Posted by Midhat Zaman on December 8, 2023
Midhat Zaman

Over 2,000 HR leaders like you registered for the 2023 edition of Sparking Dialogues. This year, our annual employee wellness conference brought together organizational leaders, subject-matter experts, and inspiring keynotes to tackle top HR questions. Weeks later, we’re still digesting all the actionable insights and candid conversations!

If you missed the event or simply want an overview of the key takeaways, take a look at 7 things we learned at this year’s event. 


1. Great leaders model good self-care.

That's a point Nicola Forde from Sun Life drove home during her panel with Dialogue’s Sylvain Beauséjour. To ensure your employees can fully disconnect and reap the benefits, it's imperative that you lead by example. Effective communication is built on following the guidelines you set for your team. By respecting your own self-care time, you empower your employees to do the same.

It's ok to take time off, use up those vacation days, and zone in on some focused time. According to Susy Martins from Advise2Rise, it's also about showing your human side. Leaders, don’t be afraid to be vulnerable. Show how you deal with real-life obstacles and family challenges. Being open can help you foster a culture of honesty and understanding.


Listen to the full conversation.


2. Employees are prioritizing mental health benefits in their job search.

So, employers better walk the talk, says HUB’s Rosalie Croteau. Employers are increasingly investing in well-being benefits, but it's important that these offerings make sense. If employers want to attract and retain top talent, they should focus on integrated and comprehensive solutions —  ones that empower employees to access support for financial, social, physical, and mental health.

In fact, Rosalie finds a silver lining in the increasing number of mental health disability leaves: it suggests that people are eager to take a break, get the treatment they need, nurture their well-being, and confidently return to work. By offering proper mental health support, employers can help employees seek assistance before they reach their breaking point.


3. A solid benefits communication plan is key. 

This is what LG2’s Martine Massarelli makes very clear. With a staggering 1 in 3 employees expressing that their benefits fall short, it's vital to shed light on the vast range of services available to them.

Workplaces often make a splash around benefits when they launch them, but regular communication isn’t always part of the plan. Without recurring communication, there may be a perception that benefits are simply not available to employees.

This is why Dialogue’s team is focused on helping clients communicate programs to members regularly, through monthly newsletters, onboarding emails, re-engagement campaigns, clinical webinars, and more. 


4. Utilization rates are just one measure of success.

While metrics like utilization allow employers to evaluate the effectiveness of programs and understand if members are benefiting, they don't tell the whole story. Albert Hippolyte from Héma-Quebec also emphasizes the importance of educational and prevention resources. On top of benefits that treat mental health issues, it's crucial for employers to consider whether team members are learning to manage and prevent symptoms from worsening.

Through unified insights, like the ones provided by Dialogue, leaders can not only measure utilization rates, but also gauge improvements in anxiety and depression scores to truly understand program impact.

Watch the discussion. 


5. Employees are struggling with sleep.  

Based on Dialogue’s Well-Being Score, Wellness Solutions Expert, Kristen Sunstrum, reveals that poor sleep hygiene is impacting people’s work-life balance and productivity. Dr. Marc Robin adds that work-related stress, family responsibilities, and financial insecurity are the leading causes of sleep issues.

Dialogue clients can assess their organization's Well-Being Score to see if sleep is also their highest at-risk lifestyle factor. The score also highlights areas where employees are thriving in terms of well-being. By becoming more informed, employers can better understand the lifestyle factors affecting their employees, and take appropriate steps to provide support and alleviate symptoms.

Learn more about lifestyle factors. 


6. Self-care looks different for everyone. 

Mental health differs across cultures and experiences. My-Linh Diep, a Mental Health Trainer, reflects on her upbringing in a culture that prioritized spiritual well-being over mental health.

Dialogue’s Dr. Stephanie Moynihan agrees: self-care can vary from community to community. A one-size-fits-all approach to mental health rarely works, particularly when supporting a diverse workforce.

My-Linh shares this example. During a therapy session, a South Asian patient was advised to set boundaries. But given the importance placed on family and elders in their culture, it became challenging to achieve this. As a result, the patient decided to discontinue therapy.

What does this mean for leaders? If your team members don't receive personalized care, they may not follow through. Take a step back and ask yourself: Does my current offering meet the needs of most, if not all, of my employees?

Learn more about diversity in mental health benefits. 


7. There’s such a thing as too much recognition.  

Mental Performance Coach and bestselling author, Jean François Ménard points out the potential downside of excessive praise: it may lose its significance. To prevent this, it's important to be specific in your recognition, rather than using generic statements like “Good job” or “I'm proud of you”.

By pinpointing the specific behaviour that deserves recognition, you can provide constructive feedback without diminishing its impact. What's more, understanding your team will help you gauge how much and when to give recognition, as different individuals have varying preferences for positive feedback. So, go ahead and offer precise and purposeful praise to empower your team with confidence.


Watch Jean François answer some of your burning questions.


Stay up-to-date on employee well-being trends.

Ready for Sparking Dialogues 2024? You don't need to wait for next year’s event to stay updated on the latest industry insights. At Dialogue, it’s our job to address your most pressing employee well-being questions, and our commitment extends to keeping you informed through our monthly industry newsletter.

By subscribing to this email touchpoint, you stay ahead of the curve on HR news and trends, arming yourself with valuable insights to better support your workforce. So, don’t get left behind. Register today to get the newsletter. Your employees will thank you.


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P.S. You’ll also be among the first to know when we have exclusive events or when we open registration for next year’s edition of Sparking Dialogues. 

Topics: For Organizations

About the author

Midhat Zaman is a content strategist, marketer, and avid writer at Dialogue. She is deeply committed to helping HR leaders and employees effectively navigate workplace challenges. Midhat puts her love for great content to work with health and wellness in mind. Through insightful articles, comprehensive guides, and more, she aims to empower Canadians with the right support to improve their well-being.