A friend once told me to assume 1 in 4 people are dealing with some form of crisis. This was pre-COVID, pre-isolation, pre-job losses, and well before the natural disasters and social unrest of 2020. I think it is safe to say – whatever the number – that stress, personal crisis, and mental health concerns have substantially increased for everyone. This time of uncertainty can be emotionally crushing, and many are struggling.
I’m approaching my fifth year as The South Salt Lake Chamber Women in Business Committee Co-Chair and our focus has completely shifted. Our most recent virtual event was on well-being and community involvement.
During this event, we learned:
-60% of Utah’s depressed youth, age 12 – 17, did not receive treatment for depression
-Over 100,000 adults in Utah experience serious mental illness
-Over half of Utah adults with mental illness did not receive mental health treatment or counseling
-Since the pandemic started, alcoholism has increased 300%
-And less than 10% of employees utilize their Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs)
We also learned that to keep well, boost happiness, and lower stress levels it is helpful to:
-Use meditation and positive visualization
-Take time to do nothing since our brains need downtime
-Prioritize the things that matter most to you
-And serve others
Why Doing Good is Good for You
According to a 2017 Deloitte Volunteerism Survey, 89% of those surveyed believe that companies who organize volunteer and charitable activities offer better work environments than those who do not.
According to a 2017 Glassdoor.com assessment, 75% of US workers surveyed said they expect their employer to support community service/volunteer efforts.
Volunteer activities are more likely to boost morale than company sponsored happy-hours or other events. And employee wellness and volunteer programs increase engagement and help with recruitment.
Gallup reported that organizations with high employee engagement have 3.9 times the growth rate of earnings per share than other companies with lower engagement in the same industry. Many business leaders consider employee disengagement one of the top three business threats, along with the ability to recruit top talent.
Attracting and hiring the best talent in the industry is what every company wants. Volunteer programs can increase the attraction of a business for potential employees. It can also help to keep these workers on the job to ensure growth for both the company and the employee. So, in a year when so many things have been turned upside down, now may be the perfect time to implement wellness programs and service opportunities within your company.
Community organizations, which often provide important avenues for wellbeing and wellness for others, need your support now more than ever. If you are not in a position to give financially, why not give something back that is even more priceless – your time. Helping others while helping yourself and your company is a win-win!
Wellbeing at Work
The way we have had to do business has changed for almost all of us. With employee wellbeing in mind, many companies need to find ways to help people connect, feel better, and continue to be productive.
I am proud to be part of a company that knows employee wellbeing is critical. Critical to individual productivity and company productivity. And Gava Talent Solutions (GTS) realizes community service is as good for the giver as it is the receiver. Here are a few examples that we have put in place that may work for you.
Provide Opportunities to Improve Physical and Mental Wellbeing
GTS has implemented a Wellness Club with the following opportunities for employees to improve their physical and mental wellbeing. There are also opportunities to stay connected with each other.
- 3 live fitness classes per week (yoga, meditation, and cardio) that are available on-demand afterwards. These classes are also available to our Clients for free
- A wellness tracking app – SportsTracker – with a leaderboard to encourage competition and motivation
- Weekly team “hangouts” where we can just laugh, talk, and connect with each other outside a business agenda
- A group chat in RingCentral, the company’s internal messaging service
- A community board for sharing photos, recipes, links, and more via Padlet
We also have a monthly virtual All Hands Meeting where we connect with our colleagues and hear from management on company updates. It gives employees peace of mind to know that the company is stable and profitable. In these meetings, we are always reminded of our EAP, how it is free to all employees, and 100% confidential – assuring us that our mental health is IMPORTANT.
Finally, our Co-founder and Chief Operating Officer, Gita Bhargava, facilitates a monthly Women’s Leadership Meeting. She often reminds us it is a safe zone where we can share our challenges and fears and lean on each other for support. We come together as women to talk about issues that affect us, not only in the workplace but in our everyday lives. Collectively we help one another by sharing experiences and take-aways from pre-identified reading material.
These are just a few ideas that we have implemented, but leverage the apps, websites, activities, and programs that work best for your team and company culture.
Make Community Service Part of Your Culture
GTS is very supportive of non-profit organizations. They know the value individuals receive by providing service and the many team building benefits that arise from these opportunities.
With the support of GTS, my colleagues and I are working to form Canvas4aCause.org, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that operates on a mission to inspire creative expression and empower our youth.
A few of us have also joined the volunteer Board of the Dual Immersion Academy, a charter school with close to 500 students, 90% of which are economically disadvantaged and live in low to moderate income households.
We also support Promise South Salt Lake, an initiative of the City of South Salt Lake to provide dynamic, highly specialized community and out-of-school-time programming, with an academic and prevention focus, within 14 neighborhood centers throughout the city. Their programs are free, open to all, and emphasize equity, diversity and putting children first.
Our Co-founder and CEO, Ragu Bhargava, has been on the Board of City Year San Jose for almost a decade and our sister company Global Upside provides financial support. City Year San Jose works alongside teachers and community partners in the most under-resourced communities in East San Jose. The non-profit provides mentoring and tutoring to help bridge the educational gap for students across the city. Ragu puts his time and resources where his values are–he believes education is very important for all of us and we would not be where we are today without it.
I could go on and on about all the ways our employees are involved in their local communities from PTA’s, organizations that support the homeless, food banks, and nonprofits that help lift individuals out of poverty. Hopefully this article shows you every little bit matters and encourages you to act and inspire others to do so too.
About the Author
Teri joins Gava Talent with over 20 years of account management experience. She specializes in building partnerships in the staffing and recruiting world. Teri is the Chair of the SSL Chamber Women in Business Committee and spends her free time supporting the Salt Lake City community and youth projects.