through things like an employee interest survey. So they feel a part of the process and what they want out of a wellness program. You can employ a health risk assessment and HRA health culture audit or even a biometric screening. So all of these things will help you know what your employees need in once. And then from there, you can start adding in smaller wellness initiatives that address the most prominent employee needs or what. So you don't want to just throw together a random program and roll it out. You want it to be as customized as possible to fit your employees in your company, in your company culture. So again, I would start by asking your employees what they need and want awesome.
Thank you so much Olivia and Denise. Unfortunately, we are out of time for the Q&A session. If we did not get to your question during this presentation, we invite you to send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. And so just a few final reminders before we end today's presentation. First, this webinar has been recorded and will be posted in the resources section of the G&A Partners website by the end of the week. Second this webinar is pre-certified by HRCI and SHRM for one hour of general recertification credit. So all of you who attended this broadcast in its entirety will receive an email from G&A Partners with more information on how to obtain your credit within the next few days. We'd also like to invite you to check out our resource library at www.gnapartners.com resources for additional HR and business resources, including all of our on demand webinars. So once again, thanks to you all for attending. And thank you Olivia and Denise for a great presentation. Have a great afternoon, everyone.