Burnout is so commonplace in private equity and wealth management that it’s almost a cliche: high pressure, high stress, and long hours are parred for the course. Many finance executives turn to coaching to avoid burnout or recover from it. Unfortunately, coaching services for mental well-being and career success haven’t historically been very accessible to employees below the executive level.
It was a couple of burned-out finance executives who realized that their employees could benefit greatly from the kind of coaching services that helped them through their most stressful moments. They founded Boon Health in the spring of 2020, just as employees everywhere were challenged with working remotely for the first time. The virtual coaching platform delivers employee support in a new way, with incredible results: Boon is growing so quickly because they’re delivering what employees want.
We spoke with Boon’s Director of Partnership, Alex Newman, about what employees want and how company leaders and HR teams can use this information to create innovative solutions.
What Employees Want
The Great Resignation, or “The War on Talent,” has drastically changed the landscape of today’s job market. It’s no longer about being a name brand but showing that you’re listening to the employees you have and supporting their specific needs.
Boon launched in response to a few of the biggest needs dissatisfied employees have expressed over the past few years:
Mental Wellbeing Support
Mental health care has come into such high demand that employees looking to take advantage of historically prevalent resources like employee assistance programs are being told they have to wait three to six weeks to meet with a professional. Therapists and psychiatrists across the country have long waitlists, too. And in addition to the growing need for clinical mental health services, an entirely new category has emerged: mental well-being support.
Instead of taking a diagnostic approach and working to reduce symptoms as psychiatric professionals do, mental well-being coaches take a solution-focused approach. The process begins with identifying a challenge or goal ahead of an employee. The coach and their client chart a path forward to reach that goal or overcome that challenge, and then the coach creates accountability to follow that action plan. Alex believes that coaching has become a more accessible and approachable way for people to start talking to someone about day-to-day goals and challenges they face.
There’s some room for overlap in both areas, but to be clear, Boon doesn’t provide clinical services. However, they have a Chief Clinical Officer who is notified when those services are needed. And clients aren’t just handed off to another professional: they keep working with their Boon coach to keep their support system intact as they get the help they need.
McKinsey found that the number one reason employees left their jobs during the Great Resignation was a lack of professional development resources and career advancement opportunities. In the past, executive coaching has been exclusive to only a few people at the top of the biggest companies. Employees of SMBs and mid-market companies have been underserved and have shown a hunger for accessible, democratized coaching services.
Candidates want to know: how can I expect to be supported, and what does working for your business look and feel like? It’s important to build trust during the onboarding process, especially with remote workers, and sharing information about free coaching services is an effective way to do that. For new employees, knowing that you have dedicated one-on-one time with a coach who can support you personally and professionally is a huge plus.
Radically Reimagining Employee Support Programs
Something we can all learn from employee benefits innovators is how to set aside old, rigid ways of looking at things and look at what’s possible now.
Here’s what they’re doing differently at Boon:
Blended Services for Blended Lives
So many companies are still operating in remote and hybrid work environments: the lines of what’s personal and what’s professional are more blurred than ever (except maybe during the height of the pandemic). Creating resources that cross over into mental wellness and professional development makes sense. You could even say that mental wellness and professional development are no longer separate categories, and progressive employers offer solutions that fill both needs.
Boon’s network of over 150 coaches covers a range of personal development-focused well-being to executive coaching services. Many of Boon’s ICF-accredited coaches are also master’s level therapists and social workers that have transitioned into coaching. Employees take a survey to match them with two coaches, and they can select their coach. They even have a few international coaches to support clients with global employee populations.
Fast, Personalized Access to Services
Speaking of that welcome survey, it only takes about three to five minutes and collects basic information about the employees and their needs. Once employees take that survey and receive their personalized coach matches, they typically schedule their first coaching session within one to three days. Fast access to support paired with enthusiastic participation is a powerful formula for satisfied, engaged employees.
Alex has worked with a Boon coach, and he thinks one of the most important drivers of long-term coaching success is the trust and that comfort level that someone has with their coach. If an employee isn’t excited about their coach options, asking for a few more options is easy.
Viral Positivity and Participation
Employees love coaching so much that it has a virality once a company makes Boon available to their team. People will show up to a team meeting and openly discuss a topic they’re working through with their coach and the things they’ve learned. One of Boon’s clients mentioned that they had an employee lead a company-wide training on a topic they covered individually with their Boon coach.
Boon has also created a close-knit community on the coaching side: a different rotating coach will hold “deep dives” every month on a specific topic. It’s a continuing education opportunity, and because of that, they’re seeing strong brand recognition and word of mouth within the coaching community.
It turns out that offering benefits that genuinely help employees with problems at work is a great way to get them talking! Looking for more ways to boost participation in your benefits programs? Look at our resources on engaging employee benefits communications and eye-catching employee handbooks.
Gauge Feedback Instantly
Employees take feedback surveys after every other coaching session to measure client satisfaction. This is a great practice to maintain for any employee benefits service. There’s never a question about whether it’s helping—or whether employees are using the service.
Boon clients meet with a monthly representative to look at their reports. It starts with basics like high-level utilization statistics so that they understand when and how often employees are engaging with the platform. But Alex points out that Boon goes the extra mile to build a strong relationship with each client and have deep conversations about the insights they gather through usage information and feedback surveys.
Hear More About What Candidates Want
Our chat with Alex gave us a refreshing look at how the Great Resignation may have sparked much-needed innovations and will continue to change employee benefits and workplace policies in the years to come. We’re so excited to see them grow, and we can’t wait to see how other benefits providers continue this wave of innovation!
Want more details? Watch the recording of the entire Mulberry Conversation with Alex Newman.