Positive Strategies Combat the Pandemic’s Impacts

from Pam Kehaly

Without a doubt, the past few years have been challenging for many businesses and their employees here in Arizona. Many have dealt with strains and changes due to the coronavirus pandemic, such as moving to a remote work environment, keeping employees healthy and happy, and maintaining culture and connectivity. We are in a time where flexibility, work-life balance, and mental, physical and financial health are at the forefront of employees’ decisions when it comes to the employer they choose to work for. A recent article by Health Payer Specialist stated that employers are seeing an increase in long-term mental health issues and a rising need for healthcare services among employees as a result of the pandemic, and that trend is expected to continue. 

We have also dissected our data on COVID-19 and uncovered some eye-opening statistics on trends that are likely to have negative health impacts for employers and their employees for years to come. We have seen through COVID that health screenings, such as cancer screenings, were down almost 25% as compared to pre-COVID years. Meanwhile, behavioral health visits are up almost 80% as compared to pre-COVID years. With a mission to inspire health and make it easy, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona aims to ensure we are providing employees with programs, policies, education and benefits that fit their specific needs and help them manage their health. 

Time to Listen … and Keep Up with Preventive Care 

Although businesses have faced many challenges, there have been positive strategies and business tactics that have come into play because of it. For us to maintain connections with one another, our work and our purpose in a virtual world requires a highly structured approach to communications. And, most importantly, we are learning to listen continuously and at scale. 

At Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona, we have implemented various ways for employees to share their honest feedback around how they are feeling about work and what changes they would like to see within the organization. Through monthly check-in surveys, and “Cooler Connections” — which is an opportunity for employees to comment, ask questions and get live answers from our executive leadership team — we can underscore that every employee’s voice is heard and help foster and maintain trust and connection within our workforce. Through our offering this level of transparency and communication, many Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona employees have driven positive change as it relates to benefits, company policies and member satisfaction. 

Overall health and well-being have always been a significant priority for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona, its members and employees. We are always looking for new ways to provide access to mental health resources and have encouraged employees to participate in fitness and nutrition programs, mental health first-aid training courses and mindfulness sessions throughout the year. In order for us to inspire health throughout the state, we must live it — and that means taking care of ourselves both physically and mentally. 


In fact, at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona, our employees are the heart of what we do for Arizonans and it is our goal to do everything we can to keep them healthy and happy. We believe that building and maintaining relationships with employees is key, especially in unsettling and challenging times. This can mean being mindful that employees may have different needs in different capacities. We do not have a one-size-fits-all approach to how we handle employee needs, and that is what continues to raise our employee engagement scores and overall satisfaction. When we listen with intention, we are able to make people-centric decisions that positively impact our employees’ lives and our company culture. 

Who you are as an employer through good times and bad is what positions you for success. Employers also have the responsibility to ensure the health of employees remains a top priority. Poor health among employees can lead to their burnout and lack of productivity, among other consequences. At Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona, we encourage our employees to schedule their preventive visits, get regular vaccines and screenings, reach out for help when experiencing behavioral health concerns, and take care of themselves so that they can show up for the business every day. 

With a mission to improve the quality of life for all Arizonans, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona president and CEO Pam Kehaly is leading the company to inspire health through inventive programs, services and health insurance products.

See the full story: Ever-Changing Healthcare – The new impact healthcare is having on our companies and their people

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