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WCWI's 2020 Leaderboard:

Champion of Employee Wellbeing

 

Erin Schad 

Sr. Benefits Analyst - Well-being, Kohler Co.
Industry:  Manufacturing
Years in the Field:  13 years
Organization size:  1400+ US employees
Courage Strength:  Physical
 
Physical Courage may look like leading with a lens of resilience or expanding the scope of wellbeing even if that means uprooting and laying new foundation. It may look like stepping into courageous conversation with a posture of curiosity, compassion, hope and resilience. Physical courage is stepping past our comfort zone to shift the narrative of wellbeing in somewhat risky yet rewarding ways. Learn more.

 

Some insight to Erin's courageous story... 

Describe how you pushed yourself out of your comfort zone in support of what was calling you to be courageous.
I have been called to be courageous in many aspects within my role, but my involvement in the Diversity and Inclusion space has probably pushed me the most. I am also a board member of the Kohler PROUD Business Resource Group. We focus on the LGBTQ and ally population within Kohler. Many times in both my professional and personal life, have had to use my courageous voice to stand for what I believe is basic human rights and will positively impact the lives of anyone that works for Kohler Co. The amazing part of being courageous is that you are not only giving yourself a voice, but you can also be a voice for others that have not found theirs yet. You can indirectly empower them and help them have the life they deserve. Something that has started to trickle into many Kohler meetings is the statement that "Kohler will be unapologetically intolerant of discrimination". That's beyond powerful.
 
What impact did your actions have on your employees’ wellbeing and/or organizational culture? 
Most recently, I reconnected with a Senior HR Manager that had participated in one of the QPR Suicide Prevention Trainings. He outwardly provided me a testimonial regarding a recent unfortunate experience where a family friend had died by suicide. He was overwhelmed with how quickly he was able to utilize the tools he learned from his QPR training and also reflected on whether or not others that were closer to the individual could have had a different impact on the final result if they too, were QPR trained. To me, this was it. This is all I need to drive me to continue to push change around mental health. One person, one story, that is all I need to be motived for change
 
What impact did your actions have on you as a leader?
I've learned that my voice and perseverance are my most valuable tools of change. If I allow my fear and hesitation to muffle what I know is the right thing to do, then I have a direct, negative impact on those I work with or may never meet. I've learned that what I do in my role every day has a long domino across the organization and as much of a scary realization that can also be, I am meant to make a difference in people's lives. I believe that to the core of who I am as a person, mother, partner, and Kohler associate. If I can influence others positively to help that chain reaction, then I will spend my whole life with that goal.
 
Through this experience, how does this change your focus for the future?
As a well-being professional, you have to embrace change, I truly believe that. There are a lot of positive changes that have already been implemented in light of what's happening in the world. We have been able to convert many of our well-being offerings to be accessed virtually, which has increased our ability to reach associates greatly. This will not go away. This ability to reach more, impact more, motivate more will live on in all of our well-being efforts moving forward. I've also learned that the topics less traveled are often the topics of well-being that truly NEED to be addressed. Stay strong and run towards what you know is the right thing to do.
 
 

About being a Champion with WCWI's 2020 Leaderboard...

 
What does this nomination and selection mean to you?
Being recognized for working on what I would call my “life’s purpose” is important for everyone. When you put your heart and soul into something that positively affects others, it feels good to have others acknowledge that.  But what it also does, is it reinforces and recognizes the support Kohler has provided to our well-being program. This support has made it possible to implement what’s needed to support our associates and families. I hope it brings awareness to what all organizations should be striving to do for their associates because it’s simply the right thing to do. Support one another, outside of work and at work.
 
What is one long term goal you have for your organization’s employee wellbeing strategy?
Long-term I want to see well-being imbedded so deeply in the culture that some don’t even identify something as a specific “wellness” initiative, but instead identify it as their overall experience of being a Kohler associate.  I would also like to see someone’s personal well-being become a part of daily check-ins, performance reviews and day to day conversations amongst associates, most importantly mental health. 
 
How does your work contribute to transforming Wisconsin’s workforce? 
Wisconsin typically falls a bit behind the “well-being trends” in comparison to the east and west coasts, so it’s important for us to represent as much as we can on behalf of our communities. The more we can prove that Wisconsin can also be a leader in associate well-being, the more diversity we will bring to our workforce. Diverse minds is incredibly important for economic growth. 
 
 

 

N19W24400 Riverwood Drive Suite 260 Waukesha, WI 53188-1185

Call us: 262.696.3658
Email us: wcwi@wellnesscouncilwi.org.

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