Posts Tagged Employee

Total Wellbeing: June 2017

 

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June 2017: Intellectual Wellbeing and Estate Planning

Get Involved!

Welcome to the June issue of TotalWellbeing! If you have been following TotalWellbeing you know that every month we focus on one of the 8 Dimensions of Wellbeing. This month we hope you will think about how you can creatively expand your knowledge and skills, particularly in the arena of Estate Planning. Taking time to focus on your estate planning is a great way to stretch your intellectual side and planning for the future will help not only you, but those that love you as well.

For a closer look at this month’s topic and helpful resources please check out The Path and The Connection below or check out our latest infographic on the importance of Estate Planning. Always feel free to print these resources and post them around if you feel they would be helpful.

Mental Health Awareness month was a busy month on MINESblog. First of all, in case you missed them please take a look at our Mental Health Awareness statistics as well as our collection of helplines and resources. Next, we had a post on staying aware of your own mental health even when facing life’s distractions such as a new born baby. And then in honor of our veterans on Memorial Day, we posted about veteran’s access to mental health services and stigma.

As always, for more information please check out the links to the left or hit the share button to send us a message. To be notified when we post more resources and articles make sure to subscribe to MINESblog. See you next month!

To your total wellbeing,

The MINES Team

The Path: What does Estate planning have to do with Intellectual Wellbeing?

By exploring your intellectual wellbeing and finding ways to expand your breadth of knowledge and skills, you are setting yourself up for success. If you are able to learn something new each quarter, you will be able to supply a need either in your home life or at work. And in turn, you will feel better about your skills and hopefully less stressed overall. Learning can include expanding your vocabulary, revisiting a subject you know a little about, or even discovering the details about your local neighborhood birds. One area that is often overlooked when you think of learning something new is related to planning for your future; specifically creating an estate plan and will.  There are so many options out there when it comes to estate planning, most people don’t know where to start or how to go about it. This month is a great time to research and learn about the best practices that come with estate planning, along with taking the time to see what other skills you can look at developing throughout the next several months.

 

For example, here are some great steps on how to expand your verbal intelligence.

Expand Your Verbal Intelligence

Tips for you:

Take the time to do a will or trust for yourself to protect the rights of your family or loved ones if something should happen to you. There are simple do-it-yourself wills you can find online or Personal Advantage or meet with a lawyer to set one up. Check out this month’s webinar to learn more about life planning options for a disabled family member, whether it is making sure they are taken care of in your estate plan or making sure their estate plan is set up to preserve their assets.

Check out the webinar here!

The Connection: Get Involved

Wellbeing does not simply start and stop at the individual. Our community is connected to each of our own individual wellbeing in a huge way. When we are well we can better function within our community.  We can help our fellow humans thrive, and in turn, when our community is prospering, it helps each of us reach our goals as individuals. So why not help our community so we can all thrive together? Each month we will strive to bring you resources that can help you enhance the wellbeing of those around you or get involved with important causes.

Community Wellbeing Resources:

This month look at how you can expand your knowledge and skills within your community. Check out your local community’s website for classes you could take or find a way to use your skills to help someone in your community.

Click here to find a place to use your skills near you!

We’re happy to announce that PersonalAdvantage, an online benefit available through MINES, has been redesigned and is better than ever. It still has tons of the same great resources for all the dimensions of wellbeing that we discuss here, along with some articles and assistance for Estate Planning, and now has a new look, easier navigation, and works great on mobile too. If you haven’t checked it out yet, or want to see what resources they have for this month’s topic check out the link below. You’ll need your company login, so make sure to get that from your employer or email us and we’ll be happy to provide that to you.

Check Out PersonalAdvantage Here!

 If you or a member of your household needs assistance or guidance on any of these wellbeing topics, please call MINES & Associates, your EAP, today for free, confidential, 24/7 assistance at 800.873.7138.
 mines_logo_blue MINES does not warrant the materials (Audio, Video, Text, Applications, or any other form of media or links) included in this communication have any connection to MINES & Associates, nor does MINES seek to endorse any entity by including these materials in this communication.  MINES accepts no liability for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided herein, nor any additional content that may be made available through any third-party site. We found them helpful, and hope you do too!
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Health inSite: Gamification of Health

In the 10th installment of Health inSite, we take a look at strategies of an up-and-coming way of engaging health through Gamification.  Gamification has recently taken to the health world via a veritable windfall of funding coming through venture capital firms to try to create platforms that encourage and incent people to take on everyday health activities.  While most of these have been fitness related applications and websites so far, a good number are starting to look at emotional resiliency, pro-social behavior, and more.  If you’ve not yet read Jane McGonigal’s book, Reality is Broken, or seen her TED Talk, I highly suggest them.  McGonigal suggests that there is value in creating unnecessary obstacles for people to achieve more and feel the power of their own success by creating fiero moments – moments of intense pride in one’s triumph over adversity.  These obstacles enrich our lives and add value to our, oftentimes, mundane daily activities.  As McGonigal mentions in her book, if the point of golf is to put the ball in the hole, why don’t we just pick up the ball and walk it over to drop it in the hole.  Yet, we spend a lot of time playing the game and add obstacles to make it more challenging.  It creates motivation to achieve for the sake of achievement, rather than the end goal.  This is the point of a game and it has a big role to play in the future of health.

There are a number of groups starting to use the concepts of gamification to encourage health promoting activities.  And, there is a lot of hoopla being created around using technology platforms to make gaming a part of employers’ health strategies, with 60% of employers planning to add gamified health strategies in 2013.  However, most of these groups are only using small pieces of the total package that gamification, and other psychological research, includes; and sometimes, are even using pieces that are inappropriate, such as financial incentives and gimmicks, which directly undermine the value of the game itself.  But maybe there are better opportunities to correctly use the concepts of gamification, as well as the many other pieces of psychological research that we’ve covered in Health inSite, to create a total population health strategy at work; the first wellbeing program that actually pushes employees to challenge themselves, and each other, to become more healthy, rather than less ill.  In fact, MINES is doing just that.

It takes more than a website to do this – including focus on using the resources available to a company’s natural habitat, the worksite, to engage employees during the 40 hour work week, and more, by creating a story.  As described in the burgeoning world of Alternate Reality Games and Transmedia Storytelling, the ability to tell a cooperative narrative – on and offline – among those with which you work is an opportunity to actively create health, the benchmark of Salutogenesis.  When you have many platforms for engaging in this storytelling, you increase the modes of access to actively engage all employees where they are, rather than forcing them into a platform that they may not be comfortable with, or is not ideal for their way of engaging in their health generating behaviors.  This is done by asking for participation in the developing story that is experienced, rather than simply viewed.  Imagine, rather than passively hearing or reading what someone needs to do to fight diabetes, or other chronic health condition, or even simply drop a couple of pounds, each person can create opportunities for their fellow employees to actively and interactively challenge one another in the course of an unfolding story.  This makes health promotion participatory and engaging.

We’re focused on creating the health generating plan of the future and want to share it with you.  In the meantime, maybe you’re already starting to embark on this grand adventure in your own ways.  What do you do at work that helps make people healthier?

To our health,

Ryan Lucas
Marketing

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Health inSite: Social Media Access at Work

Let’s take a moment to discuss the great ‘Social Media at Work’ debate.  You’re familiar, I’m sure, with this concept.  It starts with a question like this:

“Why would we allow our employees to spend ‘work time’ doing things other than work?”

or another popular alternative,

“Do we want to allow employees to engage in social networking where they could release PCI (a play on PHI in the health world, Protected Health Information: Private Corporate Information).”

or the myriad other great arguments for canning social media in the workplace.

In 2011, MINES had the great honor of presenting at the EAPA International Conference on Wellness Programs where we posited an alternative to traditional wellness programs that relied on the value of social media with employees as a means to increasing adoption, bolstering adherence through social relationships, and positioning health as a social venture where people are spending increasing amounts of their free (and yes, even work) time engaging in health.  The core of most Wellness programs is similar to that of traditional EAP; a sort of ‘we’re there when you need us’ or ‘wait-and-see’ approach.  Wellness programs, however, often incentivize participation through monetary carrots or sticks.  This is a one-to-one approach to health.  Those of you that get to play with relational databases, however, recognize that there are many ways to connect entities (data, people, sites, etc.).

Social Media has the ability to act in a many-to-many way; that is, connecting me to my friend, and my friend’s friend, and all of us to an expert (be it a website, user, resource, or anything else) to engage on a topic.  This is an extremely powerful tool that is starting to be leveraged by a handful of companies – similar to the group therapy model where part of treatment is engaging with other individuals that are currently in treatment, rather than solely with the doc, therapist, CAC, or sponsor.

At the conclusion of our presentation, an attendee posed the following question during the Q and A:

“My company doesn’t allow access to Social Media at work, what recommendation do you have for a company that wants to consider leveraging Social Media but its’ employees don’t have access to it.”

The answer from our CEO went something like

“At MINES, we’ve created a culture wherein every employee is expected to do their best.  I trust that my employees are doing just that and see that they do their best every day and until I see different results, I trust my employees to not abuse the system.”

Let me take a quick moment to highlight this infographic from the University of Melbourne (et. al.) which highlights some of the points on this subject.  Restricting Social Media at Work has many great arguments on its side; potentially lethal viruses, decreased bandwidth (the tech kind, not the personal productivity kind), and even legal concerns regarding PCI.  Productivity is a really common go-to, however, and the others are extremely valid.  Further, I don’t have good arguments against them (besides increasing your company’s bandwidth, installing good anti-virus software, and educating your employees on safe browsing habits), so let’s talk about the increased productivity experienced by those with unfettered access to Social Media.  Could these quotes be right?

“Short and unobtrusive breaks, such as a quick surf of the Internet, enables the mind to rest itself, leading to a higher total net concentration for a days’ work, and as a result, increased productivity.”

That’s pretty interesting and kind of common sense when you think about it.  Looking to an interview with the guru of productivity, Tim Ferriss, on LifeHack is the argument that we should…

“Take frequent breaks and strive to constantly eliminate instead of organize.”

So, despite all of the many reasons to not allow employees onto these Social Media sites, here we see the interplay of increasing productivity by taking breaks, and Social Media as an opportunity to boost creativity and rest the mind.  It’s certainly interesting.

Keep in mind; we’re not suggesting that every company, organization, or government entity allow unfettered access to social media sites.  We recognize that many of the groups that we work with each day have significant and valid arguments to be made as to why they do not allow access from a workstation provided by their IT department; but most arguments are worthy of reexamination as new information becomes available and the growing trend in BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) will have significant consequences as well when it comes to the Social Media, or WILB (Workplace Internet Leisure Browsing), debates – a topic we’ll tackle in the next iteration of Health inSite.

To Our Health,

Ryan
Marketing

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Health inSite: Halo Effects and Link Influence

In a recent article published by NPR, Gain Together, Lose Together: The Weight-Loss ‘Halo’ Effect, two studies were mentioned that suggest that our social networks have a significant effect on our overall health and well-being.  Since weight is oftentimes affected through behaviors (exercise, diet, smoking, drinking, etc.), those with whom we engage in those behaviors have a direct impact on the outcome.  It’s pretty simple when you think about it, but certainly, easy enough to miss.  We do know that your friends’ friends make you fat.

However, the article highlights another very interesting second-node response to those receiving treatment for obesity. While there may have been behavioral changes that were enacted by family members (first degree of separation) as they complied with the treatment plan for the patient’s (first-node) benefit, the article suggests that there may have been another influence on the weight of the patients’ family members – additional education.

This does add a new layer of influence that might create additional change.  If you are engaged in the treatment, even just on the education level, what possible changes might that make to your cognitive approach to the subject.  Said differently, even if your behaviors aren’t initially, directly adhering to the treatment plan, is it possible that through continuous education on the subject, you might potentially change your behaviors simply through thought pattern change? We do know in psychology that simply logging what you eat will result in weight loss. Where your mind goes, the energy goes.

Of course, the way Psychology views the Halo Effect – a cognitive bias that involves one trait influencing others in one’s judgment of another person or object – a little different than what is described in the study – but it would be interesting to see if perception of success of the patient had an influence on the outcomes of the family members.  In other words, if there were a Halo Effect regarding the overall interpretation of the composite qualities of the patient by the family members adhering and discovering success with a treatment plan, if that in turn could create the opportunity for a cognitive reframe of self-perception – a sort of, “they are doing it and maybe I could/should too.”

If anyone knows of an interesting article or study that has delved into the topic, we would love for you to share it.

To our health,

Ryan
Marketing

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Psychology of Performance – 32: Nutrition, Depresssion, Alcoholism and Performance

I ran across some interesting information on the role of niacin, depression, and alcoholism in performance at www.doctoryourself.com. It is well documented that depression and/or alcoholism may negatively affect performance across just about any domain one can perform in. In the treatment of depression and alcoholism there are very effective cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy interventions. In addition, exercise and medication may add additional therapeutic effects. The role of nutrition may have further potentiating influence.

According to this site, Bill W., the founder of AA, was successfully treated for depression with 3,000 mg of niacin a day. Unfortunately, this information has not been widely discussed or published in the media. I would be interested to hear from any of you who have used niacin as a means of treating depression or alcoholism and what your results were. Please let us at MINES know.

Have a day filled with mindfulness,

Robert A. Mines, Ph.D.
CEO & Psychologist

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Psychology of Performance – 20 – Early Attachment and Adult Performance Implications

Our early attachments to our primary caregivers may have significant implications for our ability to perform throughout our lives. The good news is that there are mindfulness techniques that can help integrate the information and energy associated with the various attachment categories so that as adults our performance does not have to be limited by the early learning associated with these attachments.

Siegel &  Hartzell, M.Ed., (2003, p.102-112) in their book, Parenting from the Inside Out, describe four patterns of attachment derived from the work of researchers such as Mary Ainsworth, Mary Main, and Erik Hesse, among others. As infants we most likely have one of the following patterns (which can vary by caregiver): Secure, Insecure-Avoidant, Insecure-Anxious/Ambivalent, or Insecure-Disorganized.

Secure attachments are described as having a parental interactive pattern characterized by the parent being emotionally available, perceptive, and responsive. The child sees the parent as being a source of comfort during times of distress, a safe haven, being available, and a secure base. This creates a sense of well being from which the child can go into the world to “explore and make new connections with others” (p.104).

Insecure-Avoidant patterns are associated with parents who are emotionally unavailable, imperceptive, unresponsive, and rejecting. These children avoid closeness and emotional connections to the parent (p.104).

Insecure-Ambivalent patterns are described as having parents who are inconsistently available, perceptive, and responsive and intrusive. The child cannot depend on the parent for attunement and connection. The child develops a sense of anxiety and uncertainty about whether they can depend on their parents (p.105).

Insecure-Disorganization patterns are created by parents who are frightening, frightened, chaotic, disorienting, and alarming to the child. This pattern is often associated with abuse. This creates a situation in which abuse is incompatible with a sense of security. The child develops coping responses that lead to difficulties in regulating emotions, trouble in social communication, difficulties with academic reasoning tasks, a tendency toward interpersonal violence, and a predisposition to dissociation – a process in which normally integrated cognition becomes fragmented (p. 106).

The good news is that for those with insecure attachments there are mindfulness techniques described in Siegel’s book, Mindsight, that can help the individual integrate the insecure attachment memories, patterns, and information in a manner that frees them up from “automatically or habitually” engaging in the pattern in their adult relationships.

The implications of early attachment for the psychology of performance are significant. Secure attachments allow for a base of security which in adulthood can manifest in collaborative interactions in the business environment, for example. The social psychology of group performance is enhanced when members can communicate directly and problem solve from a position of trust. Contrast this with an avoidant attachment pattern in which a team member has a fundamental approach to relationships that is one of distrust and self-reliance. This team member is there in name only and will be perceived as not cooperating, being a maverick, and “not playing well in the sand box.” The anxious attachment style may show up as an accommodating or pleasing style. This person sacrifices their own opinions so as to fit in, may frequently be checking in with the “boss” for approval and reassurance. The group loses this person’s gifts as the person may give in rather than be proactive on a decision point. The disorganized attachment style may contribute to significant disruption in a work group or team’s performance because the person will become overwhelmed during a conflict with either a chaotic or rigid response, either of which can disrupt the flow of energy and information needed for higher performance.

The culture of an organization often is set by the leader of the organization. Part of the definition of culture is the shared set of assumptions as to how we do business. From this, it is possible to see how the impact of the leader’s attachment could influence the culture of the organization. For example, if the leader has an anxious attachment, the organization may have a strong press to accommodate customers, resulting in a high emphasis on customer service which could range from being useful to problematic if taken to a dysfunctional level.

Have a day filled with mindful integration,

Robert A. Mines, Ph.D.
CEO & Psychologist

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Psychology of Performance – 17 Mirror Neurons

In his book The Mindful Therapist, Dr. Dan Siegel discusses the role of mirror neurons in actions that have a perceived intention behind them. He stated that the mirror neurons function as a bridge between sensory input and motor output that allows us to mirror the behavior we see someone else enact (p.36).  Practically this means that when we see someone drinking from a glass, the mirror neurons become activated (firing off electrical currents called an action potential). If we were to drink from the same glass, the same specific neurons that fired when we saw someone else drinking also become activated. Dr. Siegel said “We see a behavior and get ready to imitate it,” (p.36).

The implications of this line of research are significant for performance. For example, if you watch a movie with alcohol being consumed and you are in recovery, now you have internal neuronal firing similar to drinking the alcohol yourself. Now you have to override the neuronal firing with “white-knuckling it,” or better yet with mindful awareness, or you will increase your probabilities of a relapse.

The upside of this research is that seeing others perform a behavior successfully – mentally rehearsing the image – would theoretically strengthen the neuronal firing and increase the probabilities that you will execute the behavior successfully. This concept is foundational to performance coaching. As coaches, therapists, and bosses we need to think about our current training techniques and how they incorporate watching, rehearsing, and doing as part of the sequence.

Have a day filled with Mindfulness,

Robert A. Mines, Ph.D.

CEO & Psychologist

MINES and Associates

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Psychology of Performance – 16 Accountability and Authority

In our consulting through BizPsych (www.BizPsych.com), organizations ask us to assess and intervene with vertical relationship conflicts as well as  cross-departmental conflicts on a regular basis. These conflicts are often rooted in unclear accountability and authority for the C-level, vice-presidents, managers, supervisors and front line producers. This creates significant performance and execution problems throughout the organization.

Elliot Jacques, in his numerous publications defined accountability and authority for management at all levels. Accountability and authority establishes where people stand with each other.  They determine who is able to say what to whom, and who under given circumstances must say what to whom.  They establish who can tell who to do what, especially, in the managerial hierarchy, if one person is being held accountable for what another person does or for the results of what the other person does.

Accountability and authority define the behaviors that are appropriate and necessary in the vertical relationships between managers and their subordinates, and in the horizontal, cross-functional relationships between people.  The vertical relationships are the means by which the work that needs to get done is assigned, resourced, and evaluated; cross-functional relationships are the means by which the flow of work across functions gets processed and improved through time.

He noted that it is absolutely imperative that organizational leaders be clear not only about their own decision-making accountability, but they must also make it equally clear for each and every manager below them in the organization.  All of these managers must also meet regularly in two-way discussions about major issues with their immediate subordinates, in order to get their help in making decisions for which the manager alone must be accountable.  In discussions between managers and subordinates, it is always the manager that is ultimately accountable for decisions.  Even when the subordinate has more knowledge than his or her manager on a given matter and tells the manager what he or she thinks should be done; if the manager accepts the subordinate’s view then it becomes the manager’s decision. There will be times in an organization’s growth or life span when a manager may have multiple roles/levels that they are accountable for. The manager may be a manager, a supervisor and a front line producer on a given day if the department or work group is small enough or does not have the resources to accommodate separate levels and roles. This is a situation referred to as “down in the weeds”, “wearing many hats”, or “collapsed strata (time span).” This is not ideal; however, at times it may be the best we can do.

How does your organization define accountability and authority at each role? What impact has the clarity or lack of clarity had on your organizations effectiveness and performance?

Have a day filled with equanimity,

Robert A. Mines, Ph.D.

CEO & Psychologist

Mines and Associates

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Psychology of Performance – 15 Business Unit Effectiveness, Management and Leadership

How effective are your various business units?

What are your performance indicators?

Do each of your employees get held accountable for the results or just the managers?

All businesses and organizations get to address these questions and do their best to implement solutions depending on the answers. Elliot Jacques and Stephen Clement wrote an especially helpful book, Executive Leadership, which addresses these questions and many more. This posting will address a few of the many nuggets in their book.

One of the recurring BizPsych questions we get to answer and intervene on relates to individual differences in performance.  Jacques and Clement argue that role theory accounts for performance more than individual differences such as personality. They add that people perform to their role in very predictable ways. There is a significant amount of social psychology research to support this. Yet in many businesses, individual personality characteristics are looked at for explanatory hypotheses related to performance over clarity of role. Role clarity for a manager – from Jacques and Clements point of view – would include an adequate organizational design, an assumption that the manager has the knowledge, skills, commitment, values of the organization, and cognitive complexity to do the functions of the role. In the role of manager they would  have formal accountability for results and authority to allocate resources including staff, budget, and decision capability related to the complexity of the  tasks in their role. In addition, they have the interpersonal skills to develop a team of people who think they add value as a manager and are enthusiastic about accomplishing the goals of the business unit. The role clarity for a manager includes organizational support to veto an appointment (their manager has the authority to fire the employee if no other suitable position can be found), decide task assignment, decide personal effectiveness and merit awards, and decide to initiate removal from a role.

If the above conditions are satisfied, Jacques and Clements would predict a higher performance level from that business unit versus those that have role confusion. In our BizPsych division we encounter organization after organization that are addressing these topics in their design. If it comes to dealing with human performance, we are all in continuous recalibration mode.

Have a day filled with loving kindness,

Robert A. Mines, Ph.D.

CEO & Psychologist

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Psychology of Performance – 14 Negative Emotional States

When you allow your mind to focus on negative emotions does your performance improve or deteriorate?

Negative emotional states arise from expectation violations and then get potentiated by adding judgments about the negative feelings. Does “whipping yourself” help you improve? I had the opportunity to play in the DAD’s day (Dollars Against Diabetes) golf tournament sponsored by the Colorado Building Trades today. Golf is a wonderful laboratory in which there is a richness of self-talk, expectations, and emotional states  available to observe in myself and others. A feature of golf is that each shot actually is independent of all of the other shots one makes (much like many aspects of our work). As we let our self-talk build, it can decrease performance; but, the mind has a wonderful ability reset itself in the moment and let go of the thoughts about the previous shot. Practicing a mindfulness meditation technique of just observing the thoughts, feelings, and physical experiences without judging them and then visualizing the shot (performance) you want can go a long way in improving your performance.

This works in the rest of our life as well

It requires gently returning to this technique each time as the old thought habit patterns return with force until you learn to to redirect and focus on the outcome you want, not the outcome you do not want.

Have a day filled with mindfulness,

Robert A. Mines, Ph.D.

CEO & Psychologist

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