Health Links (HL): What does being a healthy business mean to your organization? How does it reflect the company's values and business goals?
Mesa County Valley School District 51 (MCV): Being a healthy business is important to our organization. It is important to not only live a healthy life as an employee but also as a community member. Our employees are able to take health and safety information they learned within the organization and apply it to all walks of life. We strive for our employees to become their best selves. Employee engagement in wellness helps to reduce health care costs. School District 51 understands that their employees are their best assets and continues to invest in their employees' health while offering education and a safe environment for everyone.
HL: How has Health Links helped you build a culture of health and safety?
MCV: Health Links has helped our organization build a culture of health and safety by allowing us to have a better understanding of our wellness culture as a whole. We have now identified the areas of health and safety in which we are doing well and the areas in which we need to improve. We are able to make improvements to better build a culture of health and safety for our organization.
HL: What changes have you seen among your employees, their families, and the surrounding community as a result of your program(s)?
MCV: We have seen more awareness of overall health. Our wellness program offers annual health screenings for employees and spouses. From these health screenings, participants are more in tune with their health. Employees and spouses also engage in ongoing wellness challenges. These challenges are fun and participants tend to get their whole families and their students involved. Students are able to see their teachers engaging in new wellness habits, like drinking more water and eating more fruits and vegetables, and can implement these healthy habits into their own lives!
HL: Does your health and safety program give back to your community?
MCV: The School District 51 health and safety programs are an integral part of community wellness. Since our business is an entire school district, School District 51 staff are able to set a positive example for the students they are teaching, hoping the students will learn these healthy habits and continue with these habits. School District 51 promotes various community events and health and wellness organizations in the community. One specific example is Bike to Work Day. School District 51 helps to sponsor this event and works to get the employees and students involved in this day.
HL: What tip/advice would you give to a business that is considering starting a workplace health and safety program?
MCV: When getting started, look at your organization's long-term wellness and safety goals and determine a strategic plan. Having a strategic plan lets you plan your goals for each year and also helps you measure whether or not your wellness and safety efforts have been met. Know your audience and listen to your employees. Don't make wellness and safety hard. It should be easy and fun! Offer programs that your employees want to participate in. Programs should be educational and motivating. Create a wellness team that can help get the word out about wellness and promote your programs.
Implementing any new program takes time. Be patient and resilient. Workplace health and safety may be new to your organization and employees may not want to participate. Just keep working hard and educating employees. Eventually, these new health and safety outlooks will click. Over time, your culture will change and interest in wellness and safety will grow. In the end, you will find an increase in participation and also find that your employees are overall healthier.