Health Links (HL): Why is the health and safety of your employees important to you?
Children's Hospital (CH): Children’s Colorado believes that we must take care of ourselves so that we can deliver the best quality care to our patients. Our employee wellness and safety programs, as well as our environment, aim to provide our employees with the encouragement, support and resources to engage in their health, and foster happy, connected and productive members of the organization.
HL: What does your workplace health and safety program look like? Do you offer both components to employees?
CH: Children’s offers a wide array of wellness programs and resources and puts forth a large effort to maintain a healthy nutritional and physical environment at the hospital. We know that our team members spend a great deal of time at work and we want to provide them with resources and healthiest environment possible. Children’s Colorado offers a comprehensive well-being program that encourages team members to be accountable for their lifestyle choices and rewards them for maintaining or improving their health. Team members on a Children’s medical plan are offered onsite and lab biometric screenings and are rewarded with significantly discounted premiums if they meet certain wellness requirements. All team members are encouraged to engage in our online wellness platform, which offers online webinars, a fitness device and gym tracker, online nutrition courses, and a variety of other resources. We have an onsite gym on the Anschutz campus, which offers free yoga and meditation classes, and we offer a variety of resiliency and stress management programs. We also recognize the importance of family to our team members offer discounted bike helmets to children and free passenger safety (car seat) checks for kids of all ages.
HL: How will you/do you know your program is successful?
CH: We measure the success of our program through short and long-term goals regarding reduction of health risk cost and prevalence, advancing a culture of health, and improved productivity. Each of these aspects has specific goals attached to measureable data from medical and pharmaceutical data, employee opinion survey responses, wellness champion participation and feedback as well as program participation analytics.
HL: What obstacles did you have to overcome to get your program started? How did you overcome them?
CH: To gain leadership buy-in, we focused on alignment between the health of our team members with the Children’s Colorado mission to provide pediatric care. With education and evidence, leadership has been able to see the value of a wellness program. By investing in our team members today, we can prevent and reduce the cost of many health risks, and support healthier and happier employees, which has been proven to lead to increased engagement and productivity. Another obstacle we faced was gaining trust from our team members. To overcome this barrier, we strongly communicated the reasoning behind our wellness program, and the importance of a healthy environment. Most importantly, we emphasized that the wellness program is a benefit for team members and that their privacy is of utmost importance. We communicated a great deal through our wellness champions and worked with internal communications.
HL: Does your health and safety program help give back to your community?
CH: Through the Healthy Hospital initiative, Children’s Colorado aims to create a health and wellness culture and environment for our patients, families, visitors and team members not only within the walls of Children's Colorado, but also throughout the community. Healthy Hospital provides physical activity, nutrition, and emotional and resiliency opportunities so that everyone at Children’s Colorado can engage and nurture their health when they are with us.
HL: What tip/advice would you give to a business that is considering starting a workplace health and safety program?
CH: We would recommend two things:
Utilize qualitative and quantitative data to assess the risks, needs and interests of your population. This will not only help provide programming and resources that your team members truly desire, but will allow you to objectively measure change and success in your organization.
Ensure that you have a thorough communications plan to educate your team members about the benefits you offer them. Wellness champions are a key aspect to a successfully communicated program.