Written by Bobbi Kloss, Director of Human Capital Management Services, Benefit Advisors Network. Published in the August/September issues of Los Angeles Advertising Human Resources Professionals and Entertainment Human Resources Network.

Mindfulness, employee engagement, employer of choice and holistic wellness are all relatively new adjectives being used to describe a 21st Century workplace culture. An employer can have a considerable amount of control when implementing marketplace solutions for creating these positive environments conducive to attracting and retaining employees (i.e. robust compensation package, an onboarding process, and communication tools). What though can an employer do to support a positive workplace culture when its own workplace behaviors are creating “high impact life events” for employees?

High impact life events differ from everyday life events that we as a general population rarely give a second thought to. We get up, we go to work. If the car has a flat tire, we stop and put air in the tire; we run out of milk, we make an extra grocery store stop. We move through our daily routines almost mechanically.

High impact life events are another story. When a high impact life event occurs, whether they be a joyous occasion or a somber event, they not only disrupt our daily routine, but an event can stop us dead in our tracks and affect us physically, financially and in many instances, emotionally. Many of these high impact life events take place outside of the workplace yet can bring disruption into the workplace when we as an employee attempt to navigate through the circumstances i.e. loss of a loved one, an unexpected illness, even those happy occasions such as marriage or the birth or adoption of a child. Any of these situations can cause stress, “a response of our body to any demand for change” to occur.

The workplace can even be the instigator of high impact life events, for example, events such as a loss of a job, failure to get a promotion, discrimination in the workplace, workplace bullying, unsafe
working conditions, unclear and inconsistent supervisor communication and directives, having too many responsibilities but little authority or control to… [Read the entire article]