How to tell Your Organization’s Wellbeing Story with Mitch Martens

More than ever, there is a strong demand in the corporate space for better wellness solutions. Employees are largely driving the shift toward workplace wellbeing as they demand more from their employers to meet their wellbeing needs. This therefore requires some thought from employers to challenge the “norms” of wellbeing in their organization and start providing solutions that truly meet the needs of their employees.

Mitch Martens, Senior Wellness Manager for Population Health at Northern Arizona Healthcare, speaks in a recent episode of Edelheit Experience about how employers need to redefine their wellness projects with personalized and targeted solutions that meet the needs of their employees where they are .

Mitch first describes the traditional model of employee wellness as “that thing employers do to their employees from the position of a boss who knows what’s best for their employees,” with wellness programs being initiated entirely by managers and employers be forced on workers’ throats. But the change and necessary growth in employee wellness begins with first recognizing that wellness means something different to everyone and that employees need to be in charge when it comes to creating solutions for their needs.

For example, your employees may not show up for your smoking cessation programs because it doesn’t meet their deepest wellness needs at the time. For some, smoking may just be a way to escape the stress of work or pressures from other areas of their lives, and forcing them to quit without addressing these profound, current health concerns can be counterproductive.

“I see wellness evolving where employers will say, wait a minute, let’s let employees decide what’s important to them and let’s work with them on their wellness journey instead of authoritarian solutions to shove down her throat,” Mitch said. “Wellbeing is personal, multidimensional and lives in the now.”

This underpins the topic of inclusion in wellness. To meet the needs of employees where they are, solutions must address employees’ cultural, racial/ethnic and social differences. One solution may not work for everyone, even if it aims to achieve the same results everyone needs. Solutions must fit into a person’s context in order to produce a significant result.

Mitch goes on to talk about tools at his organization, Northern Arizona Healthcare, that are designed to meet the prevalent wellness needs of their teams. One of these is the grieving boxes, designed to help their employees cope with the deaths of loved ones during the pandemic. The Grief Box contains resources to help an employee grieve and effectively deal with the emotions associated with it.

Mitch also said Northern Arizona Healthcare is helping to rebuild a multispecialty hospital and other outpatient centers with a plan to create what it calls a Wellness Village that will meet the health and wellness needs of all employees in one location.

“I think most people know that going into a hospital usually feels gross. I mean, if you don’t go through a pregnancy, we associate hospitals with death, with pain, with difficulties and with challenges. we [NAH] wanting to be a beacon of health, not just a four-walled building that solves your immediate problem and then pushes you out. We aim to be that ecosystem of health and well-being to promote longevity by creating a community and space that inspires people to come together.”

Mitch also spoke about “wellness ninjas” at NAH, who are designated employees who promote work-life wellness, help employees deconstruct their work-life dynamics, identify the gaps in these areas, and provide targeted solutions.

Essentially, Mitch says employers need to take a holistic approach to health and wellbeing, and then they can identify wellbeing blind spots and achieve good health metrics for their employees.

For example, employees with diabetes need a wide range of wellness solutions to optimize their health while reducing healthcare costs and helping them stay productive. A holistic approach to this would include the integration of dietary solutions that fit the cultural and social context of the individual, the involvement of clinical pharmacists to help staff get the most out of their medication regimen, an effective weight loss strategy, and other solutions that address other risk factors or potential complications addressing the disease.

Mitch also spoke about the need for some form of third-party assessment and validation of an organization’s wellness policies and programs. For NAH, leveraging the Global Healthcare Accreditation for Business has been critical in helping the organization find the right solutions and set the right standards for employee wellbeing.

“That’s really what this accreditation does [GHA For Business]. It forces you to tell your story about how you care for the health, safety and well-being of your people, both employees and customers, in your work environment.”

GHA For Business helps employers redefine wellness and reposition their wellness solutions to protect the well-being, health and safety of employees. Accreditation is packed with trusted resources and information consistent with global best practices in wellness and employee health. These resources help organizations create an adaptable and scalable framework to achieve a healthier workforce and safer work environment.

In the post-pandemic work era, trust is a big issue. Employees are tired and drifting away from organizations that don’t care about their health and well-being. The GHA For Business is a great tool to help restore trust and confidence in the midst of this change. The third-party validation and standards that GHA For Business incorporates demonstrate your commitment to overall health and wellness, helping you retain the best talent and tell your own story.

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