HKS Partners With Center for BrainHealth to Help Employees Thrive

HKS is partnering with The University of Texas at Dallas’ Center for BrainHealth® on a study to improve the way the firm’s employees work, collaborate and innovate, both individually and as an organization.

The ongoing COVID pandemic has contributed to high levels of worker burnout, even though efficiency and productivity in many industries remain high in this era of hybrid work.

The center’s BrainHealthy Workplace™ program is a three-year, longitudinal study with multiple organizations that will assess participants’ current brain health, share strategies and tools to improve their individual cognitive function over time, and measure change over time.

Nearly 200 employees from HKS are participating in the Center for BrainHealth’s BrainHealthy Workplace program, which offers online trainings, think tanks and daily brain exercises over a six-month span to optimize their brain health. The program is completely confidential; the firm will have no access to individual participants’ data.

“It’s no question that our people have been under enormous amounts of pressure over the last two years of the pandemic, and we do not want work to be an additional stressor,” said Dan Noble, President and CEO of HKS. “Our partnership with the Center for BrainHealth is empowering our people to learn new strategies to improve their resilience while also supporting them in becoming more focused and innovative, to help make the most of their time at work and in their personal lives. This is a critical piece of how we’re investing in our teams’ well-being and mental health as we collectively recover from the last two years.”

This is a critical piece of how we’re investing in our teams’ well-being and mental health as we collectively recover from the last two years.

Cognitive wellness is a big focus of this year’s Mental Health Awareness Month, which takes place in May. This year’s theme, “Back to Basics,” provides foundational knowledge about mental health and addresses the effects on people’s well-being due to stress, isolation and uncertainty from pandemic living, according to Mental Health America.

Dr. Upali Nanda, HKS Global Director of Research, said HKS’ partnership with the Center for BrainHealth could be a critical tool in mapping the firm’s future, with worker wellness at the forefront.

“It is particularly timely right now when we are in this era of experimentation around the workplace, and are battling high levels of burnout,” Nanda said. “Understanding the tenets of brain health allows us to reframe the role of the workplace, leverage the potential of flex work experience and focus on peak performance of our most valuable asset- our people and their ability to think, create and innovate.”

Understanding the tenets of brain health allows us to reframe the role of the workplace.

The Center for BrainHealth is one of the country’s leading centers for pioneering cognitive neuroscience research and translation into scalable tools that enhance brain health and performance. The BrainHealth team of clinicians and coaches has worked with corporations, first responders, every branch of the military, and schools on similar trainings over the past two decades.

“We are proud to partner with HKS to incorporate the science of brain health and performance into the workplace,” said Jennifer Zientz, deputy director of programs at Center for BrainHealth. “Our practical, science-backed strategies have been shown to support improved productivity, engagement and innovation at work – all of which enhance people’s ability to thrive in their lives. Together, we are discovering how to shape the optimal workplace of the future.”

HKS’ latest collaboration with the Dallas-based Center for BrainHealth emerges from a longstanding partnership. The firm designed the center in 2007, including state-of-the-art research space and leading-edge technologies dedicated to studying the brain and strengthening its function. The project won a 2010 Design Award from the Dallas chapter of The American Institute of Architects.