As an organizational communication scholar, I consulted with the company Blunovus in summer 2021. I was tasked with auditing the new client success program and determining how best to present the new model to existing clients. This blog post is an extension of what I learned during my time with Blunovus.
Everyone has hard days at work. We’re humans, after all, fraught with all sorts of complex feelings, emotions and behaviors that put stress on our state of being.
While it may come as no surprise to hear levels of stress reached a record high in 2020 across the globe, the US and Canada take the cake with a bold 57% of employees reporting daily stress (in fact, we led the charge even before the pandemic hit) (Gallup, 2021). This is our reality today: the challenging emotions of worry, stress, anger, and sadness are skyrocketing across the world. And these challenging emotions tend to be exacerbated at and by the workplace (SHRM, 2020).
Our places of work have a profound influence on our health in both embodied and social ways (James & Zoller, 2017). Our bodies experience deterioration (e.g., soreness, tightness, aches) just as our emotional and psychological wellbeing experience strain (e.g., stress, anxiety, depression). Instances like this are not ideal, but our culture has a way of normalizing these experiences and chalking them up to “the daily grind.”
To help address employees’ negative experiences, Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) are frequently adopted. Stemming from the human relations models of organizing – which “privilege the thoughts, feelings, and emotions of employees” (James & Zoller, 2017, p. 1086) as opposed to seeing employees as simply cogs in a machine – companies employ EAPs to offer a variety of services to employees in need. For instance, if individuals are struggling with substance abuse, relationship challenges, or other issues inadvertently affecting their workplace performance, they can reach out to the EAP.
The basic idea of EAPs is good; however, two general concerns tend to pop up when a company employs an EAP. First, a company’s engagement with an EAP is oftentimes stagnant. Just as our society has normalized “the daily grind,” so, too, have companies normalized purchasing an EAP just for the sake of checking a box. It’s not enough to have an EAP; an organization needs to utilize the EAP as a resource and put it to work for them. Second, and related, EAPs tend to be reactive. Many EAPs tout a “one-size-fits-all” approach to the services and resources they offer, thereby failing to develop a personalized relationship with a given organization. The result is a somewhat disconnected attempt at employee support. To cultivate a healthy workplace culture for everyone involved, EAPs should identify the best plan to enhance an organization’s unique environment.
Enter Blunovus, a “human connection company” (Blunovus, 2021). Blunovus – a name which means new and fresh clarity, stability, trust, and confidence – offers training, coaching, and care center support for employees and their loved ones. Breaking the “check the box” cycle, Blunovus guides companies through the process of improving retention, culture, and emotional prosperity with industry-specific support. The client services team at Blunovus is driven to develop caring relationships with each Blunovus partner, which includes discussing long and short-term wins and understanding which specific emotional well-being concerns exist in the company. Such personalized interests assure the execution of support will be tailored to the needs of a given group of people. What’s more, by proactively initiating regular training and coaching on top of care center support (i.e., text and call support, 24/7, for all employees and their family members), engagement with Blunovus is not just a possibility – it’s a given.
The fresh take on EAPs offered by Blunovus isn’t just disrupting the market, it’s introducing a new and authentic way for companies to live out the human relations approach to organizing. Such a “meaning centered approach” (James & Zoller, 2017, p. 1087) to workplace wellness focuses on a co-constructed plan to address the diversity of employee needs. It’s deconstructing “the daily grind,” and addressing hard days in a productive way that builds toward brighter days ahead.
While the reality of daily stress may be out of our control, our place of work doesn’t have to be a pressure-cooker for challenging emotions. With supportive measures in place and activated, employees can confront their worries, stress, anger, and sadness, and thrive because of it. Hard days will still happen, but, with Blunovus, employees don’t have to feel alone and isolated in their challenging emotions. In all their complexity, our human emotions can be cared for and supported, just as they should be.
- Levels of stress are at a record high across the globe.
- The workplace tends to exacerbate negative emotions, known as “the daily grind.”
- Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) are intended to mitigate stress, but oftentimes are underutilized and not taken seriously.
- Blunovus is a proactive EAP, with built-in, personalized support for any organization.
- Blunovus offers a meaning centered approach to workplace wellness that works towards improved employee satisfaction.
Blunovus. (2021). Blunovus Home. https://www.blunovus.com/
Gallup. (2021). State of the Global Workplace: 2021 Report. https://www.gallup.com/workplace/349484/state-of-the-global-workplace.aspx
James, E. P. & Zoller, H. M. (2017). Healthy Workplace. In C. R. Scott & L. Lewis (Eds.) The International Encyclopedia of Organizational Communication (pp. 1083-1092). Chichester, UK: Wiley-Blackwell.
SHRM. (2020, August 12). Survey: 84 Percent of U.S. Workers Blame Bad Managers for Creating Unnecessary Stress [Press release]. https://www.shrm.org/about-shrm/press-room/press-releases/pages/survey-84-percent-of-us-workers-blame-bad-managers-for-creating-unnecessary-stress-.aspx