Health Links [HL]: Why did your business decide become a Health Links Certified Healthy Business?
Vail Valley Foundation [VVF]: Healthy and safe employees are the key to success for any business. Healthy employees are happier employees and ultimately more productive and engaged in their work. Health and wellness programs have always been a priority for the VVF and by partnering with Health Links, we are able to provide even more offerings to our employees and we get the support we need to grow our wellness program. It also created a network of local businesses that value the health and wellness of their employees and we get a lot out of being a member of that network.
HL: What benefits did the Certification bring to your business?
VVF: More support and a tangible framework on which to build and grow our wellness program. Also, fresh and new ideas from other community members!
HL: How has this Certification changed the way your business thinks about health promotion and safety?
VVF: Prior to our certification, health and wellness programs were just a part of our company's culture. Now it makes us part of a much bigger initiative - the health and wellness of our whole professional community in Eagle County. Instead of just looking internally at our own staff, we are partnering with other businesses to support the well-being of the greater working community.
HL: How has your employee health and safety program given back to your community?
VVF: We have a volunteer policy in place now that supports every employee's desire to give back to the community - 3 days paid per year by the foundation in order to support other local non-profits.
Health Links (HL): Why is the health and wellness of your employees important to you?
Vail Valley Foundation (VVF): Healthy and safe employees are the key to success for any business. Healthy employees are typically happier employees and ultimately more productive. Health and wellness programs continue to be a focus for many organizations and having a successful program is only another reason the VVF is such a great place to work.
HL: Please describe your business’ workplace wellness program/activities.
VVF: We aim to provide smaller wellness initiatives on a weekly basis and more robust events on a monthly basis. Examples include providing fresh fruit-infused water, healthy snack options in the break room, a lunch hour walking program, ski and snowboard mornings, prizes and recognition for participation, month-long wellness challenges, free yoga, extensive financial planning tools and resources, an employee assistance program, strong health care coverage, flu shots, etc.
HL: How will you/do you know your program is successful?
VVF: We consistently get feedback from our employees on the different wellness initiatives we implement. If something doesn’t work well for our specific group or even one department at the VVF, we adjust it to make it better or we may scratch it entirely and try something else. We also have started collecting feedback from employees formally and hope to make some positive changes with the information we receive. Participation numbers and employee satisfaction are the most meaningful data for us today as we measure the success of our program. Over time, we hope to see improved employee retention and lower health care costs.
HL: What obstacles did you have to overcome to get your program started? How did you overcome them?
VVF: The budget in place for our wellness program has probably been the biggest obstacle, as I’m sure is the case for most businesses. We are constantly looking for free or low-cost programs that will be relevant and meaningful for our employees. We have learned to do more with less and capitalize on the low-cost ideas that are highly valued by our people. Our employees also have a lot on their plates with the upcoming World Alpine Ski Championships in February of 2015; so finding ways to integrate our wellness program into the workday has been a priority.
HL: What tip/advice would you give to a business that is considering starting a workplace wellness program?
VVF: Think big, but start small! If you can slowly introduce some small wellness initiatives into the workplaces, you will gain employee appreciation and you will start to see positive changes in your work environment. Your successes will begin to snowball and easily build over time into a more robust and formal health and wellness program.