December can be a frenetic time of meeting year-end deadlines, preparing for winter holidays, and planning for the next year. So this month’s briefings seek to integrate balance with busy-ness by highlighting news, events, and resources that “give back” in some way. Read on about health-related movie therapy, February Think Tank plans, the gift of a deadline extension, a multitasking success story, and some valuable new resources related to evaluation and measurement.

Movie Therapy


One of my favorite ways to relax at the end of a busy work week is by watching a film that inspires me, and documentaries often fit the bill because I enjoy learning packaged as entertainment. Tom Rath’s closing keynote presentation at HERO Forum15 included numerous video clips from a movie based on his latest book, “Fully Charged”. This month the film will become available in many national media outlets including Amazon, iTunes, and Google Play. This film is about how lives can be transformed through healthier lifestyle choices, interactions that strengthen relationships, and the pursuit of meaning over happiness. For more information and to see the movie trailer, check out the film’s website.




Boost Your Mental and Social Well-being at February Think Tank (members only)

San diego

I once heard that about a third of our enjoyment of a given event may be in the anticipation. And so it is with the February Think Tank event. We will gather in sunny and balmy San Diego for rich and interactive discussions on “The Future of Work” and given our tentative line-up of presenters, this is an event you are not going to want to miss! Hold the date for February 23 – 24, 2015 and keep your eyes on email for a preliminary agenda to be shared in January.

EEOC’s Gift: Deadline Extension

Deadlines can be a terrific motivator for those of us who find ourselves most productive under a bit of pressure. But during very busy periods, it’s often nice to have a bit of a break. Paul’s November briefing mentioned HERO’s work to develop consensus guidelines on EEOC’s proposed rules related to ADA and GINA. Members of the consensus development workgroup have generously contributed their time and subject matter expertise in preparation for a day of briefings with federal policy makers on Capitol Hill during the GINA proposed rule open comment period, which was slated to close on December 29, 2015. Recently EEOC announced an extension of the open comment period, allowing comments to be submitted until January 28, 2016. Look for an update on the consensus paper in future HERO briefings

Effective Multitasking Strategy Boosts Mental and Physical Well-being

Fun run

When it gets busy, I tend to look for opportunities to multi-task. While research shows multitasking can sometimes negatively impact our effectiveness, my colleague Paul Terry introduced me to a winning strategy: catching up on my research reading while at the gym. We know that one of the many benefits of physical activity is increased cognitive function and I’m finding that doing activity while I’m reading results in increased mental focus, application of my reading to my work, and retention of content. If this strategy is not your cup of tea, another way to keep up with the latest research is by reading the quarterly research study commentaries authored by members of the HERO Research Study Subcommittee. The latest commentary, authored by Dr. Colleen Saringer, summarizes research on the influence of a workplace policy that encourages physical activity during the workday.

Newsletter Highlights Successful Programs and New Resources

HWHCThis month marks the launch of the Healthy Workplaces, Health Communities newsletter, HWHC Healthy Voices. If this is sitting in your email “inbox” unread, I urge you to take a few moments to skim the content. Perhaps while you are in line at the post office or waiting to get your kids’ photo with Santa? The mobile-friendly format makes it easy to quickly skim for resources that will make your work easier. I especially appreciated learning about the newest measurement and evaluation resources added to the website. Within moments I had identified several new resources that will make some of my work in 2016 much easier!

Value of Wellness

Since my early days in the wellness industry I’ve been an avid reader of the expert interviews published by WELCOA and so was deeply honored when invited to do an interview on the value of wellness programs. The interview captures my current thinking on the value of return-on-investment (ROI) as an outcome measure and how ROI fits into a value of investment (VOI) framework (yes, they are complementary and essential). As I say at the end of the interview, VOI is an emerging concept for our field and I expect my thinking will evolve based on what we learn from the beta test of the HERO-PHA Measurement and Evaluation Guide in the year ahead.

On a Personal Note

Siyan and Jessica-2015One of the things I love about being a HERO staffer is the opportunity to collaborate with the world’s leading experts on measurement, research, and program evaluation. We’ll go to any lengths to advance our understanding, even reaching out to researchers on the small island of Tasmania! This month I had the pleasure of reconnecting with Siyan Baxter, whose research has been featured at past HERO Think Tank meetings. During her 5-day visit we interspersed rich discussions about the future of measurement in the industry with shared workouts, terrific farm-to-table eating, and strolls to enjoy holiday decorations in the Silicon Valley area. Our conversations not only inspired my thinking about how we can effectively navigate the ongoing discussions about the value of wellness in the year ahead but also served as an end-of-year boost for my mental and social well-being.


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