Mentera’s Care Chat series showcases experts from leading companies that have taken the lead on addressing well-being in the workplace. As part of the series, Mentera’s Global Ambassador, Natasha Bowman, sat down with Ebony J. Travis Tichenor, Director for Global Well-Being and HR Employee Policies with Boston Scientific to talk about permission to be well.
The Mentera Care Stack
Kicking off the program, Bowman introduced the Mentera Care Stack—a guide for companies to use as a benchmark to determine where resources are needed in their mental health and wellness programs. The Care Stack is a holistic strategy for improving employees’ wellness and mental health needs. Its components include providing resources for taking care of employees’ general mental health, their acute needs during escalated time periods, their chronic needs for living with mental health conditions, and their unique needs during recovery, as they overcome challenges and create new patterns for living.
Boston Scientific’s Approach to Permission to Be Well
Offering resources for addressing mental health issues in the workplace gained momentum during the pandemic and the subsequent years, notes Tichenor. She says, “The way we work is shifting”—from bringing fairness and equity into the workforce to operating our businesses in a state of flux. She says that supporting employees by providing perks like workplace snacks is no longer enough. With 4.4 million Americans quitting the workforce, she says companies are recognizing the need for a greater emphasis on holistic solutions—those that promote harmony between work and personal lives.
As part of its own well-being strategy, Boston Scientific is working to normalize talking about mental health struggles. They offer a variety of resources and avenues for employees and their families, with benefits that fit their lives and meet them wherever they are. These resources include a mental health guide that outlines the various tools and resources individuals can take advantage of. In addition, through the company’s employee assistance program, Boston Scientific offers a variety of apps that help employees deal with everything from stress to relationships to raising or starting a family. The apps also address legal and financial concerns and include a cognitive behavioral therapy element. Employees have access to webinars and social media forums and leadership is provided with training to help them recognize the signs of mental health distress and offer support when needed.
All of Boston Scientific’s resources, notes Tichenor, are built on a culture of trust and emphasize confidentiality. “[Our employees] have to feel comfortable and secure in their privacy. We take their safety and concerns seriously,” she says.
For companies just getting started in building their wellness programs, Tichenor offers the following advice:
- Have someone within the company who “owns” the program and is specifically responsible for creating and growing it.
- Train leaders in understanding the importance of mental health and how that affects their employees.
- Offer the resources needed to support both employees and the leadership team.
- Create a culture of trust.
- Have a plan in place on how to communicate the program effectively.
- Make sure that employees are guaranteed anonymity.
- Promote wellbeing overall as part of the company culture.
To view the Care Chat on Permission to Be Well with Boston Scientific’s Tichenor, as well as those with other experts, visit Care Chats | Mentera (joinmentera.com).