Lincoln Leads

Employee well-being and how employers can help

June 25, 2020 Lincoln Financial Group Season 1 Episode 1
Lincoln Leads
Employee well-being and how employers can help
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Lincoln Leads
Employee well-being and how employers can help
Jun 25, 2020 Season 1 Episode 1
Lincoln Financial Group

Employee well-being is top of mind for employers, especially in these challenging times. Employees are feeling the impact of stress stemming from economic and social disruption but there are ways employers can help effectively address these concerns. In this episode, we’re joined by Dr. Glenn Pransky, Associate Professor at the University of Massachusetts medical school and scientific advisor for Lincoln Financial group as we discuss how mental, physical and financial well being are inter-related and steps employers can take to help their workforce. 

Sources and studies referenced in the episode:

  1. KFF Health Tracking Poll April 28 2020  
  2. The Growing Crisis of Chronic Disease in the United States
  3. Money worries may have outsize mental health impact on women, Latinos
  4. The relationship between personal debt and mental health: a systematic review
  5. Killer Debt: The impact of Debt on Mortality
  6. Measuring Mental-Related Productivity Loss
  7. Money worries in the workplace
  8. HRE’s number of the day: Coronavirus stress
  9. How has COVID-19 Affected Mental Health, Severity of Stress Among Employees?
  10. Survey: Most Americans Are Feeling Anxious About Their Money 
  11. Worker stress, resiliency a concern as company leaders consider return to office
  12. Alpha & Lincoln Financial Consumer Insights Study 2020
  13. Companies Seek to Boost Low Usage of Employee Assistance Programs


LCN-3137747-062320
© 2020 Lincoln National Corporation. All rights reserved.

Show Notes Transcript

Employee well-being is top of mind for employers, especially in these challenging times. Employees are feeling the impact of stress stemming from economic and social disruption but there are ways employers can help effectively address these concerns. In this episode, we’re joined by Dr. Glenn Pransky, Associate Professor at the University of Massachusetts medical school and scientific advisor for Lincoln Financial group as we discuss how mental, physical and financial well being are inter-related and steps employers can take to help their workforce. 

Sources and studies referenced in the episode:

  1. KFF Health Tracking Poll April 28 2020  
  2. The Growing Crisis of Chronic Disease in the United States
  3. Money worries may have outsize mental health impact on women, Latinos
  4. The relationship between personal debt and mental health: a systematic review
  5. Killer Debt: The impact of Debt on Mortality
  6. Measuring Mental-Related Productivity Loss
  7. Money worries in the workplace
  8. HRE’s number of the day: Coronavirus stress
  9. How has COVID-19 Affected Mental Health, Severity of Stress Among Employees?
  10. Survey: Most Americans Are Feeling Anxious About Their Money 
  11. Worker stress, resiliency a concern as company leaders consider return to office
  12. Alpha & Lincoln Financial Consumer Insights Study 2020
  13. Companies Seek to Boost Low Usage of Employee Assistance Programs


LCN-3137747-062320
© 2020 Lincoln National Corporation. All rights reserved.

Narrator:

Hi, everyone. Welcome to Lincoln Leads a podcast by Lincoln Financial Group on key trends and industry insights. In this first episode, Lauren Gawlik, marketing manager at Lincoln Financial, discusses, how employee well-being is more important than ever. Joining Lauren to share his insights on the topic is Dr. Glenn Pransky, MD, Associate Professor at the University of Massachusetts Medical School and scientific advisor for Lincoln Financial Group.

Lauren Gawlik:

Keeping mentally healthy seems to be more challenging than ever. Recent polls show that the COVID-19 epidemic and resulting economic and social disruption have had a negative impact on the mental health of 45% of U.S. adults. And it is likely that the mental health burden will increase as social isolation, business closures and other stresses continue. These issues are important for employers who care about the well-being of their employees, and are appropriately concerned about the impact of financial worries, physical and mental health on productivity. Today, we'll explore the ways mental, physical, and financial health are interrelated and steps employers can take to address these issues. Welcome Dr. Pransky. Can you share some of your insights on employee well-being and how this has become a more important topic than ever?

Dr. Glenn Pransky:

Sure. Lauren , there are a lot of challenges right now affecting the physical and mental health of employees. Jobs have changed. Families are stressed, people are isolated, and there's so much uncertainty about the economy, the virus, personal finances, and when things will get back to normal. And we know that mental health problems, stress and worry can lead to physical health problems. Recent studies show that there's a higher frequency of chronic illness in the employed population than ever before. So employers see all of these impacts and they are concerned about the overall well-being of their employees.

Lauren Gawlik:

Is there evidence that more worries about finances also leads to worse mental health?

Dr. Glenn Pransky:

Yes, there's good evidence that financial difficulties and worries are associated with more mental health problems. This is especially true for people who lose their job or go into debt. And loss of financial stability is associated with worse physical health and increased mortality.

Lauren Gawlik:

So Dr. Pransky, how is all of this going to impact productivity?

Dr. Glenn Pransky:

Good question. I'm concerned about this too. We know that mental health problems like depression are associated with large impacts on productivity, more than many serious physical health conditions. But even if workers don't have a mental health diagnosis, financial worries can also drive down productivity. So employee well-being is something employers need to pay attention to.

Lauren Gawlik:

Why should employers now more than ever be concerned about employee well-being?

Dr. Glenn Pransky:

Now that more businesses are starting to reopen employers are finding out about the impacts of COVID related anxiety, mental health, and financial worries. In a recent survey 69% of employees said that this is the most stressful time in their entire working career. Pharmacy benefits managers are seeing double increases in prescriptions for anxiety and insomnia. Another recent survey found that 51% of Americans now feel anxious about their financial situation and employers know that managing anxiety and building trust is key to successfully reopening.

Lauren Gawlik:

Given those statistics, what can employers do to help their employees with overall well-being?

Dr. Glenn Pransky:

Well, Lauren I think there's a lot that employers can do. First, we know from past epidemics that consistent, clear, honest and proactive responses to employee concerns goes a long way. There's a good episode on the Lincoln Absence Advisor podcast with specific guidance. Reassuring employees that their jobs are stable is an important first step towards addressing financial concerns. Employers might also suggest working with a financial advisor , volunteer financial coaching service, or just talking with their peers so they don't feel like they are facing these financial problems alone. Some businesses are starting new initiatives to reduce employee financial stress like student loan, repayment, interest free loans and free financial counseling. The other dimension is helping everyone in the organization take care of their own mental health with these high levels of stress and anxiety affecting almost everyone. Each one of us needs to take a more active role in keeping mentally healthy and limiting our stress. There are some good suggestions that employers can share on mental self care.,also on the Lincoln Financial COVID-19 guidance hub, which you can find on Lincoln Financial.com. The AP programs can be very helpful, but recent studies show that employee utilization is consistently low around 10% per year. So employers are going to have to make extra efforts to remind employees about this resource.

Lauren Gawlik:

We talk a lot about mental health. How about keeping physically healthy?

Dr. Glenn Pransky:

Yes. Keeping physically healthy and getting regular exercise is an important component of managing stress and anxiety. One concern is that people are putting off doctor's appointments and delaying taking care of medical problems, potentially making these problems worse, but the consequences of avoided care can be serious. So we're urging people to contact their doctor and then make an informed choice about next steps. I think employer HR representatives can have an important role in getting this message out to employees.

Lauren Gawlik:

Wow, thank you. Those are a lot of great ideas. Where do you think employers should start?

Dr. Glenn Pransky:

Before reopening start with regular communication with employees about these topics and all of the steps the employer is taking to address them, provide reassurance and support around financial issues, suggestions for maintaining physical and mental health and encourage employees to use available resources. We're still going to be faced a lot of challenges Ahead, but hopefully the strategies can help.

Lauren Gawlik:

Thank you for your time today Dr. Pransky. There's a lot of great information for employers to consider. It was a pleasure speaking with you.

Dr. Glenn Pransky:

My pleasure too . Thank you.

Narrator:

To everyone listening. Thank you for joining us. We will continue to lead conversations on key trends, industry insights and important topics, relevant to employee well-being. Be sure to look for future episodes of Lincoln leads on Apple, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts.

Disclosures:

Please remember that our content is advisory. Only the information contained in this podcast is for general use and is not a substitute for the advice of an attorney or your human resource professional. Lincoln Financial Group is the marketing name for Lincoln National Corporation and its affiliates, the Lincoln National Life Insurance company, Fort Wayne, Indiana Lincoln Life and Annuity company of New York, Syracuse, New York and Lincoln Life Assurance, company of Boston Dover, New Hampshire. The Lincoln National Life Insurance company does not solicit business in New York, nor is it licensed to do so. Affiliates are separately responsible for their own financial and contractual obligations.