Health Links (HL): What does being a healthy business mean to your organization? How does it reflect the company's values and business goals?
Community Hospital (CH): Being a healthy business is important to our organization for our culture and commitment to employee health and wellness. We continually strive to promote the importance of a safe and healthy work environment to demonstrate that our employees are our most important asset. Employee engagement helps with reduced health care costs and we want to provide the best working environment for our organization.
HL: How has Health Links helped your organization build a culture of health and safety?
CH: Health Links has helped us build a culture of health and safety by providing additional support through the healthy business advising sessions, setting goals with a healthy business action plan, and offering resources to share ideas and knowledge with other businesses. These are valuable tools that can assist with implementing ideas and continually striving to grow our wellness program.
HL: What changes have you seen among your employees, their families, and the surrounding community as a result of your program(s)?
CH: Employees are excited and look forward to participating in on-going wellness activities. They have included their spouses and families to attend organized events such as our local Tour of the Valley bike ride, annual health screenings, and wellness challenges like our Coloring Contest and Great Holiday Weigh challenge. Participants enjoy the team support from coworkers and the community involvement encourages fun and active participation all year long.
HL: Does your health and safety program help give back to the community? If yes, how?
CH: Yes, our organization is very active in the community with the support of our CEO and Senior Leadership. Community Hospital hosts the Tour of the Valley, a local 30–100-mile bike ride throughout the valley and sponsors other local events such as the Mesa County Bike to Work Day. Last year, with the assistance of our local Lion's Club, a 1k walking path with multiple outdoor fitness stations was completed on the south side of the hospital campus. Employees and community members are encouraged to participate and enjoy the use of the new Lion's Loop for their physical activity.
HL: What tip/advice would you give to a business that is considering starting a workplace health and safety program?
CH: Offer programs that employees have an interest and look forward to participating in. Currently, our Wellness Committee meets monthly to share ideas and suggestions to implement the programs that employees want. Employees are encouraged to communicate their ideas and suggestions. Also, having the support of your organization's leadership is key to sustaining a strong and robust wellness program.
Health Links (HL): Why is the health and wellness of your employees important to you?
Community Hospital (CH): The health and wellbeing of our employees is important on so many different levels and for the overall culture of our organization. We want to ensure that we are providing the best working environment for employees not only for their health, but also for recruitment and retention of staff. Additionally, our wellness program is tied to our benefit design, and we want to ensure our program is helping to drive down costs. Our program is just one additional way we demonstrate that our employees are our most important asset.
(HL): What does your workplace wellness program look like?
(CH): Our wellness committee really drives the success we’ve seen from our interventions and programs. It is made up of representatives from different levels and departments of our organization. They work hard to determine employee interests for the programs we offer and they listen to feedback to see what we can improve on. As far as wellness activities, we offer four quarterly challenges per year. Three of those challenges are the same every year due to high interest and participation from employees and one challenge per year is a new, innovative way to keep employees engaged. We do a Heart Healthy Challenge in February, a 6-week Pedometer Challenge during the summer months and the Great Holiday Weigh, which is now a 13-week (October-January) challenge because of the high popularity. The fourth challenge is always different, but two of the more recent ones were a financial fitness challenge and a summer bucket list challenge.
(HL): How will you/do you know your program is successful?
(CH): We conduct satisfaction surveys after challenges are completed, but we really determine success from the testimonials we receive from employees. Our Wellness Committee works really hard to gather that feedback from employees throughout the organization. We look at participation and how many employees fully completed challenges to determine success. We are also able to measure success from HRA and health screening data annually.
(HL): What obstacles did you have to overcome to get your program started? How did you overcome them?
(CH): Every organization has unique challenges due to the nature of their business, and we’re no different. Being a hospital, we’re open 24/7 so being able to offer programs for all employees all of the time was a big challenge that we worked hard to overcome. We offer health screenings at different days/times to reach as many people as possible and we offer challenges and programs that can be done at any time of the day. We also have multiple locations, so including employees from all of our locations has been another challenge we’ve had to work on.
(HL): Do you incorporate safety along with your wellness program? If so, what does this look like?
(CH): We do. We have a safety committee that we consult with often and we also work closely with our workman’s compensation representative to make sure that whatever we’re doing is in line with the safety policies we have and that we’re not promoting something that will injure our staff. We’re currently building a new hospital that will have a mile-long walking path with exercise stations, so we will collaborate with the safety committee on that. It’s important that we work together and always know what the other is doing to provide the best possible program to employees.
(HL): Does your wellness program help give back to your community?
(CH): We try to as much as possible. Our CEO is very active and we’re always supporting local events and races. We actually host two events each year, the Magnet Run 5k and the Tour of the Valley, which is a 30-100 mile bike ride over the Colorado National Monument. We also sponsored the HITS triathlon series in May. We promote employee participation in these local events and we award points to employees for participating. We also award points for volunteering in the community as well.
(HL): What tip/advice would you give to a business that is considering starting a workplace wellness program?
(CH): The most important thing to remember is that you have to listen to employees. If you’re able to offer employees programs that they’re interested in, they are much more likely to be involved and participate. It’s also important to understand the level of health literacy for those you’re working with and not to offer programs that are too complex if people aren’t ready.