HR Analyst Hot Take: Top Three Ways Total Brain Benefits Employers

Companies today face a hidden mental health crisis. In the U.S., 70% of employees are either at risk of or have a mental condition, but 50% of illnesses remain untreated. COVID-19 has only made matters worse, sending employees’ risk of depression skyrocketing 64% higher than before the pandemic, along with other mental health conditions.

While most companies have mental health benefits in place, HR industry consultant and analyst Mollie Lombardi believes Total Brain can make better use of a company’s offerings and drive more meaningful change.

With its self-monitoring assessments, science-backed self-care tools, and benchmarked data, “Total Brain looks at multiple aspects. It’s not just a focus on wellness; it’s not just breathing; it’s not just meditation. But it also offers the science behind it. It takes a multi-faceted approach,” said Lombardi.

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When we recently spoke with Lombardi, she shared her insights on the Total Brain platform’s value add from an HR perspective:

Self-Monitoring and Self-Care Tools Improve Mental Health Outcomes and Increase Employee Productivity

“HR cares about its employees’ mental health, but it is also focused on productivity,” said Lombardi. “I like to use the phrase, ‘We are all sick at work sometimes.’ So the more we can offer employees tools to help make sure mental health issues are not dominating everything they’re doing, the better off we are as an organization.”

It all starts with Total Brain’s brief assessment, which gives the employee a detailed view of his or her mental strengths and opportunities to grow. The assessment also screens for common mental health conditions, including depression, generalized anxiety disorder, and sleep apnea. If an employee is deemed at risk, he has the opportunity to validate that risk and determine if he wants to take steps to get help. It’s a strategy that gets employees the help they need quicker.

Based on assessment results, the employee receives daily, personalized content and self-care exercises, such as Thought Tamer, to improve positivity, balance emotions, and find focus to boost long-term mental health. Total Brain also provides effective in-the-moment stress relief tools, such as Resonant Breathing, proven to reduce cravings, stress, and anxiety almost immediately.

How does employee mental health affect productivity? Depression alone is estimated to cost employers nearly a month’s worth of lost workdays each year. Also, employees with depression are more likely to lose jobs and change jobs frequently, creating turnover.

With its workforce analytics, the Total Brain platform also gives HR executives aggregate insight into their organization’s overall mental health. Data insights can help to first identify at-risk office locations or business units and then determine the needed resources to improve well-being and mitigate risk.

With Total Brain, HR executives can see if they have “a population of people who are at a high risk for X, Y, and Z,” and then ask themselves, “How can we offer them tools? How can we create an environment where these conditions are less likely to happen?” explained Lombardi. “It’s a risk management tool.”

Improve Manager and Leadership Communications

Lombardi loves that the Total Brain app gives managers and HR leaders a common language and easy-to-use tools to talk about mental health.

Since the Total Brain self-assessment measures brain “capacities” such as emotional awareness, non-conscious negativity, memory, focus, and resilience, its results carry much less stigma than traditional mental health labels. According to Lombardi, “With the capacities and their definitions, it gives you a language to start talking about mental health. It’s just a great way to be able to open the conversation.”

Lombardi continues, “It’s a way to communicate between employers and employees that’s less invasive...You’re not asking managers to be responsible for the mental health of their employees. Instead, you’re giving them a lens by which to talk about and give employees tools…It still lets individuals make their own decisions and use it in their own way.”

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With its benchmarked data and workforce analytics, the Total Brain platform also allows company leaders to understand the general mood of the organization and recalibrate as needed. Lombardi explained, “It’s important to know where you are in terms of relative to normal. With the Mental Health Index, you can see if you’re deviating from that either positively or negatively,” and then either adjust or stay the course.

Lombardi sees this insight influencing how leadership communicates: “I think this could be really beneficial. It’s not about, ‘Hey, who’s feeling bad and let’s soothe them.’ It’s really about how I can modify my behavior as a leader to be able to get through and speak to concerns that are happening within my organization.”

As a bonus, improved leadership communication and creating an empathetic culture can not only improve employee satisfaction, but can also help improve health outcomes.

Attract and Retain Talent

Nearly three-quarters of employees say they want their employers to care about their mental health, which ranks higher than equality (48%), sustainability (38%) and diversity (31%) in importance. Additionally, employees are more likely to stay with employers they believe support their well-being.

By offering access to Total Brain’s ongoing self-monitoring and self-care tools, companies put in their employees’ hands real, science-backed tools to improve their overall mental health and brain performance.

“It’s leading from a cultural perspective,” Lombardi said. “Even if not every executive is talking about mental health all the time, providing your employees a tool that’s as powerful as Total Brain shows at an organizational level, ‘We believe employee well-being is important.’”

Total Brain’s benchmarked data also helps organizations “look to the future, see areas where they need to improve, and change to make sure they are getting and keeping the people they need in the organization’s future,” added Lombardi.

Final Thoughts

In sum, Lombardi feels the Total Brain platform can help HR teams and company leaders answer some of the key workforce questions from “How do we understand what’s hurting our productivity when it’s something that may have nothing to do with our product or our market?” to “How do we communicate with our people better?” and radiating out to the big picture question of “How do we understand who our organization is?”

If you’re an HR or benefits professional charged with improving employee mental health, schedule a meeting to discuss how Total Brain can help.

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mental health in the covid-19 era
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