Human Capital Management Blog

Strategies for HCM Professionals

Feeling stressed? So are your employees

employee stress 3By Sue Blankenhagen, Wellness Program Specialist, Ceridian LifeWorks

Managing your employees’ health and wellness is about a lot more than things like getting people to eat well and exercise often. Once you get past the physical aspects of wellness, you also have to consider the mental side – especially in the modern workplace where people are overworked and feeling pulled in numerous directions all at once.

Are you feeling stressed at work? It’s hard to blame you. But here’s the important news: You’re not alone. Millions of people all over North America are infected with the stress bug, and it affects them negatively on a daily basis. It’s time we did something to address this problem.

The prevalence of stress today
To understand the problem, it helps to dig a little deeper and research just how prevalent stress is among the North American workforce today. According to research reported in Forbes, workplace stress is responsible for up to $190 billion in annual U.S. health care costs.

We’ve got to eliminate these financial pitfalls somehow, and Ceridian’s research indicates that health coaching  is a viable solution. We surveyed our LifeWorks stress management health coaching participants in 2014, and the results showed that 90.2 percent reduced their risk of depression and 54.8 percent improved their ability to cope. This can have a tremendous impact on workplace productivity, engagement and the bottom line.

Why health coaching is a solution
Let’s discuss what makes health coaching such a great solution – not just for stress, but also for a range of other health issues including obesity, tobacco use, sleep health and diabetes prevention. All of these conditions are largely caused by behavioral choice, which means coaches can help people change their behaviors.

Health Coaches can offer help over the phone or the web for convenience. As an example, our LifeWorks coaches have an extensive list of credentials that enable them to assess a participant’s health goals, medical risks, readiness to change, anticipated obstacles and more. Ultimately, they support participants as they work toward goals, maintain motivation and deal with setbacks, with a 95.6% satisfaction rating from our participants.

What to look for in a program
If you’re looking for a health coaching program that will work for your business, here are a few factors you should consider. You want a program that:

  • Focuses on relationship building, coping with change and time management
  • Goes one step at a time, helping employees to tackle challenges they once found overwhelming
  • Offers one-on-one coaching with personal coaches who know people’s particular stressors and tactics
  • Follows up to reinforce people’s good behaviors and prevent relapses

A great wellness provider will have proven they can offer all four of the above. As you evaluate wellness program providers, consider how they will align with your staff’s needs and your organization’s objectives.

We all have a responsibility to address the prevalence of stress in the workplace today. I’ll leave you with a challenge, do one thing today to decrease stress in your workplace. If you feel up for sharing, feel free to use the comments section. I look forward to learning from all of you.


SBlankenhagenSue Blankenhagen is a Wellness Program Specialist for Ceridian LifeWorks. With more than 20 years of experience with worksite wellness, community health education and health promotion, she understands what it takes to help employees find their motivation. Sue is a Certified Wellness Coach™ with a bachelor’s degree in General Dietetics from Madonna University in Michigan.

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