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Let’s start off on the right foot

“Sometimes it is the people no one can imagine anything of who do the things no one can imagine.”-Alan Turing


 

lgbtq-discrimination
The skinny

According to recent data, fifty-six percent of the LGBTQ+ community report experiencing discrimination from a health provider and are two to three times more likely to avoid care compared to straight and cisgender populations.

Not good.

No. And with 11 million Americans identifying as LGBTQ+ this is a major problem. What’s more, many in the health care space aren’t equipped to treat, talk about, or refer proper care for the LGBTQ+ community.  

Really?

Yes, really. You’d be surprised to learn that many doctors aren’t aware of PrEP, a prescription antiviral medication most often used as a preventative measure against HIV/AIDS.  

!?!?

My thoughts exactly. The fact of the matter is that members of the LGBTQ+ community don’t just want better, more inclusive benefits–they want educated providers who are medically qualified to tend to their physical needs and culturally aware enough to ease their psychological ones, too.  

So, what’s needed?

Good question. Basically, providers might not be aware of, or know how to provide a safe space for an LGBTQ+ patient to talk freely and openly about their medical needs which is a very important first step.

 What else?

Other common pain points for the LGBTQ+ community involve issues around infertility, as well as transgender-specific medical needs. For example, in the trans community, more than 50% reported having to explain certain aspects of transgender-specific medical necessities to their health care providers.

That’s literally half.

Yes, and wholly unacceptable. This knowledge gap keeps many from accessing trans-specific medical procedures like hormone therapy or gender affirmation surgery. Bridging this gap requires accountability and transparency from the health care industry.  

Full stop.

Speaking of full, having an open dialogue should enable queer individuals to bring their full selves to a medical practitioner. Employers have the opportunity to look at their employee base and understand the representation they have in order to provide personalized solutions that address disparities and therefore promote better health, wellness, and inclusivity.

Date with data: Almost 16% of Gen Z openly identify as LGBTQ+. The most out of any generation.

Double date: 40% of LGBTQ+ employees remained in the closet at work, while 75% experienced negative interactions related to their identity in the office.

Totes quotes: “HR benefits leaders are beginning to recognize that this one size fits all approach hasn't been working. We shouldn't have these roadblocks and barriers. Healthcare is a basic human right.” – Colin Quinn, Co-founder and CEO of Included Health

Further reading: It’s Time to Rethink the Phrase “Coming Out.”


company-empathy-icon
The skinny

Nearly a full year into the pandemic, the 2021 State of Workplace Empathy data indicates that a silver lining to COVID-19 could be a resurgence in workplace empathy

How’d it start?

Not cute, deleting now. In fact, since 2016, empathy was in a steady decline in the workplace. Kind of like the steady decline of Rolling Rock in Mare’s fridge.

Some declines are better than others.

For sure. And while that decline was worrying, there’s some good news.

How’s it going?

Glad you asked. Empathy has somewhat recovered during the pandemic with employees rating their CEOs 9 points higher on the empathy scale vs in 2020. More good news, managers also shoved into the positive with 82% of employees saying their manager was empathetic, 3 points above 2020.

Looks like a chart-topper year.

Perhaps. We’ve got a couple of chart toppers in the benefits space at least. Employees’ highest rated empathetic behaviors during the pandemic were: time off to care for those with COVID-19, flexible schedules and deadlines, and one-on-one support for challenges.  

Those sound good.

Sure. But, (you know there’s a but) despite 90% of employees ranking remote work near the top of the list of empathetic behaviors, only 50% report that this option was available to them. Even fewer say their organizations offered flexibility.  

So?

Have you spaced out? Basically, the study reveals that there’s a pretty hefty disconnect between highly rated benefits/behaviors vs what employees are actually experiencing IRL.

Truth or, dare I ask?

Truth: the pandemic likely forever changed employees’ expectations for empathy in the workplace. No surprise, they want more, more, more. This could be an issue down the road; if employees aren’t feeling the empathy, they could exit stage left.

Date with data: 88% of employees and HR professionals would be more likely to stay with an employer that empathized with their needs.

Double date: Report by SHRM found that 92% of workers surveyed said they would look for a company that demonstrated empathy when seeking a job.

Further reading: In Their Own Words, Americans Describe the Struggles and Silver Linings of the COVID-19 Pandemic.



 

self-criticism-icon
The skinny

Research shows that self-criticism is a poor strategy for motivation, and when used excessively it can actually cause less motivation, worse self-control, and greater procrastination.

Doubting everything.

You may be a sensitive achiever, or a high-achiever who is also highly sensitive.

I can’t believe you’re calling me sensitive.

I mean…let’s put it this way: you expect a lot from yourself, right? Maybe even an excessive amount?

That tracks.

And when you don’t necessarily reach your (sometimes impossible) goals, or fall short, how do you feel?

Well, how much time do you have?

In the essence of time management, can I interest you in a scene from Fight Club?  

That hurt.

Thought that might be the case. Thoughtful achievers tend to have the worst spirals of self-criticism. Some use it as a motivational tool to always be better, if they’re tough enough on themselves, they’ll be compelled to perform.

Feel that.

Well, unfortunately research shows that self-criticism is a poor strategy and can be a very difficult pattern to break.

Oh no.

Don’t worry, there are a few things that can help. First, pick a name.

Pancake?

Hmm. Ok, that works. This is the name of your self-criticism. Personifying it can help you create distance from it and helps you separate yourself from your thoughts. Defusion (what this process is called) is shown to reduce discomfort, believability (especially with a name like Pancake), and the stress of negative thoughts.

Bad Pancake.

Batter up. Now, another tip: flip the “what if” narrative. Studies have shown that those with sensitive personalities have a more active mental circuitry and neurochemicals in areas related to attention, action-planning, decision-making, and having strong emotional experiences.

Ok…

This means, that as a sensitive achiever, you have the power to channel your thinking with better questions. Pose more constructive questions like, what could go right, instead of mapping out what could go wrong.  

But, what if…

Stop right there. The last tip is major for everyone to hear. Shame and humiliation – two emotions common with self-criticism and tequila – are shown to only last between 30-50 minutes. So set a timer for your “wallow hour” and let yourself feel your emotions. Journal, have some time with Pancake, and expel all the negativity, then once that feeling has passed, you can start focusing on what’s next. And, if all that fails, just go to bed early.

Totes quotes: “Take a few moments at the end of your workday to reflect not only on your professional highlights (praise, recognition, positive reviews, etc.), but also to consider moments where you made yourself proud. Acting in integrity with your values is the true definition of success.” -Melody Wilding, author of Trust Yourself: Stop Overthinking and Channel Your Emotions for Success at Work.

Further viewing: Look how far you’ve come.



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AE 2022.

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