On-Demand Webinar: Beating Burnout: HR Ideas for 2022 & Beyond

stressed out mother working at home office
Research says employees are so overwhelmed right now, they’re burning out in record numbers and are quitting in droves. Watch Beating Burnout: HR Ideas for 2022 & Beyond to hear from HR leaders at Goldman Sachs and New York-Presbyterian. They talk about what they’re seeing in their workforces; how they’ve responded; and which specific strategies are having a measurable impact on their people.


Maribeth: Hello, everybody. Thank you so much for joining in this afternoon, or this morning if you're on the west coast. We are thrilled to be here. And I'm especially excited to be here today with Shaun and Laura, who I will introduce in a moment.

I'm Maribeth Bearfield from Bright Horizons. I'm honored to be the head of HR. Bright Horizons is a really cool company. I've been there for five years, and we are a leader in global education and care. And honestly, during the past 18 months, the services that we provide have really come to a whole new light as we think about how we support our employees and, as employers, the responsibility we take in doing that.

Our services are here on the right hand of this slide, you can read those and see those for yourself. I'll just point one out. Our enhanced family supports really came to light during COVID, where we started to lean in and really do things like school-aged support, and tutoring, and care. So, again, we'll talk more about that as we go through the next hour.

But I would love right now to have both Laura and then Shaun introduce themselves, tell you a little bit about their role and also about the companies that they are supporting today. So, Laura.


Laura: Thanks, Maribeth. And thanks for having me here today, I'm really excited to talk to you guys all about this topic of burnout and HR ideas around it. I am Laura Young, I oversee the benefits and wellness programs at Goldman Sachs on a global basis.

My career has been a little bit interesting. I actually started out my degree and my schooling in athletic training and then cardiac rehab. And then I decided that I really wanted to get into the corporate wellness space, and started my career at Prudential. And then around 20 years ago, moved over to Goldman Sachs, where I did some of their fitness initiatives. And then took on more responsibilities on the wellness side, started dabbling into the benefits side. And now currently have oversight for our benefits and wellness and retirement programs on a global basis.

Part of that that we talk about is the mental health and the resilience of our people. It's a priority for us. We know that we are a very competitive environment, we're a high-pressure environment, we're a performance environment. For those of you who don't know, we're a global organization, we have around little under 40,000 employees on a global basis.

The average age of our employee population is around 35. So we do have a much younger demographic. We are primarily an investment banking organization. But we provide consultation to companies and to different countries and governments on investment strategies, business strategies, mergers and acquisitions, trading, retirement savings.

And have started sort of a new product through our Marcus platform. Previously, we were more focused on high-net-worth individuals, we're now reaching out into more of the mainstream, mainly America a little bit into the UK. So we're a little bit of an evolving business. And we need to be at the forefront of design, and problem-solving, and creativity, and market-leading.

And in order for our people to do that, they need to be performing at their best on a regular basis. And that's where beating burnout and driving resilience comes into play. And that's something we've been focusing on for a number of different years actually. I think we're going on around 10 since we really started talking about burnout and resilience. So that's us in a nutshell.


Maribeth: Thank you, Laura and Shaun.


Shaun: Good afternoon, everyone. And a pleasure to meet you, too, Laura. This is the first time I'm on a panel with Laura and looking forward to learning a lot. I'll just step back and say New York-Presbyterian is an organization in New York. It's a hospital system that has 11 hospitals, 4 medical groups, and an extraordinary affiliation with academic partners, both with Cornell, Weill Cornell Medicine, and ColumbiaDoctors.

So you can think about that, even with our own medical business, we certainly spend a tremendous amount of time trying to support individuals across the entire healthcare space. And to try to do that in a way that our teams can at least be resilient. There's no doubt you all are aware of the fact that New York was really the epicenter of the COVID pandemic. And when we think back to that, that means our teams have been working really hard since March, the beginning of March of 2020.

It's 21 months later, and I would say to you it doesn't feel any different than it did in the first wave. But it's important for us, as a healthcare institution, a bedrock in New York, and the commitments that we've made to be sure that we are caring for New York communities in an extraordinary way. That really gets a little bit to my background and why healthcare.

Not formally from healthcare, I joined healthcare a little bit over 25 years ago. I hate to say that out loud, wow. But even before that, was with MCI and Canon USA. And as I think about why healthcare for me, despite being an attorney, my first passion is really about people, motivating our teams, and ensuring that our teams can do their best to care for our patients. That's what inspires me, it's why I'm the CHRO here. And well, I'll be forever committed to what we need to do to get beyond this COVID wave.


Maribeth: Thank you, Shaun and thank you, Laura. I think it's really fascinating that coming from two very different industries, healthcare, and financial services, but yet I think one of the things that I've realized over the past 18 months if not before is how similar within every industry the problems we encounter are. And so, very similar to what we encounter at Bright Horizons.

And so I'd like to start the discussion, as we think about the impact of burnout, we've got stressed employees, we're seeing lower productivity, increased absences, and higher turnover. And I keep saying we have an employee base that are overworked and, I think, under-appreciated. It's been a tough 18 months, and people have given it their all. And so I think it's time that we, as HR professionals or just as leaders in organizations, need to lean in and really be able to support our employees and help with this stress level and this burnout.

Shaun, we've had a heroic workforce who has worked under especially higher stress levels than before finding this pandemic. And you've put a lot of great support in place for your employees during this crisis. Looking forward, so your crystal ball, can you tell us what you've learned, and which of these changes you think will be permanent as you look forward?


Shaun: Sure, absolutely. I think certainly for us when we reflected on the pandemic, and it was a true reflection, it happened quickly. First patient on March 2nd, and within two weeks, we knew we were in crisis. Was really to step back and think about the whole being, that the needs of our employees are well beyond what equipment you needed to do in terms of work.

And through just open access, open forums, ensuring that we are having conversations with the teams, we heard a stream of things that really culminated around what I regard as the basic needs. And in fact, I'd say our future is between that same basic core and, of course, building on that over time.

So we offered a myriad of childcare, I think that was probably the most significant thing that we did. There was the notion of us offering what we called crisis care, which is really paid for self-sourced care, where we provided, and thanks to Bright Horizons' partnership, funds for people to bring caregivers into their homes.

We knew that people didn't want strangers actually caring for their kids. We knew that our on-site centers, while they existed and while Bright Horizons kept that open through a pretty big part of the pandemic, people really wanted the safety of their homes. And we had to think through that quite a bit even so as we expanded more and more childcare. I would say if there's one thing that I could do now, is to continue to expand that.

Summer camps, summer employment opportunities we offered because children had nowhere to go. And we knew that families needed to come to work, we were hearing that, and we needed to make sure that we were supporting our employees in a much broader way.

Without saying, we are all under a lot of stress. And this pandemic is the most unique I've seen in my entire career. Everyone, everyone is affected. Even all of you today. And so as we thought about just physical and mental health, think about the beginning of the pandemic, people didn't know what COVID was. And so it was important for us to answer those questions, to have people really not really reside in a place of anxiety, as part of that caring.

And we also knew because we were experiencing firsthand people who had COVID, which would really mean that that person, hopefully, has bed time, maybe not. But we want to make sure that that wasn't something that people had to think about. So we provided a special COVID support care bank not only for our employees, but if their children were ill, they could use that time as well to care for them and not really be worried or concerned about what was happening to their financial health.

We introduced a psychiatric assessment, which I actually think the world of. I think when we think about where we are in that spectrum, this is a certain piece to continue, really having people have a check-in tool.

And when I say spectrum, when we talk about well-being, many people don't really know what that is, not into meditation may, or may not like yoga. But when you actually put someone on the spectrum, it brings a lot of attention. I'm okay, to the very extreme end, I really need more interventions. And we really worked hard around that to provide the resources.

And I'd say even recently as we conducted focus groups across New York-Presbyterian, we did that to really understand what do people really want? How do they want to be cared for? And surprise, surprise for me because I was really focused on the well-being resources, our well-being coaches really getting out and we are doing that, that's really important, but the layers of it also included managing the stress of working within our environment, right, your staffing level.

Respect was one of those things. So as we talk with our teams, we've certainly know, and I hope everybody had been reading the articles, of the real change in people's affect in relationships that have occurred through the pandemic. And so we're very focused on all of that, renewing our culture of belonging, focused on respect. Certainly thinking and overlaying with all the conversations last year on race made it a very stressful year, and ensuring that we're actually thinking through each of those dimensions.

So what's not here or the work we're doing around diversity, inclusion, belonging. The opening, if you will, and the focus around having people feel connected again to purpose and to who we are, which will be an exercise for people to express themselves, throughout all of next year. Actively talk about this experience that we're all having. And actively talk about how it feels, what we should be doing, and how we can reconnect again with that same level of purpose.

Of course, we developed some things that were pretty unique around hardship funds and realized that many of our employees were affected by household incomes being wiped out. People who were just, unfortunately, not working in the pandemic. And so this fund is one that we're actually going to be keeping. We actually just relaunched as the NYP Cares For Employee Funds.

And I want to thank our donors who've actually been quite generous so that we can continue to support our teams that have not fully recovered. And while we provided meals on-site to ensure that people didn't have to go outside, the big hit this year, and we'll continue that, were food trucks, go figure. We brought in food trucks this summer, and said, "Let's get outside, let's have some fun together. Let's try to experience what it's like not being in the hospital."

And through that, we, of course, are doing creative things, particularly at night, to ensure that our teams are feeling excited about it. My best sort of tweet was a tweet three months ago that said, "Does your company do this?" with a picture of the food trucks. Simple things that really matter, ensuring that teams' lives can be easier.

And I'd say, Maribeth, there's a whole host of things that are going to be important for us to talk about a little bit later as we talk about women. From eldercare, which we already have, to expanding that, and really thinking about ways of supporting people at home so that they can be here at work. And hopefully, that we can leverage all of these things to actually also recruit more people. Thank you.


Maribeth: Yeah, absolutely, Shaun. And I love how you just said simple things that matter. You really focused on things like food trucks, it's pretty simple, but it matters to people. And I think the other thing that really struck me as you were sharing about New York-Pres is how much the employer, you, New York-Pres, has really leaned in to become part of your employees' life in so many different dimensions. Whether that's providing three free on-site meals daily, but doing everything you can to really support every employee in any way you can.

And, again, that could be the t-shirt, "Simple things that matter." I really...and I'm a big believer in simple things. But thank you. And so, Laura, you shared during your introduction that resilience has been a focus at Goldman for years. We'd love to hear, kind of similar to Shaun, what has been in place? What did you implement during COVID? And what do you see staying and going forward?


Laura: Yeah, that's a lot to cover, but I'll do my best. I'll start with, how long has it been and how did we get started in this space? And I have to say, Shaun, lots of parallels, even down to the food trucks. So I think there's a lot we can learn from each other and it is [inaudible 00:19:22]. There are a lot of synergies across organizations on what they're doing to support and across industries.

We have been working on this for a while, really picked up following the economic downturn 2008/2009, and we identified then that we needed to do more to support our employees' well-being. We sort of went from this position of really being positioned very strongly and positively in society and views of others, it was a badge of honor to work at Goldman Sachs. And unfortunately, during that economic downturn, financial services were not looked upon very favorably.

And it was a major change for our people, in addition to life disruption and, to the point that we talked about a little bit before, spouses losing their jobs, etc. How could we really continue to support our employees for something that wasn't just about stress management? We really needed to give them tools and resources. They didn't want to hear about stress management, they wanted to hear about what tools do I have that I'm already doing that I'm doing well and that I can build on?

And so we flipped the message from stress management to resilience. And that was very well received across our population, even globally. And in a lot of our regions now, we still call our mental health services our resilience services. And it's made it much more acceptable in certain cultures to access those services than when we reference them as employee assistance counseling or mental health counseling.

And we really created a continuum of care. There's obviously people who are, we said, doing really well, performing well, life is good. And then there's people who really need clinical intervention. And how do we make sure that there's something to keep people who are doing well well, and people who are not doing well, to support them?

So we implemented a continuum of services. One was around awareness and education. How can we make people aware of the services that are available to them? How could we make them aware of new ideas, new research, etc? As well as make them aware for themselves what skills they had and maybe where they had weaknesses.

So we brought in a series of speakers, every other year we have a resilience week. And we bring in 5, 6, 7, 10 speakers to do any sort of session to...it could be on mindfulness and meditation, it could be on research on brain health, it could be on Alzheimer's, it could be on coloring as a way for mindfulness. Lots of different...aromatherapy, things that people can experience or learn about.

And then we also have a tool that we implemented recently that allows people to go in and assess their own personal resilience and get feedback on their areas of strengths and weaknesses and how they can develop.

And we have individual training. That individual...I shouldn't say, individual. Team-based training, where people in small groups come together and have real, more focused...have the opportunity to work on particular skills.

And we've also rolled that into some of our management and leader curricula. So we give managers skills on how to create a resilient workforce. We give them tools on how to identify when someone's having...or training on how to identify if someone is having a mental health issue in the workplace. So it's really skill building at the individual and the leader level.

And then we have the clinical support services. Everyone in our wellness and benefits organization, down to our vendors who have one-to-one interaction, are skilled at identifying and trained in identifying if someone may have a mental health issue. Or a family member, if they start talking to them about a family member issue.

Our health centers do a PHQ-2 for every visit to understand whether there's maybe a mental health issue that's going on that could be driving any of their clinical symptoms. All of our physical therapists also do a PHQ-2 when someone's down seeing them. And they can then provide that clinical intervention through either our on-site EAP resources that we have. We have on-site psychiatrists in a number of our offices and on-site psychologists in a number of offices. So that's sort of our continuum.

During COVID, we really enhanced our manager training we had a strong focus on that. We provided them tips, and tools, and resources on burnout, how to have conversations with their employees. We sent out information to our employees on how to manage burnout. How to set boundaries was a big issue, particularly since everyone was working from home.

We provided additional days of care for...days off that employees could care for family members if they needed. It was 10 days of what we called COVID family leave. And if someone was sick, or they weren't in school, or they were being homeschooled and they needed help, people could access that.

We also set up what we called best efforts. And globally, we told managers employees are going to have strains and challenges right now. We need to accept that they're going to provide their best efforts. We want them to provide their best efforts, but it may not be 100%. And we're not going to ask them to go down from a 1.0 FTE to a 0.8 FTE during this time because they can't work all the time. We're just going with best efforts.

And all of those things were very well received. In addition to providing access, extended access to childcare, giving extra days available of backup childcare, coaching for employees. There was a lot of support that we wrapped around our people really on the family side that resonated very well with them and the days off, in particular. And the best efforts was very positively received.


Maribeth: That's wonderful, Laura. And two comments, one, I love the best efforts because sometimes we put so much expectations on others that we create stress, and we create situations that are just really difficult to be successful. And so to say to people, "Give it your best. I mean, just do your best." It's like I loved the CEO of General Motors about coming to work, she said, “Just work appropriately, like, do the right thing, people”. And I love, like, "Give it your best effort." Just those two words just relieve so much pressure.

I also think the manager training is so key. And I know that's one of the things that we are looking at. Because we really need our managers and our leaders to help be the identifiers, to help be the ones who embrace and get their arms around those who are struggling. And so giving them the tools and the resources to do that is so important. So thank you so much for that.

So, Shaun, one of the things that we also wanted to focus on, and I did see a couple of questions on this, frontline workers. We know Bright Horizons are teachers, who have not stopped working throughout the pandemic. And have been in the workplace, have not worked from home. They are suffering from burnout. How do you support...at New York-Pres, how do you support these employees? And how do you prevent turnover within that group?


Shaun: Thank you very much. Let me just step back for a moment and say, well, what is burnout, right? This chart is quite impressive, and the impact is certainly clear. But what causes burnout, right? Stress certainly causes burnout. Believe it or not, in a lot of the assessments, materials, getting the things, the tools you need to do your job, making your job harder, creates burnout. And having the complexities, of course, the pressures of pandemic, I'm sure, we're all talking now about how do we support people that are just going through high stress?

So I'll break it down in a few different ways. One, it's really important to listen to your employees, and having the ability to hear what their needs are is critical. And to find a way to customize those needs in a way that offers enough diversity of offerings that's going to suit everybody.

So I talked a little bit about the symptom tracker before. And, I must admit I've been reading some of these questions as they come in. One question was what are some of the simple ways that one can be sure that we're tackling some of these issues? And a symptom tracker, for us, was pretty easy to do. We designed it our own.

But guess what, I saw one in "The New York Times" the other day, it's still offered. And we can certainly use a lot of those tools so that people can have an awareness about where they are. Your average employee is not showing up to say, "Hey, I'm burned out." You might hear words like, "I'm tired," "I'm upset," "I'm irritable." I'm not necessarily classically burnt out because people don't often know what that means.

And our goal is to avoid burnout, to get to a point where we're offering so many resources, up to and including how we think about time off. We've insisted this year that everybody has a vacation. Doesn't matter how busy you are, that it was really important. With the senior team, we said, "You must." It was mandatory for you to go out as a first [inaudible 00:26:10].

And whenever I'm talking to teams around, "Well, what are the ideas?" surprise, we often end up with, "Hey, is your team feeling balanced about their work? Are they getting time away from the bedside?" And so we introduced opportunities for what we're referring to as recharge rooms. Places for people to step off stage to actually be able to be immersed in an actually relaxed and soothing environment, leveraging technology to do that.

But what's more important is the offstage part of that because through the pandemic, what we started to experience is it's really difficult to see a doctor break down, crying, right? So when you start thinking about why that is, it's the pressure, it's the work, it's the tenseness, it's the overwhelmingness. It's the inability for us to be able to get what we need to make our jobs easy. And it is how we treat each other.

And so I just wanted to set that sort of as a fundamental as we're talking about some of the things that I thought and think are still critical and really important. Center-based childcare, certainly an expansion of that over a period of time, and more backup childcare. When we think about women, particularly, not only have we put in parental leave but we want people not to worry. We're also saying you can be out for up to six months and your job will be protected, and we'll make sure that all the things around it are supporting you.

We ensure that we have lactation rooms, that when people come back...and peer mentoring groups that people could leverage to really talk about new experience and existing ones. And we spend a lot of time with our teams, asking how it's going.

I refer to a focus group earlier where I anticipated what I was going to hear is, "Give us more psych treatment," and that was not what we heard. We heard that the programs that existed, such as a program that we have with, a well-known researcher and physician, Dr. Sood, who actually is really helping us, formerly with the Mayo Clinic, create our resiliency program that helps people to really think about healthy lifestyles, immersions, pulling yourself out.

So every morning before I jump in, Maribeth, before I take your call, I'm looking at the video of my granddaughter, or I'm having a conversation with my granddaughter, it gets me really ready for work. But it isn't my email. And really helping people to think through those practices while we're also offering the psych support that people need.

So we changed our approach to what we provided in EAP services, people need more. And I'd say to everybody, examine that. Is your support really deep? Does it offer the right tentacles, or is it really someone really responding to a call and soothing someone at that point, right? Again, people are in different places across a spectrum, and it's really important that your EAP team can not only identify that but provide quick access to that psychiatrist if that's needed.

And so we created a program, we retooled it to make sure that the availability of mental health resources were not an issue. To ensure that people would not have that as a barrier. And that will be still a mainstay while we're looking at, through our employee experience survey, what are the things that you want us to start focusing on? And while we're focused, again, on belonging, which I've already mentioned.

But you mentioned a little bit about roles and careers. And that is one of the things that was surprising in our feedback, people want to realize their passion. And we're seeing this with great resignation, it's all connected. And it's connected to people finding themselves through this pandemic, or having a different wish for themselves. So we are very focused on that. And we're using resources, of course, EdAssist through Bright Horizon, there is an opportunity here to really think coaching very differently.

And the Bright Horizon program is really helping us not only with employees but with their family members. People caring now about families is really a big impact. And so by introducing an education resource from Bright Horizon that helps people with college prep to really think through that, it's actually come back to us with a lot of testimonials from our teams, of saying, "That one thing has allowed me to feel a little bit better when I go home." That I don't have time to do that because I'm always working, but these tools that you're providing is allowing us to do that.

So that's a long answer, Maribeth, to the question, but I really wanted to talk globally about some of these things as I see them in the chat, but also connecting some of the things we're here to talk about today.


Maribeth: Yeah, no, it's a great answer, Shaun, and very informative. And so, Laura, Goldman has taken a proactive approach, also, to returning to the workplace. And, what steps have you guys taken to facilitate a transition of coming back in and supporting your employees once they're in?


Laura: We've actually been focused on returning people back to the workforce since last summer, believe it or not. And what we've realized is, it's not linear. We're not like starting to come back and we're just going to keep building, building, building. We know we have to be flexible.

And we're going to see waves of people coming in and coming out depending on how this pandemic plays out over time. And, obviously, over the winter, when case rates increased and people were more concerned with their overall well-being, we saw people starting to work back home more frequently again. So we're trying to really provide people some amount of flexibility in when and where they're coming into the office.

Now, we still are encouraging more people to come back in. And I think we're going to continue to do that unless things get worse again, knock on wood, let's hope not. But some of the ways that we're doing that...I know, Shaun, you talked about free food, that's something that we're doing for our people so that it just makes it easier and more convenient for them. They don't need to leave the office if they're worried about going out and the exposures that may happen. Depending on the level or more junior people have access to transportation reimbursement if that's something that they do need.

We are right now a vaccinated-only workforce. So people coming in have to be fully vaccinated in order to come into our Goldman Sachs buildings, that includes our employees, our contingent workers, visitors, etc. So we do think that setting up a safe environment is really critical for people to feel comfortable coming in. And we do have a majority of our workforce that is fully vaccinated. And for those people who are unable to come in, their accommodation is that they can work remotely. And that's worked out very well, we've had positive feedback from that.

Additionally, we are requiring people that are coming into the office...again, they are fully vaccinated, but we are requiring that they do testing weekly. In our major offices, we do have that available for our people, they can go right on-site to have that testing done. But we also have access to in-home kits that people can take, and they need to report their results to us on a regular basis.


Maribeth: That's great.


Laura: We do have a dedicated COVID case management team. If someone does test positive, we've got a lot of contact tracing and information that goes out, and any of the close contacts are notified, they have a conversation. We follow up with them directly and make sure that they understand any of their concerns or risks. Luckily, those are few and far between. We still require people to wear masks in common areas.

Obviously, a lot of these rules differ by jurisdiction and by location depending on any state or local requirements that exist, or case rates in different areas, or government. If you look at London, they have a very different government plan and return-to-office plan than in the U.S. So flexibility is key.

Providing access to a lot of the medical resources, reminding people to get their preventative screenings has been very important. Providing them a reason to come into the office, creating opportunities for connection in a safe way. People have liked getting together and meeting with their teams again.

Obviously, Zoom has made that easier and broken down some of the barriers around distance. That's what we use for our virtual engagement. And so our people, globally, I think, feel more connected to their global teams than they did before. But there's nothing like that in-person connection. And so we do encourage people to get together and have opportunities to connect when they can.

We're also offering vaccinations on-site. So if individuals haven't been vaccinated yet, they can come on-site to get that vaccine. Even though we're a vaccinated-only workforce, that is the exception. So we really have been doing a lot to help protect our workforce and ensure that our people feel safe coming into the office. Keeping an open dialog around what our plans are, what's happening, what's changing, etc.

And I think that having our managers reach out to employees directly, and saying, "What are your concerns? When can we expect you in? Are there things that we can do to support you? What are your needs? Is it childcare? Let me put you in touch with wellness so that we can think through what some options may be." It's been very impactful.


Maribeth: Well that's great, Laura. And I have to believe all of those things impact the stress level and the burnout level. They're all things that are helping employees be able to work very differently and supporting them in that.


Laura: Yeah. All the things have changed, so we need to sort of provide those support services to help people manage both the change and to respond to a new environment.


Maribeth: Absolutely. So I'd like to turn it for a moment to women in the workplace. We have seen women leaving in really high, to me, very frightening numbers. We know that they often shoulder the majority of family care responsibilities in addition to their work. And so I'd love to hear, Shaun, what solutions you guys are implementing or have implemented to support women during this time at New York-Pres.


Shaun: Sure, thank you very much, Maribeth. And I'll sort of skip over childcare for a moment because I think we've talked so much about how important that is. But I will add that one of my sort of delightful moments was sort of getting a video where employees put together, just telling us how appreciative and how that really mattered.

But, again, for all women, we want to make sure that this is a welcoming place. That is the fundamental. And before COVID and through COVID, that's always been an area of focus. I talked about parental leave was important for us to have, a lot of those basics that says we care about you and your career is important to us. Here within the workforce, we want to make sure that we're supporting people from infancy throughout. So the whole notion of having lactation rooms is an absolute must. And also for new mothers, really finding ways of supporting new mothers in the workforce.

But as we think about the future, I really felt it was important to expand our childcare program even beyond what we have today. And expanding the college coaching, again, from that spectrum and offering things that make it a little bit easier for people to be able to focus and bring their best selves to work. Is to take those things that are typically burdens of the family and try to find ways of supporting them.

Right now we're talking about how can we support, even the notion of a child's first entrance into college and what that could mean. Expensive, but I'm sure we can find some balance in and around that to ensure that we're doing the right thing. But our benefits themselves are based around even single parents. We want to make sure that we're thinking about that.

So this is a thought that blends through everything that we're actually doing. But we find that women are the caregivers, in a plural sense, even for elderly people. And so as we expand, which we are right now, a program around special needs and for eldercare, it's actually meant...and this is a Bright Horizon program as well, to support people by providing a resource in a more concierge-like way. Resources that they would need, the challenges that you have.

I have an elderly parent, she just got out of the hospital. Let me tell you this, last week has been interesting. And I can't imagine one of our employees going through that. The resources that I have compared to them is different. As employers, we need to support that and knowing that our teams are going through all these various things as well.

But I will say, the notion of women's success also starts with the picture of success. And I must highlight diversity here, again. When we have women within our environment who can mentor others, who can sponsor others, who can really take the time to sit and listen, it really matters.

So to do that on a scale, we also have created programs we have called Dialogues in Diversity. And as we do those series, we sometimes will talk about well-being, we'll also talk about, things that support women. So we're hearing from our teams, again, directly on the things that they need. And, of course, if we're very focused on the workforce and we're blending in the right way with the focus on what uniqueness women might need, I think we've got a really substantive program.

So that's what we've done from soup to nuts in almost everything, including my review around pay and pay equity. Which we started at the beginning of the pandemic, and said, "We've gotta now make sure that those things are not issues so that women feel like they could belong, but that they feel that they're supported. That the leaders understand how to support women." And through doing that, we've also introduced a series of time-off things that would allow people an opportunity to care for themselves and their kids.

So one great example is we provide an additional 10 backup childcare days for people should they need it. When you have a newborn, we want to make sure that through that first year of that baby's life, that bonding is not an issue, and that that person feels very comfortable doing that here.

Flexible shifts. Flexibility is a core focus of ours into next year. And I saw some comments around people who are working from home or not. We're thinking about flexible work whether you're home or not. And the notion of flexibility is ensuring that people have the right flexibility for their lives.


Maribeth: Thank you, Shaun. It's interesting, before I turn, Laura, we'd love to hear what Goldman is doing in regards to female talent, but I just have to make one comment. Flexibility is becoming a big retention and, I have to believe, burnout factor. There used to be the few reasons people would leave a company. I believe today, flexibility is rising right up there.

Regardless of where you're working, you still need flexibility. Whether you are a frontline worker, not working from home, you still need the means of flexibility to be able to do what you need to do when you need to do it and still get your job done. So that word keeps surfacing more, and more, and more.

Laura, I would love to hear about Goldman. I know that you guys have done a lot of things to really support women in the workplace and women in financial services, and would love for you to share a little bit about that.


Laura: Yeah, I actually think it's interesting. And although we do identify that most of the caregivers in the United States and in the world are women, we've really focused our programming on the family in general. And identifying that the family dynamic has changed over the years. So we wanted to be more broad-reaching in our programs and our supportive services.

One of the ways that we did that is we really ensured that as we were designing...and we recently rolled this out. It feels recently, I forget. COVID is like a black hole of time. So it was in 2019, which, to me, feels like four weeks ago. But it was in 2019, we rolled out a new parenting leave program. We got rid of maternity leave and paternity leave, and we created one parenting leave. Everyone gets access in the U.S. And we did this globally, but days out of the office differs based on jurisdiction.

But 20 days for all new parents, regardless of gender or caregiver status. So we really tried to normalize caregiving, again, across all genders, across caregiver status, and give everyone equal footing, and provide that opportunity for an equal set of responsibility. And that's been really well received in our organization.

At the same time, in thinking about family planning itself, we had a very robust infertility benefit, but not everyone could take advantage of that infertility benefit. So example, if you're a same-sex male couple, it was very difficult, it can't be covered under insurance. How are we going to think about different ways that people created families?

So we enhanced our fertility benefit by covering things like surrogacy, like adoption, like egg donation, egg freezing. And having that broader understanding of people's either not sure when they're going to have kids, and they're getting older, and they have concerns. Or we are a same-sex couple and we're going to have additional expenses in identifying the family. Or we've gone through fertility, and we still can't have a child. We really wanted to give people as many opportunities as they could. And we rolled that out globally, at least where we legally could. And, again, so well received by our population, from both a gender and a diversity perspective.

We continue to look at programs, and actually just before this, I was on a call with one of my communications people, and they were putting together an infographic of all things that we do to support children and families. And I said, we're missing everything around school-aged kids, you got nothing in here. We got all the parenting support but nothing around school age.

And so reinforcing are things like the college coaching services. ABA therapy for children with special needs. Critical solutions when there's a critical illness in any family member, truthfully, but where they need navigation of the healthcare system to find the right provider. There's so much that's in that space, and we have a tendency to focus on new parents and not necessarily the full continuum of parenting.

That college coach, which I'm using right now, extremely valuable and really helping to take some of the stress off of parents. Everything from, "Where do I go for SAT prep," to, like, "We need to narrow down this search of colleges." It's a big deal. And it also allows my child and all the other children to take some ownership as well in their college journey.

We do have different networks, we have a disability network that really helps support parents with children with special needs, or with eldercare responsibilities. A very engaged group that we work with regularly to talk about those needs or issues. We do have eldercare support and counseling that's available for our people.

So we have family care coordinators, and those family care coordinators, again, really help everything from family planning and childcare, navigating the resources that the firm has, coaching them on going out for their parenting leave, returning from their parenting leave, how to talk to their manager, how to think about flexibility. And also helps them navigating some of these school-aged care issues, but as well, eldercare issues.

So connecting them to critical health solutions, as I mentioned before. Parent has a critical diagnosis of cancer, they don't know where to go, they don't know what questions to ask, making sure they get to those resources. They need in-home care, okay, great. How do I connect you to Bright Horizons for in-home care?

Okay, they need a home evaluation, how do we make sure we do that? How do we arrange that service? How do we think about helping the employee understand their financial planning for themselves as well as for their elder parents? So there's a lot that's in there and really try and wrap our arms around our employees throughout all of the caregiving needs.

And I think...in particular, as I said, parenting, it's a family issue, but as we know, most of that burden does fall on women and female. So I think that they tend to take advantage of it more so than some of their male colleagues, but it's available to everyone. And I think it has an overall good perception for people as to what it's like to work at Goldman Sachs.


Maribeth: Yeah. It's just both overwhelming and just so wonderful to hear all the things that you all are doing to support your employees, both organizations, both Goldman and New York-Pres. And as I sit and listen to both you, Shaun, and Laura, it's also amazing to me...and, Shaun, I've probably been in HR longer than the 20 years you noted. But it's fascinating to me how life and work have now come so together.

And during the pandemic, we said people are living at work. And it's now the employer has really had to reach in and reach into so many family factors and provide support. Because without that support, people can't come to work, or people can't work from home. And so all of these things that we're doing to support our employees, there are people who will say, "Why is that my employer's responsibility?" It's not our responsibility anymore. It's our commitment. It's the commitment all employers are giving to their employees. And it really is to listen to you, too.

And, look, Bright Horizons, we do the same kinds of things. We are all about making it easy for you to come to work. And making it so you can bring your true self to work, and we can help with all the things you carry with you that cause stress and cause burnout.

It's wonderful. Thank you. Thank you, guys. We are...I cannot believe we only have a few minutes left. There's been numerous questions, I want us to take one of them. And particularly, there's been a number of questions about budget.

So these are great programs, we would love to offer these kinds of things. How do you afford to do it? Whether you're...some people have said they're working in nonprofits, others are saying, how do you get the means to provide these kinds of programs? So I would love to have one or both of you respond to that.


Shaun: So I'll jump in and then I'll turn it over to Laura. I think we certainly have cost issues, too. And it's really important for people to know while we're talking about these benefits, we don't just go in a room and say, "Hey, we've got it, let's go spend it." But we certainly can understand the value of the spend. I saw one of the questions that said, "There are 32 people in our organization. We're really strapped. We don't have a lot to spend on other things."

I think the most important thing that we can all do is to really connect with our teams, connect where they are. They understand your organization. But that word, flexibility, that we talked about, is it there? If you can't put in all of these programs, what are some of the things that you could think through, even with the teams and feedback, that gives you the fruit? The low-hanging fruit or the maximum fruit that you could have. That idea around food trucks, it's not something that you will find cost us a thing. It was an invitation to food trucks.

But really being able to say, "In my benefit design, I'm going to design at my core, understanding that I need to have a diverse lens to create the inclusiveness and the belonging you need." And I loved how Laura talked about that, right? When you're talking about in vitro or other types of things that people might do, that you actually expand your benefits, that would also mean you are inclusive. Parents who are same-sex couples can, in fact, feel part of your organization.

And so the whole matrix is around, what is the basic needs coming out of the pandemic? But certainly, I think about the core person as you're designing in and around the space. And I'd ask, what is your culture? Is your culture embracing? Is it one where people can at least bring themselves and their challenges to a place where they can talk about it? And, Maribeth, just to correct one thing, it was over 20 years in healthcare, but I will not say how many years before that. But I will say along the spectrum, the one thing that we know is people want to be seen, people want to be cared for. And when we think about that equation, the teams can't focus on what we're asking them to do if they cannot get beyond the problems that they're dealing with every single day.

So there needs to be an output, and whatever that is and design, to really start with listening in that arc. And, again, the biggest surprise for me when the focus group...because I saw one of these questions, when we talk about, stress and mental well-being, it seems to make people more stressed out. Well, the answer is, don't talk about it a lot, talk about it that in a necessary way. But when you're designing your benefit and you're thinking about the impact of that, you don't have to say that word, right?

So really thinking comprehensively about every moment and every opportunity through that lens to say, "How can we stretch differently?" Your team has ideas. And, again, I'm really recommending a symptom tracker. And we could find that New York Times tracker, it'd be great to send out to everybody because it's free.

And what I was really stunned by is, "Wow, we did all of this work and I could have just used that tracker." Again, these things are out there, your EAP provider will provide assistance and ensure that teams have the tools they need and the flexibility that they need to deal with the challenges at home and at work.


Maribeth: Great answer. Laura, do you want to add anything to that?


Laura: I think Shaun's right on. I think a lot of it is you really have to know your employee base. And you have to have your ears open as to what it is that are needs of your population. And I'll be the first one to say that there are some programs and services that other organizations offer that we don't do because it just isn't something that our population...will resonate with our population or isn't a top need.

So we do have to go through, we do have to prioritize what it is we're going to offer and what we're going to deliver to our people. And we can't do everything, we are in a unique position where there is a lot that we can do.

I think people are sometimes amazed at the size of my team, which is really small. In the U.S., I only have three people that work on all of these programs that I just talked to you about. So we leverage our vendors, our EAP, quite significantly to deliver a lot of those programs for us and to create the materials for us. We do a lot of development ourselves. We do have on-site fitness centers. We use our fitness vendor to write materials for us. We really try and leverage as much as we can from third parties and get a maximum that we can from them to deliver to our people.

But knowing what your people need, having that flexibility, bringing them together to talk about what it is that they need is, I think, critically important. And I think leveraging your vendors is a key piece.


Maribeth: Absolutely. So we have come to the top of our hour. There were so many great questions, we may have to do this again. But in the words, first of all, thank you to Shaun and Laura. And in the words of Shaun Smith and Laura Young, simple makes a difference, and give it your best effort. Again, many thanks to everybody.

About the Speakers

Maribeth Bearfield at Bright Horizons

Maribeth Bearfield joined Bright Horizons in 2017 as SVP, HR and Chief Human Resources Officer. Maribeth brings a background as an educator and more than 25 years of human resources experience to her writing. Prior to joining Bright Horizons, Maribeth served as CHRO at Kaseya Corporation and Hanover Insurance, and as Chief Talent Officer at State Street. Maribeth has also held positions at Cisco Systems, Oracle and GTE.

Laura Young

Laura Young is Head of Global Benefits and Wellness at Goldman, Sachs & Co. in New York City. Laura has been instrumental in the development of the firm’s overall wellness strategy, which includes leading their Pandemic response, on-site operations, case management, mental health strategy, and occupational health. In this capacity, she led the development of the firm’s resilience strategy, which has included executing a bi-annual Americas Resilience Week and launching regular Mindfulness trainings. Laura enjoys running and received her BA in Exercise Science from Ithaca College and her MA in Exercise Physiology from Adelphi University.

Shaun Smith

Shaun E. Smith, JD, is Senior Vice President & Chief Human Resources Officer for NewYork-Presbyterian. In this role, he is responsible for leading all aspects of human resources operations, including talent acquisition, training and organizational development, compensation and benefit services, employee and labor relations, and workforce health and safety services. Mr. Smith joined NewYork-Presbyterian in 2012 as Vice President of Human Resources at NYP/Weill Cornell, and as NewYork-Presbyterian evolved, he took on the responsibility for providing human resources strategic direction and oversight for our Regional Network Hospitals. Mr. Smith has over 20 years of human resources, legal, and health care management experience, including leadership roles at Memorial-Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital in Plattsburgh, New York. Mr. Smith received his undergraduate degree in Business Administration as well as his law degree from Pace University. He was an adjunct professor of Human Resources Management at the State University of New York in Plattsburgh and also serves on a number of health care industry boards.