What is Emotional Agility, and How Can You Manage Your Emotions in the Workplace?

What is emotional agility? Emotional agility is defined as one's ability to deal with stressors and discomfort at work and in life. Read this blog post to learn more about being emotionally agile and how to manage your emotions in the workplace.

It’s a buzzword we hear all the time: emotional agility. So you may be asking, what exactly IS emotional agility? It’s defined as one’s ability to deal with stressors and discomfort in work and life. People are preprogrammed to deal with situations in certain ways, but these types of reactions don’t always allow room for emotional growth.

“Between stimulus and response there is a space,” explains Dr. Susan David, an award-winning Harvard Medical School psychologist. “This space is born out of emotional agility. In that space is our power to choose. And it’s in that choice that lies our growth and freedom.”

When people are emotionally agile, that space gives them the opportunity to deal with difficult and stressful situations and become resilient. Dr. David elaborates: “Emotional agility is being sensitive to the context and responding to the world right now—and that allows us to move into a space where we are managing our lives more in accord with our values.”

Stop Managing Emotions at Work, and Start Experiencing Them

“Firstly, it’s normal, healthy and good to experience the full range of emotions,” Dr. David continued. It’s unrealistic to try to focus on being happy and positive all the time. This hyper-focus lessens one’s adaptability and agility.

The workplace demands a lot of employees. No matter how stressful or taxing, employees are expected to hide their emotions at work and only portray positive emotions. However, research shows that experiencing difficult emotions helps people successfully navigate complex situations at work and at home.

Dr. David believes all emotions are necessary for employees to succeed in their careers: “There is no collaboration … without potential conflict. There is no innovation … without the potential of failure. And if there’s no openness to the emotions, the disappointment and the loss that comes with failure, well then you’re not going to get real innovation.”

Becoming Emotionally Agile

Even with the best intentions, things don’t always pan out like we plan. Unexpected or non-ideal outcomes in the workplace can elicit rigid or preprogrammed reactions to emotions, like ignoring them, bottling them up, placing blame, or replaying situations over and over in one’s head.

“Rigidity in the face of complexity is toxic,” Dr. David said. In order to become emotionally agile, people need to acknowledge and understand their emotional responses but not take them as fact. For example, if a person is feeling a stress response, it doesn’t mean everything about their life has to be stressful. By understanding these emotions, one can learn from them and ultimately move forward.

Dr. David elaborates: “The radical acceptance of our emotions — even the difficult ones, even the messy ones — is the cornerstone to resilience, to effectiveness, to success, to relationships, and to truly thriving.”

Bonus: Tips & Tricks to Cope With Stressful Workdays

  1. Compartmentalization (when negative emotions from home affect your work). Try your best to leave personal matters and issues at home. When you commute to work, use that time to tell your mind to let go. You can also compartmentalize work-related stressors so that your emotions at work don’t spill over into your personal life too.
  2. Deep breathing & relaxation techniques. This will help with emotions like anxiety, worry, frustration, and anger. Take deep breaths, inhaling and exhaling slowly until you calm down. Slowly count to 10. You can take a walk to cool down and listen to some relaxing music. Talk to someone who can help you calm down.
  3. The 10-second rule. This is especially helpful if you are feeling angry, frustrated or even irate. If you feel your temper rising, try and count to 10 to recompose yourself. If possible, excuse yourself from the situation to get some distance, but remember to reassure the other party that you will return to deal with the matter.


SOURCE: Olson, B. (5 November 2019) "What is Emotional Agility, and How Can You Manage Your Emotions in the Workplace?" (Web Blog Post). Retrieved from http://blog.ubabenefits.com/what-is-emotional-agility

Ashleigh Asleson Attains CISR Designation

The designation of Certified Insurance Service Representative (CISR) has been conferred on Ashleigh Asleson, Commercial Insurance Service Agent at Hierl Insurance, Inc, following her successful completion of a comprehensive insurance education program sponsored by the Society of Certified Insurance Service Representatives.

This accomplishment is affirmed by the President of the Society of CISR, Dr. William T. Hold, Ph.D., CIC, CPCU, CLU. The full CISR credentials were sent to Asleson on November 8, 2019, in official confirmation of the achievement.

The Society of CISR is a key member of The National Alliance for Insurance Education & Research, the nation’s preeminent provider of insurance and risk management education. The National Alliance conducts more than 2,500 programs annually throughout all 50 states, Virgin Islands, Mexico, Puerto Rico and around the world. This program is designed to serve a variety of individuals practicing insurance so that they may better serve their clients’ needs and requirements. Currently, more than 28,000 agents and insurance professionals throughout the country and world have received the CISR designation.

Asleson has demonstrated her professional competence through the successful completion of the five CISR courses and the corresponding comprehensive examinations that focus on all major fields of commercial casualty and property, personal residential and auto, personal lines, agency operations, life, and health, and risk management.

To learn more about Hierl Insurance, please contact Cathleen Christensen at (920) 921-5921.

About Hierl Insurance Inc.

A third-generation family-owned business, Hierl’s goal is for you to “Expect More and Demand Better.” Since 1919, Hierl has earned the trust of Wisconsin employers by using insight and innovative technology to create unique strategies that protect business owners, their employees and their budgets. Hierl’s mission is to provide clients with the wisdom and tools necessary to build a more engaged, productive and loyal workforce. With locations in Fond du Lac and Appleton, Hierl’s expertise in employee benefits, commercial insurance, human resources and wellness creates a great business team. Learn more at hierl.com.

Ensuring the Mental Well-Being of Employees

"Mental health problems have an impact on employees and businesses directly through increased absenteeism, negative impact on productivity and profits, as well as an increase in costs to deal with the issues," explained Tonya Bahr, one of our expert Benefits Advisors. Additionally, they impact employee morale adversely.

This results in increased sick absences, high staff turnover and unsatisfactory performance within the business, not to mention the heightened possibility for injury. Stress from the modern work environment typically derives from excessive pressures or other types of demands placed upon employees. There is a clear distinction between pressure, which is a common motivation factor, and stress, which can occur when the pressure becomes excessive.

Certain employees are at a higher risk of suffering from mental health problems than their co-workers. Nonetheless, higher stress levels correlate with a higher risk for mental health issues. Therefore, it is important as an employer or hiring manager to read the signs of potential mental health issues in employees before it is too late.

1. Relationship Problems with Superiors

The most common origin for office stress is dealing with a difficult boss, as certain individuals may fear the hierarchical nature of the organization. Yet, this is the simplest of issues to resolve, as the key to overcoming mental illness lies in the effectiveness of communication. For example, striking up a sincere, relaxed conversation could potentially soften hard feelings. Sometimes, the boss may set unrealistic targets, where an honest discussion can help adjust deadlines.

2. Relationship Problems with Co-Workers

Another reason for an increase in mental illness in the workplace could be difficult co-workers. This is especially true in work environments that surround a culture of competitiveness. This makes for a more difficult work environment, increasing stress. However, employers can make time for conflict resolution by employing a tactic of mutual conversation, concluded by an agreement.

3. Work/Family Conflict

Today, families struggle coping with an increasingly complex world, and that family stress is often carried on an employee’s shoulders when they enter their workplace. Fortunately, you can help employees balance work and life by providing different avenues for seeking mental health care, as well as providing educational resources to your staff. In fact, many employers allow a ‘flex-time’ benefit to help employees work the hours they will be most-focused, relieving anxiety and stress over missing, for example, their child’s baseball game.

Why Hierl?

At Hierl Insurance, we love what we do, and this includes a partnership with you in mind. We understand the demands of each client are unique, so we craft your options to fit your business perfectly, creating a different story for each client. We believe it is OK to like your experts. We stand by waiting to greet you with a warm welcome to devise a blueprint to turn your company’s dreams into reality.

To speak with Tonya, contact her today at (920) 921-5921 or by email at tbahr@hierl.com

Ensuring Accurate Skill Matching

Research shows that it is becoming increasingly difficult to vet job candidates manually. Recruitment is often flooded with hundreds to thousands of resumes that they have to wade through. Read this blog post from UBA for ways to ensure accurate skill matching during the recruitment process.

Finding the right people to successfully execute in the workplace is the core responsibility of HR, but research shows it is becoming increasingly difficult to vet candidates manually. To compound this challenge, recruitment is flooded with hundreds or thousands of resumes to wade through (many of which are unqualified), and this is not the best use of their time.

Screening efficiently is one of the biggest pain points for HR and recruiters: 52% of talent acquisition leaders identify accurate skill-matching as the hardest part of their job.

If your company hasn’t done so already, it’s time to leverage automation to ensure accurate skill-matching. Often a whitepaper resume does not provide a comprehensive look at a candidate’s skill set, resulting in poor placement. This placement becomes a chain reaction that leads to high employee turnover rates. Let’s review ways to reverse and prevent this trend by precisely targeting the right people with the right skills for the job.

Leveraging Automation

Automation like chatbots can cut your time upfront in finding the right candidates. Software like Gloat harnesses the power of natural language chat to connect job seekers with new job opportunities entirely anonymously. The technology available here matches user-generated information with desired skillsets from relevant job listings.

Another great example is Restless Bandit, which algorithmically connects candidates to new positions within an organization's existing database. The big benefit to this: qualified candidates who’ve applied to a company previously are much more likely to respond to a recruiter than those who are cold-called.

Timely Response to Automation

These are just two examples of great software but hundreds are currently available to any size organization. Applicant tracking and algorithmic matching make it easier for you to contact candidates who are great matches to your high-skill jobs, but the final responsibility rests on your team to respond and bring candidates to an interview in a timely fashion. In today’s world of nearly instantaneous communications, applications sitting in limbo can be a deterrent for candidates.

Going Beyond the New Hire

Although automation can be a great asset on the front end, it’s important to see skill-matching as an open conversation once a new hire is onboarded. Too often job descriptions are delivered to a new hire’s desk without consideration of their interests or goals that may apply to a career advancement or support another need within the organization.

Initiating quarterly reviews where employees can share their aspirations and skills they are developing outside of work can help guide a path to career advancement.

Link Index:

How AI in HR and Recruiting is Becoming 'The Future of Talent Acquisition'

AI For Recruiting: A Definitive Guide For HR Professionals



SOURCE: Olson, B. (9 October 2019) "Ensuring Accurate Skill Matching" (Web Blog Post). Retrieved from http://blog.ubabenefits.com/ensuring-accurate-skill-matching

What is Perfectionism, and Is It Affecting Your Work Life?

You might be surprised to learn that perfectionism has a dark side. Often perfectionism is associated with high performance and higher success rates but it can be difficult to work diligently with high standards. Read this blog post to learn how perfectionism may be affecting your work life.

If you feel that perfectionism is associated with high performance and higher success rates, you might be surprised to learn that it has a dark side as well. It might seem that trying to work diligently with extremely high standards is good for productivity and success, but that’s not always the case.

What is perfectionism?

Perfectionists hold themselves to incredibly high, often unattainable standards and engage in harsh self-criticism when they fall short. Research from psychologists Paul Hewitt and Gordon Flett found younger generations — specifically Gen Z and millennials — are showing higher tendencies of perfectionism than previous generations. Not only that, those tendencies are increasing, or becoming more prevalent, as time goes on.

The dark side? Constantly striving for the unattainable can have devastating effects on the psyche. “Perfectionism is a virtue to be extolled definitely,” said Prem Fry, a psychology professor at Trinity Western University in Canada. “But beyond a certain threshold, it backfires and becomes an impediment,” she said.

The link between perfectionism and mental health

Perfectionism in the workplace is problematic for many reasons. Those who lean toward perfectionism exhibit harsh self-criticism when they don’t receive the highest scores or forms of approval. This can create high levels of stress and psychological turmoil that negatively affects their health and wellbeing.

The World Economic Forum reports there is “substantial evidence indicating that perfectionism is associated with (among other things) depression, anorexia nervosa, suicide ideation, and early death.” Considering how stressed out today’s workers are already, it’s easy to understand how any increase in pressure or stress could lead to poor mental health down the road.

Tips to ease stress and combat the negative effects of perfectionism

Learning to recognize the sources of pressure to be perfect, both real and perceived, is an excellent first step. Here are a few initiatives you can work to implement in your office to help everyone, not just the perfectionists, have a happier, healthier work life.

Healthy culture. Helping build a workplace wellbeing program is an excellent place to start, as it supports all aspects of employee health. It can help cultivate a healthy workplace culture, one where you and your coworkers feel happy, valued, included, accepted, appreciated, respected and supported.

Health coaching. Asking your employer to bring on a workplace health coach can be an incredible resource for you and your coworkers. Through a person-first, wholistic approach, coaches address the full spectrum of your health, including mental wellbeing. Connecting with a person, even if it’s just a short call, can kickstart your path to better health and wellbeing.

Peer relationships. Fostering positive social interactions and re-affirming team-building exercises between you and your co-workers leads to a more productive, happier work environment for everyone.


The Cut. Study on perfectionism and millennials. https://www.thecut.com/2018/01/new-study-on-perfectionism-and-millennials.html
(Accessed 10/10/19)

American Psychological Association. Perfectionism increasing over time.
https://www.apa.org/pubs/journals/releases/bul-bul0000138.pdf (Accessed 10/10/19)

Virgin Pulse blog. Is perfectionism negatively impacting your organization? https://www.virginpulse.com/blog/ (Accessed 10/10/19)

SOURCE: Olson, B. (17 October 2019) "What is Perfectionism, and Is It Affecting Your Work Life?" (Web Blog Post). Retrieved from http://blog.ubabenefits.com/what-is-perfectionism-and-is-it-affecting-your-work-life

As Daylight-Saving Time Ends, Wages & Hour Problems Begin

With daylight saving time quickly approaching, employers should be aware of the wage and hour challenges. Read this blog post from SHRM for wage and hour implications that stem from the end of daylight savings time and how to prepare to "spring forward".

On Sunday, Nov. 3, 2019, at 2:00 a.m., daylight saving time will end and in most states clocks will be set back one hour. As it does every year, this change presents a challenge for employers whose nonexempt employees are working during that time.

This wage and hour issue will affect all employers that employ nonexempt employees with the exception of those working in Arizona and Hawaii, both of which do not observe daylight savings time.

Below are some of the wage and hour implications stemming from the end of daylight savings time:

  • Employers are required to pay employees for all hours worked. However, employers whose nonexempt employees are working at 2:00 a.m. on Sunday, Nov. 3, must pay them one additional hour of pay unless the start/end times of their shifts are adjusted in anticipation of the time change. In essence, such an employee will have worked the hour from 1:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m. twice.
  • Employers whose nonexempt employees are working at that time might owe those employees overtime compensation as a result of the time change. That is, employers must include the additional hour of work in determining the employee's overtime compensation for the week.
  • In addition, employers must take this additional hour of work into account when computing the employee's regular rate of pay for purposes of calculating the employee's overtime rate.

Preparing to 'Spring Forward'

Employers also should be aware of their pay obligations at the beginning of daylight savings time in the spring. Nonexempt employees who are working on Sunday, March 8, 2020, at 2:00 a.m.—when clocks will spring forward to 3:00 a.m.—are entitled to one less hour of pay than they otherwise would have been. So, an employee scheduled to work an eight-hour shift from 11:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. will only have worked seven hours because essentially the employee did not work from 2:00 a.m. to 3:00 a.m.

Employers that decide to pay such workers for a full eight-hour shift are not required under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) to include that extra hour of pay in calculating employees' regular rate of pay for overtime purposes. In addition, the FLSA prohibits employers from crediting that extra hour of pay towards any overtime compensation due to the employee.

Employers, however, should ensure that they do not have any additional obligations under a collective bargaining agreement or state law.

Hera Arsen, J.D., Ph.D., is managing editor of Ogletree Deakins' publications in Torrance, Calif. Ogletree Deakins is a national labor and employment law firm. © Ogletree Deakins. All rights reserved. Reposted with permission. Updated from an article originally posted on 11/1/2017.

SOURCE: Arsen, H. ( 2 October 2019) "As Daylight-Saving Time Ends, Wages & Hour Problems Begin" (Web Blog Post) https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/hr-topics/compensation/pages/daylight-saving-time-wage-hour-problems.aspx

Commercial Risk Advisor - October 2019

The Cost of Employee Turnover

High turnover rates can be incredibly costly to an organization, making employee retention vital to success. While established employees can offer valuable insights based on their experiences in the organization, when they leave the organization they take all of that experience with them, forcing resources to be used on finding and training a replacement.

The cost of turnover can be divided into two types: direct and indirect.

  • Direct costs include those tied to replacement costs such as advertising the open position, and interviewing and testing candidates; and the costs of training new hires.
  • Indirect costs include factors that cannot be measured directly but are costly nonetheless, such as lost productivity and knowledge, and lower morale as a result of turnovers.

While the exact cost of each turnover varies, estimates suggest that replacing an employee could cost as high as 200% of the annual salary of that departing employee.

Keeping Turnover Low

Employee turnover is often caused by insufficient employee engagement. While compensation is typically a factor in turnovers, the lack of opportunities to advance and a stressful or otherwise unsatisfactory work environment are also contributing factors. Focus on improving company culture, pay and benefits, and providing a clear path for career development. Offering the ability to submit suggestions and complaints anonymously can encourage otherwise intimidated employees to share their insights.

Additionally, conducting exit interviews with departing employees can offer valuable insight into the exact cause of turnovers and what can be improved to increase employee retention. Any recurring complaints indicate areas for close examination and improvement.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor - slips, trips and falls account for over 95 million lost work days every year.

10 Tips to Avoid Slips, Trips And Falls at Your Workplace

Slips, trips and falls account for a large percentage of workplace accidents. As an employer, it is your responsibility to make certain all of your employees are following proper safety procedures and guidelines set in place by your company to ensure their safety.

Thankfully, there are various actions you and your workers can take to help alleviate workplace injuries caused by slip, trip and fall hazards.

Tips to Avoid Slips, Trip and Fall Hazards

To make sure all of your employees are working in a safe environment—the following 10 tips can help you and your workers minimize slip, trip and fall hazards at your company:

1. Maintain good housekeeping practices. A clean facility is your first line of defense against slips, trips and falls.

2. Require employees to wear the appropriate footwear required for specific job duties (e.g. nonslip, closed toe or  water-resistant).

3. Encourage employees to stay alert while on the job by eliminating any distractions that could cause them to lose focus and overlook a potential hazard.

4.  Place wet floor signs by all spills or wet surfaces to alert workers of a slipping hazard.

5.  Ensure spills are cleaned up immediately after they occur—try instating a cleanup procedure that explains the proper protocol for quickly and effectively cleaning a spill.

6.  Verify that all areas being utilized by employees are well-lit and that lightbulbs are being replaced regularly.

7.  Keep all high-traffic areas free of any objects, spills or debris in order to provide a safe walkway for all employees.

8.  Perform regular maintenance on all flooring, safety rails and stairs to avoid any instability that may lead to an injury.

9.  Assign workers cleanup responsibilities to help minimize various hazards that can accumulate throughout the day.

10.  Conduct regular inspections of your workplace to identify and resolve any slip, trip and fall hazards.

Discuss these tips with your employees to help reduce injuries caused by slips, trips and falls.

A turnover could cost as much as 200% of the annual salary of the departing employee.

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Why 24/7 Work Culture is Causing Workers to Burn Out

Burnout was recently classified by the World Health Organization as an "occupational phenomenon" that is characterized by chronic work stress. Workplace cultures that encourage employees to be available 24/7 may be causing burnout, according to Dr. Michael Klein. Read the following blog post to learn more.

Workplace culture that encourages employees to be available 24/7 may be causing burnout and other mental health issues like anxiety and depression.

That’s according to business psychologist and workplace adviser Dr. Michael Klein, who says companies that encourage employees to work anytime and anywhere is making it more likely that burnout will occur.

“The problem now is when you have the ability to work from wherever you want,” he says. “It’s so important for general wellness to make time to exercise, time for family and to not check work email.”

In May, the World Health Organization classified burnout as an “occupational phenomenon” that is characterized by chronic work stress that is not successfully managed. Research shows that continued stress at work can lead to more serious mental health conditions like depression and anxiety.

As a result, Klein predicts the next few years will see an increased need for on-site mental healthcare which could be offered through employee assistance programs. Offering EAPs, flexible work options and family-friendly benefits like onsite childcare are just some of the ways employers can reduce stress for workers.

And HR may need to take the lead. Misty Guinn, director of benefits and wellness at Benefitfocus, says finding HR professionals that can handle difficult conversations around mental health may be key to addressing the problem. But many are not comfortable enough to have those kinds of conversations.

“Most have yet to achieve that level of comfort with conversations around mental health,” she says, noting that younger generations are often more comfortable talking about mental health issues. “We’ve got to enable people, especially within HR, benefits and management to have those conversations and be comfortable with them.”

Guinn also says that EAPs alone may not be enough to address mental health issues for workers because these programs are often scarcely utilized. Subsidizing mental health co-pays, work-life balance and PTO policies are benefit options employers to create a meaningful difference for workers mental health, she adds.

“Too often employers make the mistake of believing that offering an employee assistance program sufficiently checks off the mental health box in a complete benefits package,” she says. “In reality, these programs generally have low utilization because employees don’t have confidence in how confidential they are.”

Klein and Guinn agree that employers should consider more ways to support the total well-being of employees. Companies who prioritize their people will do better in the long term, Guinn adds.

“Employers need to take purposeful actions within their policies and programs to reinforce their support of total well-being for employees and their families,” she says.

SOURCE: Hroncich, Caroline. (June 10th, 2019) "Why 24/7 Work Culture is Causing Workers to Burn Out" (Web Blog Post) https://www.employeebenefitadviser.com/news/24-7-work-culture-is-causing-workers-to-burn-out

Susan's Perfect Fall Chili

Welcome to our monthly Dish segment. This month, we asked Susan Henderson to provide us with her favorite Dine In and Dine Out choices. Check them out below and let us know if you give them a try!

A Little Bit About Susan

Susan is the current Vice President of Operations and Human Resources at Hierl Insurance, Inc.

Susan has significant years of experience as a human resource generalist. She can provide your organization with a variety of services for both your employee benefits coverage as well as human resource consulting solutions.

Her knowledge, motivation to assist local businesses, and professional personality provide you with an excellent resource, only a phone call away.

Black Bean & Sweet Potato Chili

Susan’s favorite recipe to enjoy with her family is Black Bean & Sweet Potato Chili. This recipe makes a great fall dish!


  • 2 T Canola Oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 6-8 medium garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 4 tsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 chipotle in adobe, stem and seeds discarded, chopped (about 2 tsp)
  • 1 28 can diced tomatoes
  • 4 c water or low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 ½ lbs sweet potatoes, diced (about 3 cups)
  • 2 – 15 ounce cans black beans
  • For garnish:  chopped green onion, crumbled feta cheese, lime, tortilla chips


  1. Heat oil in a large heavy bottomed Dutch oven or pot over medium high heat.  When it shimmers, add the onion, season with salt and cook until softened and onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic, chili powder, cumin and chipotle and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes.   Add the tomatoes, water/broth, and sweet potatoes and bring to a boil over high heat, about 5 minutes.
  2. Reduce the heat to medium-low and stir in the beans.  Simmer, partially covered, until the liquid is slightly thickened and the potatoes are cooked through (about 30 minutes).
  3. Garnish with scallions, cheese, lime as desired. Serve with tortilla chips.

When It’s a Great Time to Go Out

Susan loves eating out at The Ruby Owl Tap Room.

Learn more about The Ruby Owl Tap Room on the restaurant’s website.

The Ruby Owl Tap Room is rated 4.5 stars on Trip Advisor.

Thank-you for joining us for this month’s Dish! Don’t forget to come back next month for a new one.