How to Help Employees Be Resilient during Difficult Times
Our ability to cope – and to thrive – is being tested this year like never before. Resiliency is crucial to our health and happiness. And yes, we can take steps to strengthen our resiliency, improving our quality of life at home, in the community, and at work.
Under the right conditions, resilience can grow
Only two in five Americans have a strong ability to bounce back quickly when confronted with difficult situations, according to the new Cigna Resilience Index, the largest U.S. study of resilience among children, young adults, and working-age adults.
This research showed resilience is a life-long skill that people can develop and hone at any age through managing their physical and mental health, having access to tools, building stronger connections at work, and surrounding themselves with a diverse community. Building greater personal resilience helps put people on a healthier and more productive path for dealing with life’s challenges.
The costs of low resilience in the workplace
Across the United States, full-time workers have the highest resilience levels. Resilience decreases as workers move from full-time employment to part-time employment and to unemployment. Workers who have been laid off due to COVID-19 exhibit the lowest resilience of all.
Yet only 37 percent of full-time workers are considered resilient. The remaining 63 percent tend to be less satisfied with their jobs and more likely to look for new ones. They report being less engaged, less ambitious, and less productive.
For employers, resilience issues can impact the bottom line. High resilience is correlated with healthier employees and healthier dependents. Lower resilience can result in higher healthcare spending and a less healthy workforce.
Without the ability to cope with challenges, adults are more likely to resort to negative coping strategies, such as social withdrawal and substance abuse/alcohol, and to experience stress, anxiety, and depression. In the U.S., reduced productivity because of depression costs employers approximately $5,500 annually for each person in the workforce, while the cost of depression-related absences total $390 for each worker per year. Together, these loses add up to 0.53% of the gross domestic product (GDP).
How to help employees become more resilient
Open communication is important. Employees who receive regular communications from their employers about difficult topics like the state of their business and have conversations about the impact of systemic racism on mental health are more likely to be resilient.
In addition, people with supportive coworkers, diverse workplaces, access to support, and tools like mental health services, paid parental leave, exercise programs, and digital symptom checkers are more likely to be resilient.
Those who are working from home have higher resilience than those who are not, but the transition back to the workplace may be difficult. Access to the right resources, and the ability to navigate them, is key to helping workers maintain and build resilience – especially as they prepare to return during the pandemic.
Recognizing these areas of concern, Evernorth has included a number of programs under our new Healthy Ways to Work suite of solutions:
- Evernorth inMyndSM behavioral health solution offers a thoughtful and connected approach that helps patients and payers better recognize, treat and support mental and behavioral health conditions. This program includes digital Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (dCBT) support.
- Our standalone digital Cognitive Behavioral Therapy solution, available via app and web, targets patients living with depression, anxiety, and insomnia. Digital behavioral health care is part of the Evernorth Digital Health Formulary, a platform that streamlines the process of reviewing digital health tools to ensure clinical effectiveness, usability, security, and financial value.
- Express Scripts’ Health Connect 360SM is a holistic outcomes-based clinical management strategy that connects plan sponsors with medical plans and other clinical partners to ensure each patient gets the care they need. HealthConnect 360, which includes inMynd and dCBT capabilities, delivers guaranteed clinical and financial outcomes.
In light of the current situation and hardships sweeping the nation, these solutions are a starting point. We are continuing to explore ways to help Americans of all ages build and improve the skills they need to be resilient today and going forward.