What does being a healthy business mean to your organization? How does it reflect the company’s values and business goals?
Having a healthy business must go beyond just targeting physical health (nutrition and physical activity) and encompass a truly holistic approach to wellness, which is ingrained into the culture. This is what we strive for at Children’s. We recognize the many dimensions of wellness: physical, emotional, spiritual, intellectual, environmental, social and occupational, and make sure we have resources and programming to support these areas. In doing so we hope to foster a positive, engaged team and a healthy workforce.
Being a healthy business is something that we do to set an example for our patients, visitors and community around us. We want to not just be a leader in children’s health, but also be a leader for healthy communities. This is demonstrated in the organization’s “The Leadership Promise” and “Reimagine 2020”, our strategic plan. The Leadership Promise is a set of 4 commitments from our leaders/organization to our team members. One of these is the promise of a safe and healthy workplace for all employees. Reimagine 2020 outlines population health as one of our strategy priorities. Through this, we are focusing on prevention and implementing programming that keeps kids out of our doors.
How has Health Links helped Children's Hospital build a culture of health and safety?
By taking the Health Links assessment, we were able to determine areas where we needed to improve, such as engaging leaders and inclusion. We worked with our advisor, Kaylee Rivera, to develop a strategy for how we could improve in our deficient areas. One such area was engaging leadership and making them more present in wellness events and programs. We were able to do this by creating “Wellness Walks”. Each week a different member of our leadership team (such as the COO, CNO, etc.) led a 20 minute walk through campus. Employees were welcome to participate in any or all of these walks. This showed that our leadership was committed to the health of our employees by “walking the talk” and promoting taking time of your day to take care of yourself. This was so successful, that we were able to implement the same model with leaders in our southern Colorado locations and our South Campus location.
From there, we made sure our leaders were visibly present at our wellness events and programs, such as our annual Platinum Club celebration, where we celebrated the team members who participated in the wellness program to the highest degree. Not only did we have our Chief Nursing Offer and COO speak at the event, we also had at least 4 other leaders who were present at the event because they reached the highest level in our wellness program.
What changes have you seen among your employees, their families, and the surrounding community as a result of your program(s)?
In addition to the physical changes we have seen (such as improved nutrition, increased physical activity, reduced stress and improvements in our population’s biometrics), we have also seen a shift in the culture. Our employees are excited about wellness and excited about all the opportunities that are available to them as one of our employees. This is demonstrated in our annual employee survey, where we have seen an increase in engagement and participation, both overall, but specifically in wellness. We have also been able to implement many programs that are available to spouses and dependents, so our employees know that we not only support them, but their whole family.
In terms of the community, we are setting an example and leading the way towards population health. We are able to implement things here and share those best practices with our community partners. In the past year and a half we have been working with an internal multidisciplinary group, in addition to community partners, to create dialog and awareness around mental health stigma and promotion. You can view the video that was created as part of this work here. (scroll down to the video). Employee Wellness has led a workgroup to integrate this work into employee programs, events and communications. Internally we will be launching a “story-core” type series for team members to tell their mental health story and its impact on our everyday life.
Does your health and safety program help give back to your community?
We have over 50 community and outreach events each year throughout the community. We had an annual community project with our executives at Aurora Public School.
In keeping with our holistic approach to wellness, in 2018 we will be focusing more on the social dimension of wellness and the health benefits of giving back. We are working on a menu of group events, to strengthen the social connections between team members, and offering a number of group volunteer opportunities. Research suggests there are health benefits of giving back including increased happiness and positive emotions. Fostering strong social connections is not only good for team moral and employee engagement, but for the strength of our community.
What tip/advice would you give to a business that is considering starting a workplace health and safety program?
Engage your leaders and make them publicly state their commitment to health and safety. By doing so, employees will not just hear but understand the commitment from an organizational level. We started to see a shift in the wellness culture when the leaders became engaged (and not just participating, but also communicating the programs and offerings). Appreciate the “little wins” as they will create momentum and can contribute to a shift in culture.