How’s your company’s heart?

No, I’m not talking about the profit margin, sales, or ROI. I’m talking about how your company supports employees when they are under the weather, down and out, or fighting an uphill battle. What’s the plan when a manager realizes that one of the employees in their department is no longer cutting it? It’s when the going gets rough, that the true heart of a company starts beating.

It’s when the going gets rough, that the true heart of a company starts beating.

This post was inspired by two encounters I had lately. During the first one, a friend mentioned a doctor’s appointment to discuss her state. She’s overwhelmed with a number of issues both in and out of work. She’s feeling fragile and close to a breakdown. I wondered if her manager had met her to discuss how she was feeling, what was going on, which tasks could be taken away to lighten the load. There was no mention of that.

Less than four days later, another friend told me about her progressive return to work, one day the first week, two days the second week, etc. Her supervisor met her the first day of the second week and asked point blank what her game plan was. Game plan? What game plan? For now, maybe one day at a time?

Game plan? What game plan? For now, maybe one day at a time?

According to a 54-page document published by the Canada Conference Board in 2016, entitled Healthy Brains at Work. Employer-Sponsored Mental Health Benefits and Programs, out of the 239 employers surveyed, only 39% (much less than half) had a mental health strategy in place. Yet the costs are exorbitant; the Ontario Chamber of Commerce states on their website that businesses dish out approximately $1500/employee per year to cover the cost of mental health issues.

Businesses dish out approximately $1500/employee per year to cover the cost of mental health issues. – Ontario Chamber of Commerce

Of course, the goal of a business isn’t to play psychologist, therapist or social worker, however, human capital is touted as being the most important capital the company has to work with. Without humans, no company can turn a profit.

In the equation for productivity and growth, where is the emotional variable? The human factor plays a huge role. It doesn’t take an MBA to know that employee retention is a function of engagement, and that engagement is in proportion to the meaning, belonging and support an employee draws from their work. Without empathy in action: care, counsel and compassion, the human factor can become a deterrent to the company’s success.

Without empathy in action: care, counsel and compassion, the human factor can become a deterrent to the company’s success.

It seems surprising that in this age of Bell Talks and so many other mental health campaigns, companies appear to still be in the dark as to how to handle this kind of challenge. A mental health strategy meets two goals: prevention and remediation.

Here are just five simple suggestions to maintain the company’s heart:

  • Hold workshops and training sessions on mindfulness, meditation/exercise and mental health;
  • Publish tips and ideas for well-being regularly on the company intranet or in the corporate newsletter;
  • Maintain communication with employees who are on sick leave to maintain the relationship and facilitate reintegration;
  • Actively work to dispel the stigma relating to mental health issues, like depression, anxiety and burnout;
  • Allocate corporate budget to provide HR with adequate resources to handle mental health issues in the company.  

What does your company do to keep its heart in great shape? Share it in the comments below.

Take care, and keep learning!

Claire :o)

PS For more resources, see the links below:

  1. https://www.conferenceboard.ca/temp/b87f9168-c10a-4b59-82e2-c14e513ae93b/7707_Healthy_Brains_Benefits-and-Programs_BR_EN.pdf
  2. https://occ.ca/mentalhealth/

[Photo Credit: Dragon Images/Shutterstock]

Do you believe in what you’re doing?

Why does it matter? More like: why doesn’t it matter?

I was having a conversation with one of my adult sons about personal work choices. I suppose he was trying to figure out my mindset. 

It got me thinking. I realized that at some point I made a decision to only do work that I believed in. Why?

Well, show me someone who believes in what they’re doing. Then show me someone who doesn’t believe in what they’re doing. Here’s what I came up with.

A person who believes in what they’re doing feels energized, excited, passionate, perseverant, part of something bigger than them, and positive about the future.

On the other hand, a person who doesn’t, will probably feel drained, tired, unmotivated, disconnected, anxious, overwhelmed and responsibility-bound.

Okay, then, so how do you know you’re doing what you believe in (other than how you feel)? I think you could consider these questions:

Does your work:

  • Reflect your deepest convictions?
  • Match your dearest personal values?
  • Utilize your key strengths (if you don’t know what they are, I encourage you to do the survey at the following link: https://www.authentichappiness.sas.upenn.edu/testcenter. Scroll down to the Via Survey of Character Strengths.)
  • Let you contribute to a mission you really care about?
  • Make you feel like you’re inching closer to your dream?

I have already been in a work situation where I thought I was doing all those things, but realized after assessing my physical and psychological well-being, that I was definitely off track. I left and have no regrets.

Life is short. It seems there isn’t enough time to do anything but what you really care about for those you really care about. In any case, how can either employee, employer or clientele benefit from a situation where a square peg is trying to fit into a round hole?

What’s your take on this: how do you know you’re doing the right job?  

Have a great week!

Cheers!

Claire :o)

[Photo credit: Shutterstock/Scott Norris Photography]

What’s behind your name tag?

I couldn’t find my name tag. You know, those corporate name tags that open all the doors, just like magic –  to get into the building, to your desk, to and from the coffee machine in the common area?

I had checked in my computer bag, on the floor, at front desk, in the washroom – no where to be seen!

¨Excuse me…¨, I began, after knocking on my co-teacher’s door. I peered in. There it was, on the table, ¨Ah-ha! You’ve got both!¨

We all laughed — two teachers and the student who was having her one-on-one class with my colleague.

¨Hey, I heard you adopted two children.¨, I began,as I saw who the student was.

My co-teacher graciously invited me to come in and have a seat. She saw the conversation was just getting started.

Three mothers. Three situations. A heart-to-heart exchange.

  • an adoptive mother with an elementary-age girl and boy.
  • a biological mother with two preschool-age sons.
  • an adopted other with two adult-age sons.

Abandonment vs adoption.

Nature vs nurture.

Adoption vs biological.

Crisis and triumph.

Laughter and tears.

United around a same purpose: encouraging and empowering each other to be better women and mothers to create a better life for our children.

¨What a remarkable encounter!,¨I mused, as I got in my car to leave that day.

Adopted or biological, parent or child, each person has their genetic background and accumulation of experiences growing up.

Individual perceptions and interpretative thought processes vary, as widely as do the personalities and termperaments. But what do we do with those life ingredients is entirely up to us as humans with a free will. The final product represented by our name tag is up to our own personal discretion.

As an adoptee, my ‘name tag’ was changed at birth. For a long time, I often labeled myself as ‘adopted’. However, I have a name: Claire Maria Ford. And our conversation as three women together let me realize a happy conclusion: I am leaving behind the label and assuming my name; after all, the ‘product’ behind the name tag is up to me to develop and define.

I am more than adopted. And amazingly enough, each individual is more than the label they may carry: divorced, gay, single, bullied, adhd. Each individual has a name, and a reality to develop and define.

You are not a label, you have a name. So, what does your name tag stand for? Assume it and enjoy it!

 

(Photo: Shutterstock/Syda Productions)