Understanding Workplace Stress: Employee Well-Being and Mental Health Strategies

Hosted by

Steve Boese

Co-Founder of H3 HR Advisors and Program Chair, HR Technology Conference

Trish Steed

CEO and Principal Analyst, H3 HR Advisors

About this episode

Understanding Workplace Stress: Employee Well-Being and Mental Health Strategies

Hosts: Steve BoeseTrish Steed

Guest: Dr. Sophie Dix, VP of Content at Koa Health

Today, we spoke with Dr. Sophie Dix, a behavioral neuroscientist, about workplace stress and it’s impact on employees’ mental health.

– Addressing stress in the workplace

– Stress, its causes, and its impact on mental and physical health

– The role of technology in providing mental health support at work

– How can organizations better support their employees?

– Emotional intelligence and employee well-being in the workplace


Koa Health holiday resources

Holiday Mental Wellbeing Calendar

Thank you for joining the show today!  Remember to subscribe wherever you get your podcasts!

Transcript follows:

Steve 0:12
Hi, and welcome back to the HR Happy Hour Show. I’m Steve Boese. I’m with Trish Steed, of course, Trish, how are you?

Trish 0:32
I’m fantastic. Steve, how are you doing today?

Steve 0:34
I am great. I’m especially great, because I’m excited for today’s show. And the topic which I think we need to talk about, I feel like I need to talk about and learn more about shows we are going to be talking about stress in the workplace. And we’ll be joined by a behavioral neuroscientist to help us understand this issue and talk about ways to combat the issue and what organizations can do to help their employees in times of stress, which I think is overdue. The conversation. Certainly I feel like at least for me.

Trish 1:07
Yeah, I agree. I was thinking I love the fact that we’re talking about this now. But where was this conversation? You know, 25 years ago, when we joined the workforce, I feel like I really could have used it then but and so instead of just coping on our own, and and sort of being in quiet suffering, we’re going to really dive into what organizations and individuals can be doing to help alleviate some of those pressures, and an address so that it doesn’t become maybe a lifelong, chronic sort of health condition too.

Steve 1:40
Like the quiet suffering that could be like the title of my memoir, I think of my work. Alright, we’ll get to that later, we’ll get to the welcome our guest, who can help us navigate through some of these issues. Of course, our guest today is Dr. Sophie Dix. She’s the VP of content at Koa Health. Sophie brings 25 years of experience in mental health to her role eco health, she is passionate about evidence and ensuring that those affected by mental illness have access to the right treatments at the right time. Sophie, welcome to the show. How are you today?

Dr. Sophie Dix 2:13
I’m good. Thank you very happy to be here.

Steve 2:16
Thank you for joining us and carving out a little of where you’re at in the world of Friday afternoon. So we appreciate that, as we’re banging on the door of the weekend as we record this. But first of all, Sophie, maybe if you want to share just I gave out a brief bio for you. But if you want to share a little bit more about your background, and perhaps, you know, a minute or so on what you do at Koa.

Dr. Sophie Dix 2:40
Yeah, sure. So behavioral neuroscientist, I’ve spent the last 30 years of my life, researching the brain and really trying to understand the processes involved in the brain that are affected by things like stress, mental illness, and thinking about well actually that what can we do to improve people how they feel, I used to come from a pharmacological background. So I spent many years working in the pharmaceutical industry, but then became to realize that we can’t think of mental illness, mental health challenges as something that’s all in the mind. Because our mind exists within a body, and the body of this within an environment. And all of these factors come together to actually sort of think about what actually what are these risks for developing stress and mental health problems? But also, what can we do then, you know, what can we do within the within the body within the mind within the environment? In particular, we’re here to talk about the workplace. But how can these be? How do these create risk for development of stress problems? And but what can we do to actually alleviate them as well. So I ended up at Koa health, when I was recognizing that actually the only way that we can produce sort of scalable ways to support people, not everyone can have a sort of one to one therapist at the hand, that we what we really need to do is to be able to really begin to use technology to help people get the support that they need, when they need it. So it can help we have a creating a digital platform where people get the right help. So whether this is empowering people with digital technologies, so self care apps to support wellness, and empowered to identify where they need help. But also within that, that there, there is the ability to access a therapist as and when needed so that people are trying to match what the help that they need. Whether this is prevention working on wellness, or whether this is when people are starting to feel and face a few challenges. But getting that kind of matching the right health at the right time.

Trish 4:40
You know, I love that you you mentioned that because that was actually going to be one of my questions is, you know, one of the things about really any sort of medical situation we might face is it’s not always easy to get assistance when we need it. Right. And I would wonder, do you see that with mental health issues from him? Louise from, you know, just other other people you might come into contact with like, you almost feel like well, I can’t get help right now in the moment. So I’m just going to push through. How does that affect sort of the technology side of it? Right? Where you’re offering access? Are you finding that people are, are truly taking advantage of that more than because they have more immediate access?

Dr. Sophie Dix 5:23
I don’t think it’s absolutely. And I think that the access creates two aspects, one that it helps people identify with and understand when they might be struggling, I think you mentioned that it’s all too easy just to power through. And you know, 20 years ago that there was no real concept of mental health problems in the workplace or stress in the workplace, we just got on with it that it wasn’t recognize, until people were struggling so much that they were unable to work or there be leaving leaving their jobs. So I think by having something that’s available 24/7 That it’s around that people become more aware, because they can learn around the symptoms of mental illness or mental illness, but they can understand where they might be struggling. And also then access something whether it’s just a quick breathing exercise, whether it’s something to just jot down some thoughts. But I think the mainly it’s around that first stages around gaining the awareness of where there needs to be held. And that really needs to be done on an organizational level as well. Recognizing when people might be struggling.

Steve 6:23
I want to ask you about stress in particular, right, we kind of tease the show and the topic of the show around talking about stress, stress in the workplace ways of dealing with stress. And the first thing I’d like to ask is a little bit about just understanding stress as something perhaps different than, hey, I’m just busy today, or, boy, I had a lot going on this week, or and then I had to go. And then my my dog got sick, and my daughter had a football game and all of this rate that kind of sometimes they feel like we might normalize what’s really stress and a real significant thing, or potentially significant thing with just, oh, that’s just life, I’m a busy person, or I have a lot on my plate, I’d love for you to maybe help us understand when situations really are stress and should be considered differently than just, hey, I’m busy today or this week.

Dr. Sophie Dix 7:20
I think to answer that, it’s might be useful to think about, well, the origins of stress and the stress response. So I’m sure you’ve heard about the flight fight route reaction is that, you know, animals evolved to be able to cope with stressors so that they could either run away from something or fight it back, and our whole body evolved to create it, hence, it get ready for that interaction. And that’s a normal stress. But in the modern world, we’re not really faced with a predator anymore, we’re not having to kill something for our lunch. But now the psychological stresses the environment around us and the things that will actually induce that stress response. And when it’s an acute response, that’s quite normal. And we all experienced that we experience it daily, we experienced challenges in life, where it becomes a problem is when it becomes prolonged. And it’s often not even just one single source of stress, it’s these multiple stressors that can then build up. But the body doesn’t really know the difference that the, you know, the HPA access the stress response, this has been triggered. And so the body is still in that that kind of preparation mode for something physical. And this triggers a whole load of systems throughout the body, which when they’re prolonged in activation, they cause a whole range of problems that these can cause huge, huge bit increase in risk. So about 50% risk factor in, for example, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and all of these can really profoundly affect our physical health. I mean, we know from our, you know, the immediate stresses that when you’re faced with something that you’re anxious about sort of nervous about that you can feel that physical response, you feel those butterflies in your stomach, you can feel the hairs on your arms go but this, this, this sort of whole body system, this sort of impacts the what’s called the inflammatory system. When this is activated for long periods of times. There’s a whole range of risk factors that follow up in terms of increased risks for more serious mental illness and for more serious physical illness. So it’s really important to actually take on stress, recognize the signs of it, and do something about it.

Trish 9:32
You know, it’s interesting, as you’re talking about this, I was thinking about a conversation I had with someone who was not a neuroscientist many years ago and we were talking about stress and sort of when you you mentioned the body’s response to it. It triggered this memory for me but it was also around that there can be very positive things in life and use the word prolong which I love it, maybe you’re getting married, right planning for something. Have you found it in a very formal way? I’ve seen any evidence that even sort of positive stressors that are prolonged, do those have the same type stress reactions? That was this person’s sort of theory that stresses stress, whether it’s sort of positive or negative? Is that true? Or is it something that’s actually different?

Dr. Sophie Dix 10:18
No, it’s absolutely true. And I recently got married. So I can absolutely talk to the the stress of getting married, the excitement of it, but also the anxiety around it all, because even with positive things, they’re associated emotions. And these can be driven. But I think that the long term consequences are more associated with negative strengths that those kinds of acute situations, those acute emotions, where it yes, it be, the stress response can be triggered through something positive or something negative. But it’s generally these negative stresses that will then build up into the difference between that short term acute stress response versus this more prolonged chronic negative stress response that will start to have these long term health consequences, or increase the risk for these long term health consequences.

Trish 11:10
That makes sense.

Steve 11:13
Sophie, thank you to ask you about prevalence of stress in the workplace context, right, which is really what we’re focusing on typically right on this show and what we’re talking about, and I know co works with employers to try to help them, you know, provide resources and technology tools to their employees. And we all understand stress, I think, on an individual level, we’ve all felt it, I’m perhaps feeling it right now trying to spit this question out. But the how prevalent? Are you finding it saying the modern workplace is these conditions, these heightened stress levels, increased stress levels? Is it? Is it worse than it used to be? Is it pretty rampant in organizations? What are you finding as you look at data or work with companies in providing solutions to help them manage these issues?

Dr. Sophie Dix 12:06
It’s It’s hugely prevalent. I mean, there’s been a couple of surveys in recent years, that show that approximately 75% of people, that’s three and four people will talk about that actually that their stress is overwhelmed, and that they feel no longer unable to cope at some point in the last year. And, you know, that’s not something that’s going to have a huge effect on the workplace, if people feel that they can inane unable to cope, whether it’s in life or whether it’s in the workplace, that’s going to lead to high levels of presenteeism, it’s going to lead to high levels of burnout, it’s going to lead to high levels of absence, and ultimately, for an organization if they don’t address this, that people will leave that organization and find something new. But I think there’s loads of evidence as well, that if people are supported in the workplace, that actually productivity goes up. If people feel happier at work, confident work able to cope with their jobs, then actually their performance will go up. And, you know, it’s it’s a win win situation for everyone. To the second point about has there been a change that that one, I’m less sure about in terms of has there been a change? Because it’s always very difficult to actually prise apart? Are people feeling more stressed? Because there is more stress? Or are people actually able to talk about it more? Are they more comfortable able to talk about it, and actually recognize that the how they’re feeling is a stress response. And I think that that’s one thing that’s been positive in the last few years, is that people are more aware of it, people are more comfortable talking about it, we see it in the media, we’re talking about it now, that people are more likely to recognize and empathize that actually that these are symptoms that I’m having, and therefore suffering was stress.

Trish 13:49
Along with that response, Sophie, do you find that there’s any danger of what we’re doing is over normalizing stress to where we feel like, we all have it, why, you know, why are we so worried about it? Or is it truly that we are having more conversations about it, and people are actually getting more assistance and more help?

Dr. Sophie Dix 14:14
Again, a very good question. The normalization of it, I see can only be a good thing. But the what the normalization of it in terms of people being comfortable talking about it is a good thing. But as long as we’re not then saying, well, actually everyone is stressed and therefore just get on with it. Because I think that’s what’s been happening for generations that it’s just, you know, the British show, it’s the stiff upper lip. It’s just kind of get on with it and whatever. But we know that that’s not helpful. We do know that actually seeking help early on will help people so it’s finding that nice balance and normalizing it in terms of that it’s okay to talk about in it’s okay to seek help is a good thing. normalizing it in terms of Well actually, it’s just part of the human condition is not necessarily a helpful thing, because whilst it is naturally a part of the human condition, it doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t offer health, because we now know so much more about the physical and mental health consequences of stress. So, as we learn more about the using big data sets, as we learn more about that relationship, I think that the, we see now that, you know, our before stress was probably just considered something that was all in the mind, that’s not going to affect the physical health, it didn’t really matter. It’s just how someone feels. But as you began to understand now, that link with physical health and seeing this huge X, you know, this huge risk that increased risk for things like diabetes, with cardiovascular illness, and that these are huge problems, both at the individual level, but for an organization for a government or the healthcare systems, that these are definitely things that we shouldn’t, that we need to take seriously, and make sure that we provide the help.

Trish 15:58
I agree. Because I think you have so many times where people just don’t feel well, right. But yeah, they’re still expected to come into work, we still expect them to do a great job every single day, right without fail. And so I think that, in the past, what might have been seen as a weakness, telling your boss, your supervisor, I’m having a difficult day today, I’m not feeling well, but yet, you’re still well enough to come to work. My question along those lines is then now that there are technology solutions that are able to help both identify the stressors, and then help you move beyond just simple awareness into doing something positive about that. Have you seen that that has made a major difference in the way that people are showing up to work?

Dr. Sophie Dix 16:49
I think it’s still quite early for this for this field, but I think that these take quite a long time to, to produce the data, and to actually start to match the kind of company metrics form as a thing. But what we do know is that feel people feel better for it. And we start to see that, you know, we did with, for example, we with them curl foundations, which is self care app, that there we saw, for example, did a huge big study with them health care workers at the height of the epidemic in the UK. And we saw there that there were positive effects on people’s overall mental well being improve sleep, and therefore hope the week down the line, we don’t have the data that this would improve things like presenteeism and absenteeism. But we do see that these that you know that digital technology can improve how people feel and how they sleep.

Steve 17:46
So be I think there’s a couple of things I wanted to make sure we touch upon before we were done today. And one of the things that’s really interesting to me, and I think about the workplace, specifically, around this kind of this topic of stress in the workplace, there’s kind of two things I’m thinking about. One is some of the tools, resources and approaches and and support systems that organizations can and often should make available to employees, to help them manage stress and deal with mental health issues or manage all the other things that are happening in their life. We’ve Christian, I’ve done a few shows around caregiving, specifically, recently, and employees who have a lot of stress outside of the workplace, because they’re dealing with perhaps younger children and aging parents at the same time. Right. And so we’ve talked about that a lot. So there’s that side of it. Right? The what tools, resources support? Can the employers offering employees right, then the other side of it is looking at the organization itself, to see Hey, are we really causing all this stress or a lot of it anyway? Right? We’re not causing employees to be caregivers necessarily, but over workload or inflexible organizations, uncertain schedules, tyrannical management, you name it, right? There’s all the things. So there’s kind of two sides of it. Right? Are let’s talk about maybe the former first, because perhaps it’s a little bit easier. Perhaps, if an organization is thinking about, hey, we’ve got situation here where we need to probably offer more resources to employees to help them better manage stress better treat their own mental health. What are some of the recommendations that you might make, especially for organizations really, beginning this process?

Dr. Sophie Dix 19:28
Yeah, I think that the, as you said that there are two big sides of this one is around how do you support people who may be suffering from stress? And the second side is actually how do you turn the lens on yourself to actually make sure that the organization is not the cause of the stress that it’s the that we often need to think about mental health and wellness is beyond the individual and it’s not all about the individual and what they can do to manage their stress, that there is the huge part of actually looking what an organization can do to change its culture to support an individual as well. In terms of what’s the first part of the question around, well, how can the organization help an individual? I think some of the simple things are actually just checking in, you know, conversations starting with, how are you? Absolutely, you know, just the very, very simple kind of aid, the very basics aren’t just checking in and noticing if people are struggling in terms of the resources, it’s around then matching that that care, what do people need pointing in the right direction, offering? You know that, yes, a lunchtime mindfulness lesson is great. And I know companies do this. But it’s around actually matching what people might like not everyone wants to do mindfulness. So offering a kind of range of services. So for example, we incur foundations, we actually have sort of journaling, sleep tools, mindfulness, relaxation, tools, and recognition that different things will respond to people, different people that people will have different needs. And they’ll have different preferences. So it’s trying to offer this range of range of tools, but also then the ability to actually access more clinical level care as well. So therapist as well, and recognizing not everyone needs to therapists, not everyone needs self help. And it can be this blended approach. It’s about that matching. It’s also around really, as you said that that ensuring that that people’s schedules are reasonable that you know, if a stress has come from outside of the workplace, that actually there is the flexibility, the support, knowing a little bit what’s going on being able to have those open conversations, that people can feel that if they, you know that the source if they sent me to look after their aging parent needs to attend the schools play, do whatever that there is the the flexibility within the work schedule, that people can manage both the external stresses, and the workplace stresses and look after themselves. And I think that’s a very important part of it as well.

Steve 21:56
80% of my employees, for example, I’m just throwing out a number are exhibiting symptoms of stress are reporting feelings of stress, etc, etc. Right, I think I do need to try to look inside the organization at least try to be a little introspective about, you know, what, what might we be able to do to, to change that or at least help it?

Dr. Sophie Dix 22:17
The first stage of that is to do an organizational assessment. And then we have some tools that will help an organization take a look at itself and and evaluate against a number of different measures to see how open that dialogue is around mental health, because the there needs to be that culture. I mean, there was a study recently published that showed that some The reason women leave academia, for example, is due to a toxic workplace, and it’s particularly affects women more than men. But this idea of a toxic workplace where people are talking about each other where there’s competition, it’s just not not helpful. But this toxicity. So the what really needs is a very healthy workplace where people have got positive relationships with colleagues with managers, that whether there is any conflict, that it is resolved in a positive fashion, and the no pink of finger pointing, need to look at workload of people got the right amount of workload, because yes, we all know that too much work can cause stress, but also too little work can cause stress as well. Also, is there the balance in the role between the job and the demand. So that’s looking at the job demands resource resource model. So for example, that the do people that have the the resources they need to do their job is their job over demanding and there is an absolute sweet spot on that, that people have got, people want to be challenged, they don’t want to just have no new challenges at work, but then they have they got the resources available and to meet those demands. The other aspects of do they have the support, it’s again, that that right balance, so support from a line managers support from management that people don’t want to be micromanaged. But they also need to know that their boss is available when needed.

Dr. Sophie Dix 24:05
So again, it’s that right balance, autonomy and support. It’s all of these areas that can be really optimized to actually make people feel happy, confident and skilled at work as well that people need to feel that they are competent in their roles. And therefore they have the skills and trainings to do their world, their roles. The mean work life balance, this is a really important one. It’s one that’s bandied around, but it’s really important that people do have the time they need to recover during the day that there aren’t back to back meetings with no breaks. I mean, it used to be the it’d be running from one meeting room to another one in post COVID world that it tends to be more hybrid that it can just be one zoom call after another with barely even a bathroom break. In between that there is time that there is protected lunch hour that people can take that time to get away from their desk, take a walk You know that exercise, fresh air is very good for managing stress that people are finishing on time that they’re not dragging their workload into the evening, they are taking their annual leave. And I think really important that this has to start at the top as well, that the, you know, the C suite leadership needs to show by example, that they shouldn’t be looking at slack in the evening, they shouldn’t be answering messages and emails in the evening, but the culture starts at the top. And that leaders in any organization really needs to show by example, what a healthy work life balance looks like. And I think that almost gives permission then for the rest of the company to also respect other people’s work life balances, and feel that they can take a break, feel that it’s okay to say, No, I need my lunch hour, and just have that healthy attitude towards work in life.

Trish 25:50
I love the way that you sort of package those all together. Because as I was making notes about each one, I’m thinking just back to many workplaces, I’ve worked in over my career, and we did not have the support we needed, we did not have workload bouncing, we did not always have a happy culture, or the skills we needed, or the protected time. I mean, I feel like, you know, we think of, of technology as being the sole solution to all of this, and you just gave so many examples of how even those incremental changes, right, I think we get a little bit immune to thinking like, I’m the culture I work and it’s just the culture I work in, or I don’t have the tools I need. So I’m just gonna keep plodding along. My question around all of this is, as you obviously work with, you know, a lot of different types of employers, are there certain industries, I won’t call out certain employers, but are there certain industries, I would think that maybe tend to have more stress, and might need to be paying attention even more closely to some of these factors than others? Or is it pretty evenly distributed among industries?

Dr. Sophie Dix 27:03
Mmm, that’s a very good question. I’d say that that’s anywhere where there are, I think sales environments can be more pressured, because there are targets very, very strict targets that have to be met. But I think anywhere that doesn’t offer that kind of flexibility is very target driven, very motivated, won’t, won’t be the thing can be higher risk levels. I think that there’s also the, where there are demographics that I think, for example, that men are far more likely, and I don’t like to just use to sort of generalize too much on on these domains. But that, you know, men are unlikely to help see, they’d like to just get on with it, they don’t like to sort of recognize when actually they might be struggling, that women are more likely to, to talk about that when they’ve got a problem. But then women are also more likely to have more challenges at home in terms of childcare, although I know that the world is absolutely changing them for the right direction there as well. But it’s more around the that caregiving role of the work life balance, versus then also people more likely, who are more likely to seek help and talk about help and raise their hand when actually stress is becoming a problem. So I think it’s industries where the culture may be a little bit more, I suppose. Masculine and and kind of, you know, we’re I don’t need any help I’ve got this can be the kind of more challenging workplaces because people aren’t getting the help they need when they need it, or prepared says to say, actually, I need some help here. I think yet anything that’s got very high targets, and a lot of pressure to achieve those targets is going to be at a higher high risk.

Trish 28:50
Yeah, one of the things I think that’s really important about the work that you all are doing is, and I know these are obviously evolving sort of things, but as you’re, you’re speaking of all these opportunities here making that mind and body connection, I’m thinking about, wouldn’t it be great if we get to a place where you can actually be sort of mindfully preventing some of these stressors. So even when I think about a career in human resources, no one ever talked to me before taking that job about, this is a really stressful job. And the higher you get promoted, you’re dealing with really sensitive situations that are quite stressful over time. That’s actually why I left being an HR practitioner right after you make it to sort of those top levels. And I’m wondering, too, I think, you know, dangerous jobs, right, where there’s an element of danger in the jobs or even, you know, if you work in an organization, it’s like constantly doing, I don’t know, maybe mergers and acquisitions, for example, right? So you’re just going from sort of one super highly stressful situation right into the next one or even healthcare here, right, I worked in the health care system for a while in a children’s hospital. And we found that our floor cleaners, right, the people that would go in and clean the floors in the in the rooms were just as stressed as the nurses and doctors that were caring for the sick children, because the people that are cleaning the floor, housekeepers are seeing these same children every single day. So I guess all of that being said is that I think that the sort of the tools and the resources that you all are creating and expanding on to me seem to have such a preventative way to deal with some of these known stressful situations that aren’t very easy to remedy. In other ways. Are you seeing any customers coming to you kind of in that mindset yet? Or is that still maybe more future thinking?

Dr. Sophie Dix 30:54
So I think, you know, prevention is really, really important. And that, you know, that we go back 50 years, people didn’t really think about prevention and fiscal health. Now, we just talk about prevention of fiscal health that we we do everything for preventative approaches for diabetes, for cancer, for everything. And the dialog is just starting to move that way for mental health as well, we’re probably about 50 years behind in terms of recognizing that it is possible to prevent a lot of mental health problems. And this is by making people aware, helping them helping them understand and giving the tools. But your point about what actually how can we then help an organization, a lot of this, I think can kind of some of the challenges you described or did this comes through to manage the training, that actually making people the management, whether it’s the kind of individual line management, or organizational management, that they are aware of what the risk factors in a workplace might be, you know, as you said, whether it’s for someone who is exposed to a sick child, every day, or whether it’s whatever environment that they are aware that they’re the environment that their employees are working, has specific, unique risk factors and identify what those are supporting them. But even in the office, that manager training is really important. We provide some managed training tools, just for this reason that again, that, that you know that you’re not trained.

Dr. Sophie Dix 32:20
Generally, when we become managers, we’re not trained, I don’t remember anywhere during my career, people’s explaining to me actually how to spot if someone in my team is struggling, or to just spot whether or not actually within an organization that the dynamics are causing problems. Or even that my the, you know, I’ve worked in different places, again, that these might create specific risk factors, it’s just not being part of the dialogue, part of the training, we don’t expect managers to become therapists. What we do want them to do is recognize if someone around them is struggling, think about well, actually, is there anything I can do at that individual level to help this to help the individual, whether it’s flexible working hours, those conversations, but just to actually recognize and know how to help them? Because everyone’s an individual, but you know, how do you? How do you talk to someone? How do you recognize if they might just scrub me and just that we give managers the tools to be able to have these conversations, and to rest some rest, too, to recognize some signs, and also know where to signpost, people to as well. So you can say to them? Well, you know, we don’t want to mention to become a therapist, but all that they do need to be able to say, well, you know, here you might be able to get some help, but also look to see whether or not the work environment is perhaps the cause of some of the problems as well. But I think it’s really, really important that we develop the vocabulary, we develop that awareness, and that shouldn’t be actually just built in to leadership development around that we’re not just talking about the kinds of skills people need to do the need for the job. But actually, that kind of more emotional intelligence, that more ability to recognize and support people who might be struggling.

Steve 34:04
So that is super interesting. And I, I’m gonna think about that for a little while, because we’ve talked so much in the last year, a couple of years in the HR space more broadly about skills, right, we’ve been, we’ve been counting skills to death, about finding skills, developing skills, identifying skills, etc. I don’t think I’ve heard anyone sort of add to that skills conversation the way you just didn’t talking about it’s kind of an emotional intelligence, emotional preparedness, and maybe creating an environment where folks can actually leverage the skills that they have those practical skills or technical skills wherever those skills may be. That’s a really interesting way to frame that conversation when I think Well, George, I’m making a note of this and something I want to think about as we sort of roll into 2024 and we continue these conversations on this show and other places as well. This has been super fascinating conversation for me. I feel like I mean Not kidding, we have a church, we have small little business here. And we have our own forms of stress. I feel it quite often, I’d say and I, I just talking about it and acknowledging it. And even if when we have our meetings when we talk about it, or we talk about it in public forums, like here with Sophie and talking about what Koa health does, I think it’s interesting, it’s important to further the dialogue and make normalize the conversations, make organizations more aware of the resources that they have available partners that they can work with, to support their employees. I think, to me, it’s, it’s among the most important conversations we have around the world of work.

Trish 35:37
I agree, I think to being able to realize that you’re not alone. And you’re not immune, if you’re a manager, sometimes, you know, I remember being a more junior in my career thinking that the people who were at the managers, Senior Manager, partner level of whatever organization that they have no problems, right, they’ve been promoted, they’re making all this money, well, you can’t even see. So if you’re a more junior, you’re in your career, please open up to your leaders, I hope that you’re in a way that in a place where you feel comfortable doing that, if not find someone who you can talk to in the organization that can put you in the right direction. And often maybe that’s human resources as a starting point. And I think too, if you’re a manager, it’s okay. We, you know, so if you made the point, we’re not all trained how to do all of these elements of perfect leadership, right. And we’re all at different levels of capability when it comes to being more emotionally in tune or more empathetic or whatnot. So I think we’re just needing to be appreciative that we are all on a journey. And I think talking about it, and making that extremely normal, is what’s really the difference from maybe 20 years ago, 30 years ago, where it wasn’t discussed. So I am, I’m grateful that we have you, Sophie and Koa Health. Because I think that not only are you, you know, making sure there is conversation and solutions now being built around it. But you’re also much further along in terms of educating and thinking about the actual impacts that these things can have, which I’m really grateful that you’re doing this exciting work. So thank you for that.

Dr. Sophie Dix 37:25
Thank you very much enjoyed us. And I think it’s been really nice to think about the, you know, what an organization can do to help be employees, but also what an individual can do as well. And it’s that trying to find that balance of support, that not everything is on the individual. But you have to think about the organizational culture.

Trish 37:43
Could you take a moment before we before we sign off for the day? Could you take a moment and just talk a little bit about some of the solutions? I know you mentioned the Koa Foundation’s and how that works a little bit, but just maybe just high level for people. If you’re listening to this and getting a little more interested in maybe how Koa can partner with you on some of these things? What kinds of things will they find?

Dr. Sophie Dix 38:05
Yeah, so we have this an integrated approach to mental health so that the within an organization that is available to employees that they can start off by taking an assessment to see evaluate where how they’re thinking and how they’re feeling, and then actually match whether or not whether or not they need some additional help as well. But we offer care foundations as part of our care, 360 platform, and car care. Care foundations is a tool that empowers people to manage their own mental well being. So something that can be there at any time that can help them the journey provide these kinds of pathways to support whether whatever you know, someone is struggling with, whether it’s their mood, whether feeling low, anxious feelings, that there is something there and there are different techniques that can help someone. But for some people that actually self help might not be sufficient. So there we the that everything is evaluated, evaluated by a therapist. So that’s for people that actually need some additional help, they can have access to a licensed therapist, for people who are affected more profoundly by stress, anxiety or depression. We also have digital technology, therapists lead for symptoms of depression as well. We also offer support to an organization that evaluation that people can that’s a separate organization to actually look at their culture, some tools, webinars psychoeducation they organize a session assessment management training. So we try to offer the the whole sort of 360 support that finding that both not just what one organization needs, but also what an individual needs and try to match that the sort of needs with the with it tools that we offer, but it’s mainly around empowering people to manage mental health.

Steve 40:06
So we thank you for that the summarization. And it’s really just a summarization, I would encourage everybody to go out to Koahealth.com. We’ll put the link in the show notes as well, where you can learn more about these solutions, as well as access all the resources, published on these topics and more. And Sophie, I just want to say thank you again, thanks for taking the time. And we really appreciate the conversation today. It’s great meeting you.

Dr. Sophie Dix 40:31
It’s great to meet you too. Thank you very much.

Steve 40:33
All right, great stuff. Trish. I loved it. Great way to end our week. Right? Great resources, great stuff to think about. And, yeah, lots of lots of opportunity for organizations to make the world of work better, right. And that’s what that’s largely what we’re trying to do here on the show.

Trish 40:48
I agree. I’m always pleasantly surprised on recordings like this. So obviously, you know, we’ve we’ve all been in the industry for a very long time. And it’s just refreshing when I walk away thinking like, wow, those are five or six things I hadn’t thought of in that way. So, Sophie, I appreciate that you actually did make me think very differently about some of these, you know, ways that we approach work and, and hopefully our audience thought so as well. Thank you.

Steve 41:18
All right. Great stuff. All right. That’s it for the show today. I want to thank everybody for listening. Thanks, of course, once again to Sophie Dix from Koa Health. And all the show archives at HRHappyHour.net. Thanks for listening, the HR Happy Hour show. We’ll see you next time. And bye for now.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

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