It is a little-known fact that the State Fair of Texas operates year-round with more than 60 full-time employees. There is no “off-season” for Fair employees, as plans for the next year’s Fair begin before the current Fair even comes to a close. While planning and executing the annual 24-day-long exposition can be time-consuming and stressful, the State Fair of Texas prioritizes the mental health and well-being of its employees. The State Fair provides this type of support year-round, but we want to take this time to expand the conversation during National Mental Health Awareness Month.
Our Human Resources (HR) team does a great job of keeping this topic at the forefront. Rudy Martinez, Human Resources Generalist for the State Fair of Texas, joined the full-time team in 2022. With 12 years of experience in the HR field, he was excited to begin his new journey at the State Fair of Texas. One of his main goals is to provide a safe and open space for our employees to discuss mental health. Rudy wants all State Fair of Texas employees, seasonal or full-time, to know his door is always open.
“As a leader in HR, I am very passionate and vocal about this topic, and see this as one of my top responsibilities. No matter how big or small, know the State Fair of Texas provides you a safe space.”
One of Rudy’s core initiatives was reinstating monthly Lunch and Learns for our full-time staff. Each month a new topic emerges with a presentation and open discussion. To kick off 2023, Rudy began his series with the topic of wellness.
“Wellness plays a big role in our everyday life; therefore, I knew this would be the perfect first Lunch and Learn of the year,” said Martinez. “As an HR professional, I find it extremely important to be vocal about these topics in the workplace, as your mental and physical well-being plays a big factor in your personal life and career. Those two go hand-in-hand, as the negative effects of one can take a toll on the other.”
Rudy’s presentation began with an introduction to the multiple dimensions of wellness: emotional, financial, social, spiritual, occupational, physical, intellectual, and environmental. He emphasized the importance of work-life balance.
Image from https://workplacewellnesslab.com/
Emma Christensen, Director of Compliance for the State Fair of Texas, expresses that her recent department and role transition has been a journey of adaptation with her new tasks, workload, and team, but support from the organization’s key players has solidified that work-life harmony and mental health awareness are a priority for the Fair’s employees, and for that, she is truly grateful.
“Having a coworker you can be totally open with and who shows concern for your mental health is a key component to thriving in the workplace. It’s a game changer when someone asks ‘How are you doing?’ and you don’t have to give a knee-jerk response like ‘doing well’ or ‘things are fine,’ said Christensen. “I found this person last year in an amazingly supportive seasonal employee who helped me make it through when I was overwhelmed and struggling to keep it all going.”
Additionally, Emma is making a goal for herself to spread out her time off in 2023. Whether it be a day to clear her head or mark off to-dos in her personal life, she understands the importance of taking more time for herself in the months leading up to the Fair.
“I’ve learned I need to actually take days off. Living far from family, I always tend to store my vacation days so I can use them all to see them,” said Christensen. “While I love a visit to South Dakota, it is generally not a vacation and can be really exhausting trying to see everyone and do everything. This year I’m trying to be sure to take days off, even when my plans are to just stay home.”
As full-time employees of the State Fair of Texas, we are provided with several resources to excel in the areas of wellness. Find an overview of the resources below used by State Fair of Texas Employees. While these resources are included in the Fair’s health care package, they may also be covered by yours, reach out to your Human Resources office today to benefit from these amazing resources.
Physical Health Resources:
Peloton 1-year Access
The State Fair of Texas health plan benefits include special offers from Peloton to help stay active and live a healthier lifestyle. At no additional cost, employees receive 1-year access to the Peloton App or a 3-month waiver on an existing All-Access Membership.
Apple Fitness +
Apple Fitness+ is included as part of our health plan benefits at no additional cost – and now all you need is an iPhone. Apple Fitness+ has classes ranging from HIIT to Pilates to Strength to Yoga, with new workouts and meditations added weekly.
Mental Health Resources:
Rally® is an intuitive, personalized product with programs for losing weight, reducing stress, quitting smoking, and much more. They provide daily recommendations tailored for each employee and give all the support along the way. Employees earn rewards as they go and can easily track progress, making it a snap to stay on target.
Talkspace is a digital behavioral technology healthcare company. Its signature psychotherapy product connects our employees with a network of thousands of licensed therapists through an easy-to-use and HIPAA-compliant web and mobile platform. With Talkspace, our employees can send their dedicated therapists text, video, and voice messages anytime, and engage in live video sessions. Talkspace also provides psychiatry services, including prescription fulfillment, adolescent therapy, and couples counseling. To date, the service has been used by over 1.5 million people.
Self Care by AbleTo
Our employees can access coping tools, meditations, and more at no additional cost. Self Care by AbleTo is designed to help our employees understand their emotional well-being and help reduce stress and worry.
Live and Work Well by Optum
Live and Work Well by Optum by Optum is used by our employees to access videos, articles, and resources explaining a range of self-help and professional care options that can help them be informed and take action.
Employee Assistance Program (EAP)
Through our EAP benefit, our employees are eligible for confidential support for emotional and mental health. They are able to call and speak with an experienced EAP specialist who will listen to their situation and provide support to help them manage stress, find support for anxiety, depression, grief, or substance abuse, improve relationships at home or work, find childcare or elder care resources, and cope with chronic conditions.
Through empathetic coaching and world-class technology, YourMoneyLine helps our employees find financial stability (their situation is good) and confidence (they feel good about it). By partnering with the State Fair of Texas as an employee benefit, YML is committed to making healthy money practices more accessible, equitable, and impactful for all.
Principal Financial Group® is dedicated to improving the wealth and well-being of our employees—helping more than 45M customers plan, protect, invest, and retire. Along the way, they commit to supporting the communities where they do business, improving our planet, and building a diverse and inclusive workforce.