Why You Need a Best Friend at Work: Insights from the HERO Forum

I’d have to stop to think how many years now I’ve been attending the annual HERO Forum, a conference that brings together thought leaders and employers to share leading-edge and practical ideas to support the health and well-being of the workforce. But I can tell you without hesitation that they are always a highlight. After all, it’s three days spent with hundreds of people who have devoted their careers to helping people thrive. That makes for a lot of good energy -- not to mention strong participation in the 5K “fun” run in the 105° Arizona heat!

The theme for this year’s Forum was, “Engagement in the Emerging Workforce” and a thread weaving through many presentations was the importance of a culture – especially one that embraces diversity and inclusion – that supports employees’ health and well-being and leads to better employee engagement and performance. Key elements of culture that were explored and are associated with organizational engagement and individual fulfillment included emotional health, compassion and companionate love -- like having a best friend at work.

Representatives from Johnson & Johnson, Shell Oil, and Goldman Sachs participated on a panel that discussed how employee well-being impacts organizational engagement and sustainability. There were also practical presentations by thought leaders like Wendy Lynch, about the art and value of effective listening; and Alia Crum presenting her research on the ability to use mindset – how one frames an idea – to view stress as enhancing rather than as negative. And, as always, a key feature of the Forum was presentations by employers showcasing their health and well-being initiatives and sharing best practices and lessons learned.

It’s well worth browsing the summaries of HERO Forum presentations, which are available in the Proceedings of the Forum. I’d be surprised if you didn’t come across at least one new idea you’d want to consider.

Mercer enjoys a valuable and enduring partnership with the Health Enhancement Research Organization (HERO) with our co-authorship of both U.S. and International versions of The HERO Health and Well-being Best Practices Scorecard in Collaboration with Mercer© and related benchmarking and research database. (You can check out our video on the Scorecard here.) HERO is a leading not-for-profit Think Tank organization that identifies and promotes best practices for employee health and well-being.

Many attendees reported that this year’s HERO Forum was one of the best conferences they had attended in a very long time. If you’ve never attended a Forum, I encourage you to consider putting a hold on your calendar for the next one scheduled for October 2-4, 2018 in Ponte Vedra Beach, FL.

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