Local First Workshop Recap: Best Practices for Employee Wellness & Mental Health

It is essential for businesses of all sizes to support their staff, from the front lines to the C Suite; but the real question is how? It’s no secret that small businesses are faced with the challenging task of producing great products and services with small but mighty teams while balancing the very real human resource needs of their employees. Whether cost or awareness of community resources, small businesses may face in implementing wellness and resources available for themselves and their employees.

Workforce Workshops are here! March marked the launch of Local First’s new and improved workshop series with a topic that is arguably more important now than ever before: prioritizing wellness and health in the workplace. The Local First program partnered with the Mental Health Clinicians of Color, Pine Rest’s Employee Assistance Program, and VantagePointe Benefit Solutions to bring members a panel of industry experts who discussed the role of employers in supporting employee wellness and shared actionable steps small businesses can take now to better their practices in an affordable, accessible way. If you missed our March workshop – Best Practices for Employee Wellness and Mental Health – you are not out of luck! Read on for an event recap and linked resources.

Tatiana Richardson, LMSW is a participating member of Mental Health Clinicians of Color, a community resource connecting individuals into licensed BIPOC providers. Tatiana shared her experience supporting the workforce during these last few challenging years, emphasizing signs of employee burnout, the importance of healthy work boundaries, and the overall role of employers in supporting mental health in the workplace. Richardson spoke on the role of an employer in creating workplace cultures with connection, flexibility, and fun to support a healthy employee engagement. She also encouraged employers to consider work from home options, paid mental health days that are distinct and separate from sick days, and wellness committees as small actions to implement now.

Access resources from Tatiana’s presentation here.

“If you take care of the human, the human will take care of the job.”

Ron Scott, an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) Consultant with Pine Rest, presented on the value of EAP programs. Employee Assistance Programs are contract work-place interventions that provide a variety of resource-based supports for employees. Pine Rest’s EAP provides clinical mental health services to small business employees and their families a very affordable rate. Their programming also includes legal, financial, and parental care supports for those enrolled and a variety of trainings for the employers. If the provision of a full benefits plan is too big a step for small businesses, an EAP program just might be the best stepping stone to employee coverage.

To learn more about accessing these supports, view the EAP flyer here.

“70% of the stress at work has nothing to do with work, it comes with the employee to work from life stressors and interpersonal relationships.”

Concluding our March panel was Joe Hughes, an Employee Benefits Advisor with VantagePointe Benefit Solutions. Joe works with businesses, large and small, to craft meaningful solutions for each company’s unique workforce needs. While providing full coverage may be inaccessible to smaller businesses, Joe shared that small businesses have options, including more accessible ICHRAs and group health plans. These options fall on a spectrum of cost to employers and vary in coverage amounts. He shared that for small businesses, an ICHRA is the easiest way to offer monetary support for employees’ health plan.

Access resources from Joe’s presentation here.

“Communication is the biggest key to sharing employee resources.” 

The Local First program is dedicated to bringing workshop opportunities to our community. We are thrilled to bring more topics to the table to better workforce wellness. Stay tuned for what’s next and in the meantime, dive into these great resources!

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