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3 Things We Learned from the HERO Think Tank

Written by Jennifer Koenig

Last month Trent Tangen and I had the opportunity to attend the Health Enhancement Research Organization’s (HERO) Winter Think Tank in San Antonio, Texas. HERO is national non-profit organization dedicated to identifying and sharing best practices in the field of workplace health and wellbeing.

The topic for the winter Think Tank was psychological safety in the workplace. As wellbeing practitioners, we’re always working to educate ourselves and our clients on ways to improve their workforce and the wellbeing of employees. There was a lot of really great discussion at the Think Tank, but 3 of the topics really stood out.


  1. EAPs are powerful, when they’re used.

One of the presenters gave an insightful talk around Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) and their results. The data demonstrated that EAPs work, but only when they’re used. The problem is that  EAPs at most companies is sorely underutilized.

The discussion reminded us that EAPs offer a TON of services for people, even if they’re not in the throes of a bad situation. EAPs are incredibly powerful for helping people thrive and get the skills they need to tackle stressful situations before they arise.

Think about how you can leverage your EAP as part of your wellbeing program. We’ve got a few ideas:

-  Brand it as part of the wellbeing program

-  Tie participation in the EAP to your wellness program’s incentives

-  Get your safety team involved with promoting the benefits of the EAP

-  Leverage your EAP as part of your HR processes; when someone has a major life event         (even good ones like marriages, births, and adoptions), build connecting with the EAP into       the steps for employees to take so they’re armed with support as they work through the life     changes.

At HealthCheck360, we believe in the value of EAPs and work to include your company’s EAP as part of the overall wellbeing program through links and education on the myHealthCheck360 platform and as part of the coaching and condition management programs.



2. Psychological safety matters.

One presenters offered a re-cap of a study Google did to determine how to maximize efficiency and effectiveness of groups. Check out this article if you want to know more about the study. They learned that “who” is in the group didn’t matter. Categorizing people and matching them with similar backgrounds, personality types, those who were friends outside of work, or have shared interests didn’t matter to the group’s performance. What did matter were 5 Traits of a successful team:

-  Psychological Safety

-  Dependability

-  Structure & Safety

-  Meaning

-  Impact

Psychological safety is defined as “a climate where people feel safe enough to take interpersonal risks by speaking up and sharing concerns, questions, and ideas.” So why does it matter for your organization? Think of the financial, pragmatic, ethical, and legal considerations using wellness programs as an example.

-  Financial: Increased productivity and retention of your employees helps your bottom line.  They perform better and deliver better outcomes for your company.

-  Pragmatic: Health is a very significant component to wellbeing and highly correlated to physical health.

-  Ethical: It’s the right thing to do for the health and safety of employees.

-  Legal: Increasing regulatory requirements on employers protecting the psychological health and safety of employees.




3. Locating yourself can be as easy as drawing a line. 

This one really stuck with us. It shows how exploring your self-awareness and understanding of how you are showing up impacts your interactions with others.

Here’s the video:

What really struck us was that it’s ok to be “below the line”, but it’s important to know what happens to your mind and your decision-making abilities when you’re there. This is vernacular and a concept that has really started to take root in our office as we explore our own self-awareness and how it impacts our daily work and relationships.


If you’re interested in learning more about how to improve your company’s wellbeing program and tie more program components together for a holistic approach, get in touch.  We’d love to hear what you’re looking to accomplish and how we can help those goals become a reality.




Topics: Corporate Wellness



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