Posted by Michelle Normandeau on November 5, 2020
Michelle Normandeau

The first annual edition of Humanizing Healthcare: The Employee Wellness Conference, hosted by Dialogue, took place September 29th and 30th in English and French with the aim of elevating organizational wellness. With nearly 500 HR specialists, business developers, and organization representatives from all over Canada gathered virtually in attendance, the conference was broadcast remotely from Dialogue’s Montreal office as well as from locations across the country. 

Humanizing Healthcare successfully set the stage for thought-provoking presentations that shed light upon industry insights and strategies for employee happiness and well-being, including presentations from Founder and CEO of Lightspeed, Dax Dasilva; mental health innovator and ex-Canadian military Lieutenant-Colonel, Stephane Grenier; and Public Health Specialist and philanthropist Dr. Samantha Nutt. Topics ranged from diversity in the workplace to strategies for coping with stress and anxiety that encouraged participants to elevate their own organizational and employee wellness.

In case you missed the event or want a recap, here are some of the main highlights from the event!

Exploring the importance of diversity and inclusion in the workplace

To kick off the event, Milagro Communication & PR Strategist Martine St-Victor led an interview with Lightspeed Founder and CEO, Dax Dasilva, on diversity and inclusion in the workplace. With 25% of Lightspeed employees identifying as an ethnic minority and over 16% identifying as members of the LGBTQ+ community, Dasilva shared his own outlook as a leader of a company that holds the value of diversity at the heart of its DNA. “Diversity adds strength to your company; it adds new perspectives that allow your team to offer richer solutions and to make decisions that benefit from having different perspectives. It’s a real way for your company to become stronger and differentiate itself, especially as it becomes more global in nature and grants you the ability to leverage talent from all corners of your organization.”

2020 has been a considerable year in the fight for social justice – including the Black Lives Matter movement – with many companies voicing their stances on issues of racial discrimination. When asked about how Lightspeed responded in issuing a public statement in support of BLM, Dasilva says it’s important to take a look at your own company, figure out how you can improve as an organization, and to stand up for what’s right. “Sometimes, taking a stance on things can be risky because people can always over-analyze what you say. But if you don’t take a risk on being a leader for diversity, then who will?” 

Strategies for improving mental health

Former Canadian military Lieutenant-Colonel and author, Stéphane Grenier, led an engaging presentation focused on elevating your own mental health as well as showing support for those around you, both in and outside of the office.

Engage in micro-moments

“We need to take small moments throughout the day to understand people and get to know their stories. Human interaction is the missing link. Even the simplest act of asking, ‘How are you?’ can make a big difference,” Grenier stated. 

Where does your mental health sit on a scale from 0-10?

“As we ebb and flow through life, we can find ourselves at any point along this spectrum. A time in your life where you’re at a 0 means that your life is perfect and stress-free; a 10 indicates that you’re in a state of severe mental and emotional distress. When people are between zones 7-10, they tend to rarely engage in conversation and don’t share their concerns anymore.” According to Grenier, only 35% of employees seek treatment for mental health issues while the remaining 65% avoid it, emphasizing the importance of de-stigmatizing mental health in the workplace and checking in on those around us.

Shift your perception to see mental health from a non-clinical perspective

Grenier believes in shifting the paradigm around mental health and that while there may not be a direct cure for mental illnesses, with the right resources and support there is the ability to recover. Listen to what your body and mind are telling you and take the first steps towards finding the right help.

Learn more about Stéphane Grenier’s mental health philosophy here.

Healthcare market research findings

A study conducted by Environics Research surveyed 1514 Canadians spanning age, gender, and region to understand the gaps in healthcare and the Canadian attitude towards telemedicine. Here are some of the most interesting results:

  • One third of Canadians surveyed believe it would take to 6 days or longer see a healthcare professional for a minor health concern
  • 30% of Canadians surveyed miss 3 hours or more of work, school or other important events each time they go for an appointment with a healthcare professional
  • Canadians have appointments with healthcare professionals for health-related reasons 4 times a year, on average
  • 46% of Canadians feel that COVID-19 has made it more difficult to access healthcare
  • 81% want the ability to easily access a healthcare professional 24 hours, 7 days a week, 365 days a year

Stay tuned for the full report, we’ll be releasing it soon.

Tips for creating the ultimate ergonomically-approved work setup

Comfort is key, as they say – and it also happens to play a critical role in our overall health. Véronique Goyette, a certified ergonomist and project manager at Entrac, dove into essential strategies to implement into your organization to create an ergonomically-approved work environment. Whether your employees are in-office or at home, it’s important to have preventative adjustment measures in place to avoid injury (ergonomic checklists, self-adjustment guides, etc.) as well as training for your employees to be able take autonomous action and adjust their workplaces. Goyette provided practical, hands-on solutions to help make your workplace ergonomically-sound.

Exploring the future of virtual care with Dialogue

Have you been wondering where the future of virtual care is headed? Dialogue’s Director of Product, Hubert Gagnon-Lamonde and Senior Manager, EAP & Continuous Improvement, Andrea Salas dove into the role that Dialogue can play in improving the mental and physical health of your employees and their families. From the launch of our Mental Health program in 2019 to the introduction of our Employee Assistance Program at the beginning of October 2020, attendees were taken through the journey of how Dialogue’s integrated health platform can help elevate employee wellness of organizations across Canada now and in the future.

Unveiling Dialogue’s new Employee Assistance Program (EAP)

Director of Health Innovation at Dialogue, David Schacter, and Strategic Advisor, Amanda Gaiotti, took to the stage to give an in-depth presentation on Dialogue’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP), which was launched at the beginning of October. They highlighted what members can expect from the new EAP, including having quick virtual access to practitioners in the domains of mental health, financial services, legal, career counselling, and crisis management (among others), and how this wide range of services will benefit members. This marks a significant new milestone for Dialogue and all of our clients as we continue to make the strides towards achieving our mission of improving humanity’s well-being by using technology to deliver excellent care. Learn more about the new EAP here

Client case study: An HR fireside chat with Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton

Our VP, Talent & Culture, Sylvain Beauséjour led a client case study interview with Marc-André Séguin, Senior Director - HR Business Transformation at leading accounting firm Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton about how this top employer has handled organizational wellness during the unprecedented circumstances brought about uniquely in 2020. Tackling challenges such as adhering to evolving government regulations while overseeing the well-being of over 2600 employees, Seguin shared some of the solutions that Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton put in place over the last year. Top priorities included implementing an Operational Crisis Unit, which led to the development of clear guidelines and policies including a work from home policy, ergonomics training sessions, a company Q&A webpage dedicated to COVID-19 concerns, and much more. 

Leadership strategies during uncertain times

Dr. Samantha Nutt, physician, philanthropist and Founder of War Child Canada, finished up the half-day conference with a compelling presentation around leadership during times of crisis. Having spent over 16 years working alongside the United Nations in war zones providing assistance to war-torn women and children, Dr. Nutt’s leadership strategies have been formed based on various challenging, and sometimes devastating, experiences throughout her career. 

While leading a team in-office is not quite the same as leading a team through a war zone, her leadership approach can still be applied to those of us leading during uncertain times. This year hasn’t been average by anyone’s standards, and leadership has had to adapt in the face of turbulent change. Dr. Nutt touched on different leadership takeaways which she encouraged organizational leaders to consider, including: reflect more, react less; the best leaders listen; for leaders to inspire, they must be inspired; and to be flexible in your management.

Overall, the Humanizing Healthcare conference was a huge success, and we hope that all those in virtual attendance found value in the presentations. Thank you to everyone who attended and who helped make this event possible – we can’t wait to see you all again next year!


Topics: Health and Wellness, For Organizations

About the author

Michelle is the content writer for Dialogue. She's also a freelance writer for multiple publications including Narcity Media and Time Out Montreal.