Pivoting from Mitigating Risk to Optimizing Flourishing:
Why Business Must Think Differently About Health, Equity, Resilience and the Future of Work
Eileen McNeely, PhD, MS, RNFounder and Executive Director,
Sustainability and Health Initiative for NetPositive Enterprise (SHINE) at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
For decades, the question about thriving at work, from the employer’s perspective, was mostly about risk mitigation: how to keep workers healthy and safe and limit turnover. The guardrails for risk mitigation were simple; they focused on occupational health and safety regulations to keep injuries in check and on offering programs and perks to attract and retain talent. However, the COVID pandemic and ensuing stress and burnout has laid bare how ineffective these employer benefits were in addressing the innate needs of workers to thrive in their work, thrive in their life, and thrive together as a community.
The old paradigm of risk mitigation and focus on individual health through plug and play programs no longer works. Organizations must pivot to focusing on complete well-being and the conditions at work that enable thriving, from viewing work as potential risk to work as a platform for quality of life, from promoting individual interventions to considering the organization as the touchpoint of change. Decades of research show that ‘good’ jobs foster learning and mastery, self-efficacy and autonomy, meaning, purpose and satisfaction, a sense of belonging and inclusion, social support and financial security. These human needs are nurtured in workplaces that demonstrate respect for fairness and equity, psychological safety and trust, recognition, caring and empathy for individuals and the community beyond.
Many studies, including McNeely’s own research at the Sustainability and Health Initiative for Netpositive Enterprise (SHINE) at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, demonstrate how considering a new role for organizational caring and establishing a culture of trust, belonging and inclusion is fundamental to employee well-being and to supporting successful business outcomes.
Preventing Burnout in the New Future of Work
Journalist, Speaker, Author of
The Burnout EpidemicView bio
As we continue to live with the pandemic, we’re exploring a return to work that carries a number of uncertainties and many unanswered questions. In this time of enormous change, we must prioritize workplace well-being to prevent employee burnout and increase motivation. We’re in a time—like no other in history—where organizations have been given an opportunity to redefine the workplace.
Jennifer Moss, globally recognized as an expert in workplace wellness, and author of the book,
The Burnout Epidemic, published by Harvard Business Press, can show leaders how to capture those lessons from the pandemic. She will walk us through our current realities and provide tangible solutions to increase psychological fitness for a healthier and happier today, and in the new future of work.
Driving Health Equity in the Workplace
Eduardo Sanchez, MD, MPH, FAAFP
Chief Medical Officer for Prevention
American Heart AssociationView bio
Structural inequity, discrimination and bias have been shown to take a heavy toll on the health and well-being of employees, organizations, and their communities. The American Heart Association’s CEO Roundtable, a leadership collaborative of nearly 50 CEOs, is dedicated to helping employers further understand, identify, and eliminate workplace policies, practices, and programs that lead to inequities. Evidence shows that promoting health equity can benefit employee health and productivity and reduce health care costs.
Dr. Sanchez will share insights from the CEO Roundtable’s new report, Driving Health Equity in the Workplace, that includes guiding principles and actionable strategies that can help organizations wherever they are on their health equity journey.