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Putting Wellness First: A Look at our Newest Employee Resource Group

By Chase McConnell2020-12-15

Since COVID-19, many have placed an increased emphasis on their own personal wellness. For those who aren’t sure where to start, our newest Employee Resource Group (ERG) has CoverMyMeds employees covered.

Since COVID-19, many have placed an increased emphasis on their own personal wellness. For those who aren’t sure where to start, our newest Employee Resource Group (ERG) has CoverMyMeds employees covered.

Employee Resource Groups are voluntary, employee-led groups whose aim is to foster a diverse, inclusive workplace aligned with the organizations they serve. At CoverMyMeds we have a plethora of ERGs that serve employees and make this their best place to work and grow, including the LGBTQCrew, Women in Healthcare IT (WHIT), Affinity Council and many others!

Though initiated before COVID-19 hit, the Wellness ERG strives to help employees deal with many of the wellness-related issues brought to light by the pandemic. More specifically, the group aims to support employees with their overall wellness in four key areas: relationships, mental health, finances and physical well-being.

We spoke with two of the group’s founding members, Kelia Baker and Jordan Hoelzer, about the ERG’s origins, their philosophy and how employees can utilize these resources. Kelia and Jordan bring with them respectively a wealth of experience as a human resources specialist, with a focus on benefits, and a manager of our patient services team, with a focus on employee engagement. They both bring their passion for people to making the Wellness ERG the best it can be for our employees.

What motivated you to start this new ERG?

Kelia: It came from a small group of folks who wanted to offer mental health resources to the company through a Mental Wellness ERG. I got pulled in from the HR and benefits side. I loved the idea, but we were challenged to think about wellness little more holistically. So instead of just focusing on the mental portion of wellness, we brought in physical, financial and relational wellness. Those make up the four “pillars” of our approach to overall wellness.

We want you to bring your whole selves to work, not leave them at home. This is one way we want to help employees do that.

Jordan: Absolutely, and our work should be additive and purpose driven. If we have highly engaged, healthy people, we know our company will thrive. So, there’s a strategic business element to it as well. Really healthy people who feel psychologically safe at work and healthy in all those areas we just mentioned can be more creative, innovative and present.

Relationally, mentally, physically and financially — if those four are feeling off-balance or unhealthy, regardless of what is happening in the world, things are going to feel worse. For example, COVID-19 is making a lot of us feel mentally unwell or financially insecure. Our hope is the resources and experiences we provide will allow people to feel more protected and prepared for whatever is to come in their lives.

__How is the Wellness ERG different from the other ERGs at CoverMyMeds — like LGBTQCrew, Affinity Council, etc.? __

Jordan: The Wellness ERG is extremely complementary to our other ERGs. While others will have a heightened focus on a particular area, and they will excel and provide resources under a specific umbrella. Our ERG can come alongside those initiatives and support all of the others, whether that’s WHIT, ACES, QCrew or Affinity Council. For example, Black History Month is coming up in February and I view an understanding of cultures as a part of wellness. So, we are partnering with Affinity Council to couple what we’re trying to do with wellness with what they’re trying to do on Black History month.

Kelia: The bottom line is that we focus on the person — the individual. All of our ERGs do this in some way, but our goal is to give each person at CMM the space to explore themselves on a personal level, allowing them the space to think through what they need in the moment or reflect on what they need to as a human to be their best self.

What do you hope this ERG will accomplish?

Kelia: We may not have all the super jazzy events, but we want to be a landing page that people can always circle back to and just know that it’s always there. Whether that’s a financial issue you may not know how to handle or a mental wellness issue where you’re thinking, “I need some more help with this.” We’ll always be there, like a comfort to our employees. If you need something, odds are you can come to us to find it.

Jordan: One of our primary desires is to make sure employees never feel like they’re going through something alone. We want to give them several outlets to either connect with someone or get a specific resource they need to feel equipped to work with certain issues. We want to equip individuals to have what they need to be healthy, however that looks to each individual. So, we’re not defining what health is for anyone. We’re giving people evidence-based resources and opportunities so they can define or live out their own versions of their best selves.

Kelia: A goal of mine in my current role is also to highlight everything we offer through our benefits. One thing this ERG can do is highlight the benefits our company offers that help with all the pillars of wellness. This ERG will also help inform CoverMyMeds about what our employees’ needs and wants.

__How do you see our new Franklinton campus contributing to the Wellness ERG’s mission? __

Jordan: The opportunities are endless. We’re excited for campus to be a major driver of the ERG — as far as what we can offer and provide — though we don’t know everything campus is going to have yet.

Kelia: One obvious thing to point out is the different spaces in our campus that will directly support the pillars of wellness, like the state-of-the-art gym.

What do you want current and prospective CoverMyMeds employees to know about the Wellness ERG?

Kelia: For me, the Wellness ERG fully embraces our “[ref]( "Be Yourself”)" core value. We’re asking people to bring their full selves to the workplace, and the Wellness ERG is a community where you can find that vulnerability, where you can connect with folks who may be going through the same thing. That’s hard to find in other organizations. I’ve never worked for a company where you can talk openly about your mental health struggles or relationships or financial hardships in a public channel. I feel like we’re so unique and so much stronger because of that.

Jordan: Obviously what we produce at work matters in fulfilling our mission. I want people to know that here, we believe people matter so much more than simply what we produce. I think our hope for the Wellness ERG is to exhibit that. We want to care for you as an individual and in what makes you feel whole and healthy.

For more information, current employees can join the #cmmwellness Slack channel or check out the Wellness ERG on Confluence. Be on the lookout for more Wellness ERG events coming in the New Year!

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