Welcome to the first installment of Perspectives’ Well-Being Spotlight, where we highlight exceptional leaders who are empowering their people, teams, and organizations to achieve well-being. In this edition, we’re spotlighting Ardyth A. Cutler, CEBS, the Director of Employee Benefits at Community Healthcare System (CHS).
What does well-being look like for your employees, teams, and the organization as a whole?
The well-being of any organization rests upon the health of its staff.
This is especially true in a healthcare system and in the current pandemic environment where additional stress is placed on our caregivers to deliver support to those suffering, and in some cases, dying from COVID. Our frontline workers are battling not only the physical demands of their jobs, but the emotional rigors of keeping themselves, their coworkers, and their families safe from exposure while helping those in their care to recover. In the medical field, it is important to treat the whole individual, not just the presenting symptoms.
At CHS, we recognize the importance of offering a full suite of wellness benefits to address an employee’s mental, physical, and financial health and well-being. Our EAP, provided by Perspectives, has been instrumental in the mental health area, especially over the last two years, in delivering relevant communication content, including on-demand training, offering virtual counseling in addressing our employees’ needs, providing focused onsite facility meetings and in creating new ways for employees to connect, such as the monthly Peer Support groups.
With respect to physical well-being, CHS offers its employees and those spouses covered under our medical plan, the New Healthy Me (NHM) program. NHM offers free annual biometric testing and awards points for exhibiting the right behaviors, such as monthly monitoring of blood pressure and weight, exercising, keeping up with preventive visits, etc. The program has four levels of achievement. An employee and covered spouse can receive a $20 Target gift card for each level achieved while working towards an end-of-the-year “I Earned It” financial award as well. On top of that, for each level earned, the employee receives a credit towards the bi-weekly premium for the following plan year.
To help employees achieve their financial goals, CHS implemented the Fiducius Student Loan Relief program in August 2021. Additionally, our retirement plan provider has a cost-free program that employees can avail themselves of to help them identify and address areas that are impeding their ability to set and meet their retirement savings goals.
Lastly, in January and February of this year, “Winter Wellness” raffles were held. All staff members were automatically entered into drawings for prizes to help beat the winter blahs and COVID cabin fever. Perspectives was, of course, one of our willing benefactors in this hosted event.
In the medical field, it is important to treat the whole individual, not just the presenting symptoms.
- Ardyth Cutler
What have you put in place to boost employee wellness and well-being?
While all the items listed above have a place in maintaining one’s well-being, from an operational standpoint, it is our people that are the most important resource and their mindset must be our first priority. If someone’s head is literally “not in the game”, then others will suffer, including our patients, coworkers, and family members. Therefore, the focus for CHS has been on ensuring those who are caring for others are not themselves neglected and have the tools and support needed to keep them on an even keel and in a good frame of mind.
From the outset of the pandemic, it was clear that employees would require a battery of resources they could easily and readily obtain to get them over the rough patches. Perspectives has been a key player in ensuring CHS employees have multiple streams and forms of access assistance. In particular, we believe the implementation of the Peer Support group has been a good lifeline in opening up channels where employees can share and benefit from the experiences of others. It is also worth mentioning that some of our internal physicians provided free staff services to our employees experiencing the traumas of caring for those afflicted with COVID.
How do you practice self-care?
I am no different from anyone else. I can’t be the best for others and perform my job to the fullest extent if I do not care for my own mind and body. We should practice what we preach and I try to adhere to that admonition by eating healthy, being active, scheduling my annual preventive check-ups, getting the proper amount of rest, and finding time to do the things I enjoy, such as needle arts, reading or working jigsaw puzzles. The art of a happy life is in finding balance.
Do you know a leader who prioritizes well-being?
Nominate them to be featured in our Well-Being Spotlight. Send their name and email and why you are nominating them to firstname.lastname@example.org.