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Four Key Takeaways From The ELANZA Wellness Coaching Program For Employers

Updated: Apr 5, 2022

Today, our personal lives are not solely defined by us personally.
Almost no OECD country has a total fertility rate above the population replacement rate of two children per women. The pandemic has coincided with 'The Great Resignation', with more than 12 million women dropping out of the workforce. Studies have shown that the blurred lines between work and home have increased people's stress levels and diminished our overall wellbeing.

On the surface of it we've never had more choice.

But scratch the surface and the reality is that has translated to more stress and more internalized struggles.

After sitting through long and hard periods at home, whether in isolation or with partners we may have thought about murdering in their sleep at times, or navigating the 'new normal' with a family struggling to adapt to Zoom life, it's understandable that we are all reporting feeling more stressed, struggling, and questioning remaining in jobs and situations that aren't intrinsically motivating or satisfying.

At ELANZA, we're on a mission to support people's journeys to building the lives they choose, starting with coaching around family and family building (in all its forms).

Our secure telehealth platform connects people with a personal Board Certified Health and Wellness Coach who specializes in fertility and family and has additional training around things like miscarriage and infant loss, trans experiences of fertility and non-traditional routes to parenthood.

Family and personal life are so core to who we are that stressors bleed into every other aspect of life, which is why many employers are starting to recognize that building a happy productive team at work begins at home.

We partnered up with 2 companies to run a test bed providing ELANZA coaching services to their employees as a benefit, to see what impact we could have on stress and resilience levels and life satisfaction in workplace 2.0.

At ELANZA, we believe that our specialized compassion-driven coaching is the key to unlocking better lives, better careers, and a thriving workforce. To prove out this hypothesis, we partnered up with 2 companies to offer ELANZA to their employees as a benefit to see if this is possible in the landscape of workplace 2.0.

Spoiler alert: we probably wouldn't be proudly posting these results if the impact wasn't beyond expectations but our research also revealed some important takeaways for employers who know they need to adapt to the new needs of their employees. So, here they are.

1. The stress people feel is not always from work, but their work is still impacted

Blame it on shifting gender roles, the pandemic, access to birth control, fertility treatment, etc. we are living in unprecedented times, and more options doesn't always make life easier.

This paired with the exorbitant cost of living, an aging population to take care of, and the pressure to reach any number of personal or professional expectations, people have simply lost the plot of their own lives, or at least what they expected from it.

Venture capitalist, Alyssa Jaffe, from 7 Wire Ventures highlights the paradox of being able to "do it all."

Like with motherhood, you completely lose yourself in the frenzy and excitement of birth and sleepless nights, then must find your way back to yourself. My career in venture capital started with zero kids. Today, I’m accompanied by two delightfully crazy boys with another baby on the way. What was once a calendar full of happy hours, conferences, and networking events is now filled with strict blocks, zoom fatigue, and constant tradeoffs. After two years of a global pandemic, I question whether I am thriving or just surviving.

Historically, companies have most often taken a 'church and state' mentality to the support they provide employees in the office vs. when they're at home.

For example, 'coaching' offered by employers in the past typically refers to management coaching, leadership coaching or execution-based coaching, which helps someone set forth a plan to achieve specific work-related goals.

That's great and all but does this account for the man or woman that is missing their project deadlines because they're spending 33 hours of work time trying to manage the physical and emotional distress of IVF?

Or what about the woman who misses meetings because she's lost 16.9% of her working hours from the physical and emotional pain of endometriosis?

Before ELANZA members started the coaching program, we measured their existing stress levels using 10 clinically-validated questions related to the perceived stress scale (PSS-10).

At this point in time, their stress levels were 13% higher than that of someone diagnosed with cancer.

And stress levels were 52% higher than the US national average.

What factors are causing stress levels to be so high?

During the first coaching sessions, coaches were able to identify some key themes that people wanted to work on during the course of their sessions over the next 3 months.

We were able to look at de-identified data across our pilot that revealed these key themes so here they are:

There it is... A mere snapshot of the real thoughts, concerns and anxieties that are hidden below the surface of employees that are simply just trying to get their work done.

Breaking these down further, here are some of the major reasons that compelled people to try coaching:

Figuring out if and where family fits in

Often people were exploring what "family" meant to them, how it may fit into their lives, and if, when, how they would want to get started on that journey.

There were even big questions around how large scale concepts like climate change, politics, war, etc would influence whether or not they would 'want to bring a child into this world.'

In fact, the concept of childlessness by choice is also a growing trend with 44% of people 18-49 report not wanting kids at all.

Much of this planning has a lot to do with self-concepts around identity, relationships and the expectations placed upon them by their family and their peers.

Stress, anxiety and burnout from a lack of work/life balance

People at every stage of their reproductive lifespan - from exploring options to menopause - were seeking a structured framework to manage the stress they feel between their personal lives and their work lives.

For example, the stress of balancing family with work is causing burnout for 1 in 4 working parents. Of course, things like free childcare as a benefit would also reduce the plight of working parents but that's just a Band-Aid on the larger problem.

To truly help manage stress for working parents, coaches can help release some of the “shoulds” that often weight down their sense of self worth and confidence. By helping alleviate feelings of inadequacy, parents can reestablish their own wellbeing, focus on what matters most and feel absolved of the things they cannot control.

Work pressure

This may seem obvious but it's not what you think. Many of the themes that emerged around this concept were related to fears about what would happen to them if or when they did decide to start a family.

Will I be passed up for promotions if I go on parental leave? Will I be left out of important projects if I get pregnant? How will my manager respond when I tell them I'm undergoing fertility treatment?

Often, these stress-factors were simply in anticipation of what could happen but still left people in a state of fear of the unknown.

Not only are coaches trained to help people reframe these stressors but they are also able to help employees with the confidence to communicate with their employer in a way that clearly articulates their needs.

Financial wellness

Some studies indicate that finances are the number one cause of stress in the US.

For anyone considering a family or anyone that already has a family, this is top of mind - especially if you consider that the average cost of raising a child to age 18 is estimated at $272,049 (!). And, this doesn't include things like fertility treatment or college tuition.

Again, things like fertility treatment coverage and childcare coverage are great, practical ways to reduce that burden for those who need it. However, it's still just a means to an end.

The only way to truly reduce financial stress is to help people with a framework - an achievable approach - that will help them navigate the ongoing give-and-take between what truly matters to them and what things can be stripped away in order to live a life they choose.

One additional note on this subject is how often financial wellness is tied to identity or "keeping up with the Jones.'" Spending habits tied to a person's identity in their 20's (e.g. dining out) may shift when they have a baby (e.g. diapers). A coach can help support people through these key life events so that their spending can be better prioritized in alignment with their values.

2. Struggles with fertility and family are not just felt by cis women trying to conceive.

37% of US employees are struggling with stress, depression or anxiety specifically related to their reproductive health, fertility or family-building journey, as measured through a compilation of data on the various subjects.

Here's a quick snapshot around some of the existing research on why this might be the case:

  • There's been a 60% decline in sperm counts since the 1970s

  • 1 in 5 US couples struggle with infertility

  • 30% of pregnancies end in miscarriage

  • IVF patients spend an avg. of $25k and 125 hours on treatment

  • 62% of US women age 15-49 have a reproductive health issue (e.g. PCOS, endometriosis, fibroids, etc.)

Taking a step back from the data, it's important to remember how much our own identity is tied to the concept of fertility and/or the ability to have children - and that goes for people of any gender, race, age or sexual orientation.

Stage at the start of ELANZA coaching

During the ELANZA coaching program, we were also interested to find that 53% of the people that signed up for coaching were in the 'exploring/planning phase.'

This is an indication of how important it is to provide support for people that are still trying to figure out where family fits in.

It it also a strong indication that there are gaps in healthcare services and other employee benefits that create stress, uncertainty and confusion at the very beginning stages of any reproductive health journey.

In the ELANZA coaching program, more than 26% of participants were actively planning to or were undergoing fertility treatments such as IVF, IUI, or egg freezing. This highlights the desire for more support and guidance during a time when 90% of people may experience feelings of depression/anxiety.

ELANZA offers a truly inclusive emotional health solution that can be offered by any size company, in any English-speaking location. We believe that not everyone needs fertility treatment, but we do believe that just one conversation with an ELANZA Coach could change your life.

3. Offering emotional health benefits is the key to recruiting and retaining an engaged, inclusive and values-driven workforce

In the current company landscape, there's no question that employers have to work harder to both attract and retain talent. It's not going to cut it anymore to simply have a meditation app and an emergency mental health solution in the benefits stack.


Companies need to provide personalized, meaningful, even transformational benefits that actually MATTER to employees.

Additionally, those benefits need to showcase how much the company cares about its employees in and OUT of the office.

The good news is that providing emotional health coaching (through ELANZA, ideally) is not just good for your employees, it's good for business. Let us show you why...

After 4-6 sessions of 1-1 coaching with an ELANZA Board Certified Coach, members were asked to complete a post hoc survey. This is what they said:

  • 93% of employees that said they were “clearer and more confident in their personal or professional goals” after receiving ELANZA coaching as an employer benefit

  • 40% of employees that said they were “more effective and focused at work” after receiving ELANZA coaching as an employer benefit

  • 20% of employees said they were “more likely to stay at their company” after receiving ELANZA coaching as an employer benefit

But don't take our word for it, here's what the members said it helped them with.

This has really made a huge difference in my family planning and overall mental health. Walking into this, I was lost, felt stagnant in my career and life goals, and was really stressed about having a child but also really wanting one. The weight of all those thoughts and feelings was a lot for me. Talking with my coach opened up mind on what I really wanted in my life, and asked me tough questions or questions that I wouldn’t ever think of. It was a great way to figure out what I wanted, how I wanted to be as a person and where I saw myself going. She really never told me what to do - which is what I was hoping for sometimes haha - but she let me figure it out and we worked on it together. From my first session to my last - the difference is staggering in all aspects of my life - and most importantly helped me take the next steps to expand our family. I really can’t put into words how much my coach was such a guiding light!

My coach is an amazing person! She helped me get my thoughts organized and complete one of my goals! She helped me realize that although I might have some obstacles not to stop and to keep striving for the goal. Although it might take a little more coaching, my goal was still achieved/earned. Her coaching style made me want to continue pursuing my goal(s) so we could celebrate my accomplishment together! Thank you! You have helped me more than you probably realize!

This has been a wonderful experience and I hope my company continues our partnership. I gained a lot of clarity through this program and am more confident heading into our family planning journey.

4. Wellness coaching for fertility and family is not a point solution, it's THE solution

Put simply, ELANZA coaching is effective because it literally changes people's lives.

Coaching is the connective tissue that brings together all the different areas in a person's life, both personal and professional, at every single life stage, and provides clarity and momentum in helping people create the life they choose.

Point solutions such as fertility treatment coverage, women's health coverage or childcare coverage are great additions to any benefits stack but while they provide specific solutions for specific people at specific times in their lives, ELANZA is able to weave everything together, offering a full spectrum of support resources that help EVERY employee feel confident, clear and emotionally supported no matter where their journey leads.


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