Health Links (HL): Why is the health and safety of your employees important to you?
Aspen Valley Hospital (AVH)): Aspen Valley Hospital is committed to be the leader in fostering our community as the healthiest in the nation. AVH values its employees and recognizes that the health and wellbeing of our employees contributes to our success. Resilient and well-balanced employees are better equipped to care for our patients and set an example for our community.
HL: What does your workplace health and safety program look like? Do you offer both components to employees?
AVH: AVH is proud to offer a robust wellness and safety program to its employees. Evolve is the name of our wellness program, because everyone is constantly becoming a healthier version of themselves. Our program provides employees with the tools and resources to improve their health status and enhance quality of life. Evolve implements health promotion strategies including educational seminars, health related challenges, and an opportunity to meet on-one-one with coaching staff to set and reach health and well-being goals. Evolve focuses on the mind, body, spirit creating a healthy work life balance. We also have a comprehensive safety program and safety committee. AVH is Cost-Containment Certified through the State Department of Labor, and is continuously implementing strategies to prevent and control physical injury. As part of the Valley Health Alliance, Aspen Valley Hospital is now a Total Worker Health Affiliate. In May of 2016, a department wide safety and wellness checklist was implemented to improve employee workspaces to promote the Culture of Safety and Total Worker Health Initiative. We are working on better aligning our wellness and safety programs to enhance the quality of life and safety for our employees. Ultimately these efforts will help us to provide positive patients experiences as well.
HL: How will you/do you know your program is successful?
AVH: Aspen Valley Hospital bases our wellness program success on employee surveys, the level of employee engagement and participation, and our HERO scoring reflected over the years. We measure our safety program success based on the number of our workers compensation claims and the cost of our total claims. We compare this data over the years to measure our progress, and to help us better focus our employee education programs focused on wellness and safety. Our Executive Team sets SMART goals for our wellness and safety program during annual strategic planning so we can measure our success, and contribute to our vision of being a leader in fostering a healthy community.
HL: What obstacles did you have to overcome to get your program started? How did you overcome them?
AVH: Aspen Valley Hospital experienced a few obstacles over the years pertaining to the wellness program. In the beginning, the wellness program was looked at as “Big Brother”, and we struggled with employee participation. Over time and with lots of education about why AVH was taking certain wellness initiatives, employees accepted the change. The Evolve Wellness Program is now regarded as a normal part of our culture. Several employees have stepped up, and become wellness champions which helped the wellness program gain traction in each department.
HL: Does your health and safety program help give back to your community?
AVH: AVH encourages employees to volunteer at their preferred organization as well as offering specific volunteer opportunities with our local senior center and Habitat for Humanity. The Evolve wellness program also reimburses employees for entry fees in various community events and races. Our Emergency Management and Trauma programs offer many safety programs throughout the year including providing free helmets to locals for summer and winter sports. Additionally, the hospital holds community health fairs multiple times throughout the year. AVH is a sponsor for We-Cycle, a local bike sharing program. We have a We-Cycle station on site, donate helmets for users of the bikes, and we have partnered with We-Cycle’s Movimiento en Bici project to bring options for a healthier lifestyle to our Latino employees.
HL: What tip/advice would you give to a business that is considering starting a workplace health and safety program?
AVH: Our advice for a business that is beginning a health and safety program would be transparency, leadership buy-in, and seeking wellness champions within the organization. Educate your employees on the strategic plan, and explain why you are introducing change. Being as transparent as possible allows the employees to digest why these initiatives are taking place, and that the employer really does care for their safety and well-being. Over time, the transparency will pay off and the program will become part of the organization culture. Having leadership buy-in sets the bar for employees. If your leaders are actively participating in your wellness or safety program, they set an example for the employees, and it becomes the norm in your organization. Developing a culture of health and safety cannot be done without leadership support. Locate the wellness champions. Find employees that our passionate about wellness and safety and have them be the information sharers and voice of the program. Seek a well-rounded representation of employees from all departments to participate in the wellness or safety committee. We have found that these champions help keep the programs fresh and energized with new ideas.