5 Comments

  1. Timely article Bravetta. Mindfulness is showing up in all the media – and with good reason. The research is bountiful and compelling about the health and wellness benefits which as we know correlate to performance and productivity improvements – not to mention creativity and collaboration. And Burton’s cautions are spot on as well. As a recovering HR exec, MBA/MAHRD and Talent Officer at Aetna, Pfizer and others, I know the temptations of the bandwagon. As a practicing instructor of yoga, martial arts, meditation and as an executive coach, I know how difficult it is to know when to jump on or off the train of thought. If a CLO or similar is considering a “mindfulness” strategy, I offer these steps:
    1. Take Burton’s advice to keep training nonspiritual, nonreligious and delivered by experts. That said, educate yourself and employees about the nonreligious nature of most practices, including meditation, pranayama and yoga. Too many people think because they are different, they are religious. Individuals can incorporate their beliefs into a well-positioned program without it being perceived as religious.
    2. Allow opt-out of meditation training with mindful alternatives. Programs about in-office fitness, mindful eating and even simple breathing.
    3. To get the most from the expertise, include in your mindfulness approach a focus on intact teams – especially senior leadership teams. More work is done collaboratively and you get greater benefits from training groups who work together in practices you seek in the workplace.
    4. Align your benefits offerings with your intention – include reimbursement for alternative practices like yoga, massage and similar proven services outside of work.
    5. Don’t get bent about the immediate ROI – you know better than that anyway. Studies on workplace productivity and wellness take years and frankly don’t matter if you know the employees are engaged and practicing what they learn.

    • Thank you very much for your considerate response, as I learned so much, gained inspiration, and some new ideas! Hope you don’t mind if I ask you a few…
      I find the setting within corporate is so important as participants that have challenges turning work off and ‘tuning in’ while in the same conference room they were just in, making stressful decisions, combined with the normal social influences. If the company you’re working with doesn’t have a fitness area with some quiet space, what have you done when offering Mindfulness sessions?
      I would like to ask more but if you wouldn’t mind one more…
      There are so many schools out there offering certification in their Mindfulness-Based Program. I would like to hear what you might offer as guidance when considering becoming a Mindfulness Coach/Trainer. Popular certifications run $10,000 – $15,000, 2 years of study, practicum, etc. How do most corporate decision makers in HR handle certification when choosing their Wellness vendors? Still waiting for Richie Davidson to offer a program!

      • Hi!
        I have read that some companies have “quiet”rooms which can be very helpful. That said, in our view, the goal is to increase the potential for mindfulness by building the individual skills and the environment where those individuals work. SImple practices of breath and stillness, particularly those that can be practiced in blocks of a few minutes (and are actually practiced) that are taught and encouraged at the workstation or commute are shown to improve self reported stress.

        To your second question, I may not have the mindful perspective… I do believe that teaching mindfulness requires a deep understanding that returns from an investment of time and daily practice. I am concerned, however, about the rapidly growing and competitive nature of “certification”programs and the barrier to entry they pose to those without that kind of money. My own mindfulness practices developed over several years training and teaching martial arts and yoga and a daily meditation practice. I’m not certified in mindfulness, which may or may not have impacted my credibility.

        As an ex HR exec now in this space, I will say companies are initially interested in the potential benefits but then ask, as businesses must, how the benefits can be gained with minimal expense and disruption. Being expert in an aspect of wellness, including mindfulness, is important; being experienced if not expert in initiative-driven change management, however, is critical.

        • That was very kind of you to respond quickly and with so much great help. Thanks so much Chris!

  2. Timely article Bravetta. Mindfulness is showing up in all the media – and with good reason. The research is bountiful and compelling about the health and wellness benefits which as we know correlate to performance and productivity improvements – not to mention creativity and collaboration. And Burton’s cautions are spot on as well. As a recovering HR exec, MBA/MAHRD and Talent Officer at Aetna, Pfizer and others, I know the temptations of the bandwagon. As a practicing instructor of yoga, martial arts, meditation and as an executive coach, I know how difficult it is to know when to jump on or off the train of thought. If a CLO or similar is considering a “mindfulness” strategy, I offer these steps:
    1. Take Burton’s advice to keep training nonspiritual, nonreligious and delivered by experts. That said, educate yourself and employees about the nonreligious nature of most practices, including meditation, pranayama and yoga. Too many people think because they are different, they are religious. Individuals can incorporate their beliefs into a well-positioned program without it being perceived as religious.
    2. Allow opt-out of meditation training with mindful alternatives. Programs about in-office fitness, mindful eating and even simple breathing.
    3. To get the most from the expertise, include in your mindfulness approach a focus on intact teams – especially senior leadership teams. More work is done collaboratively and you get greater benefits from training groups who work together in practices you seek in the workplace.
    4. Align your benefits offerings with your intention – include reimbursement for alternative practices like yoga, massage and similar proven services outside of work.
    5. Don’t get bent about the immediate ROI – you know better than that anyway. Studies on workplace productivity and wellness take years and frankly don’t matter if you know the employees are engaged and practicing what they learn.


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