Health Links (HL): What does being a healthy business mean to your organization? How does it reflect the company's values and business goals?
White Construction Group (WCG): White Construction Group perceives being a healthy business as making an investment in the long-term success of our employees and our organization. It is no secret that healthy people are happier, more productive, and they miss less work. We can connect these three things to the business benefits of increased productivity, less downtime due to work absences and a better brand representation due to happier employees who provide a positive customer experience. However, our belief in the benefits of wellness goes a bit deeper than business benefits. When people are healthy, they have a positive understanding of themselves, they are more confident, and they have better self-esteem. What would the world look like if no one doubted their abilities, never uttered the phrase “I can’t” or never had to put limitations on the energy they bring to work? This is the “sweet spot” that we strive for. We value building community and making a positive impact. We see wellness as an important commitment that we make to our employees. As an organization, we begin building community at home with the lives and families of our employees who then go out and do great things.
HL: How has Health Links helped White Construction Group build a culture of health and safety?
WCG: Health Links has helped White Construction Group build a culture of health and safety by providing us with a tool that allows critical reflection. In today’s world, everything is increasingly intertwined and complex. Health Links provides the framework to evaluate and benchmark our workplace wellness program.
HL: What changes have you seen among your employees, their families, and the surrounding community as a result of your program(s)?
WCG: Our workplace wellness program is still relatively young, but we have seen increased engagement for company-sponsored events like the Denver Heart Walk and the Castle Rock Turkey Rock Trot. Both events are 5Ks. These are community events that support important health and welfare causes. At White Construction Group, we seek to be the industry disruptor, in the sense that we are willing to try new things and really strive to break the mold. Construction has historically been low technology and high skill. We have added a wellness platform and portal that is web-based and accessible everywhere. This allows our field employees to participate with our office employees. It also provides a lot of helpful data related to usage and opportunities for enhancement. We want to keep building and improving on the infrastructure we have already built.
HL: Does your health and safety program give back to your community?
WCG: Yes, our health and safety strategy does give back to the community. We recently launched a scholarship with the local community college. The scholarship is called “Building Community” and totals $5,000 with a generous matching grant offered by the institution which created a second $5,000 scholarship. In short, we have two construction management scholarships available with each being $5,000. These funds were made available through having a safe workplace. Through our workers’ compensation provider, we participate in their Cost Containment Certification Program and through our healthy workplace practices we were able to keep injuries low which allowed for a better experience rating. The money we saved through these two outcomes allowed us to develop a scholarship. In addition, we regularly sponsor company blood drives and invite employees to participate.
HL: What tip/advice would you give to a business that is considering starting a workplace health and safety program?
WCG: I would suggest that you critically review your workforce and their specific needs. The key with successful wellness programs is not to copy what has already been created. You want to create something for your organization that will inspire engagement and meaning. For example, every Thursday, a group of our employees participates in the “Rock Walk” which is a weekly hike to the top of the rock after which the City of Castle Rock was named. You must also be patient. Building a culture of wellness takes time and sometimes you have to revisit the drawing board.
If you have questions about White Construction Group’s Wellness Program or would like more information, please contact: Ashley Valenzuela-Ruesgen, HR Manager or Jill Dustman-Coe, Marketing Coordinator at 303-688-6924.
Health Links (HL): Why is the health and wellness of your employees important to you?
White Construction Group (WCG): Our employees are like family and we care for their safety and wellbeing. We understand the importance of living a healthy life at home and in the workplace and want to help support our employees reach their wellness goals.
(HL): What does your workplace wellness program look like?
(WCG): Our program entails Sonic Boom and the Boomerang activity tracker, monthly challenges, annual health assessment testing, 5K’s, the Heart Walk, mud runs and gym memberships along with healthy snack options during staff meetings.
(HL): How will you/do you know your program is successful?
(WCG): We receive monthly reports from the gym, track employee absenteeism, recognize and encourage visible investment in health and safety from a corporate and individual level. We also challenge employees to develop new health-friendly ideas and programs and corporately support those programs.
(HL): What obstacles did you have to overcome to get your program started? How did you overcome them?
(WCG): Employee involvement. You won’t always be able to get the whole company involved in one event, but you can offer a variety of activities and resources to fit everyone’s needs and interests. We are continually trying to come up with creative ways to build employee participation. One of those ways is providing flexible gym memberships for employees and spouses to allow convenient access to state of the art facilities located where the employees already live, work and play.
(HL): Does your wellness program help give back to your community?
((WCG): We encourage employees to demonstrate healthy habits, join charitable programs and participate in community events. We also run a recognition program that highlights the contributions of employees who give back to their communities. Our wellness program is very committed to supporting those in our community and giving back. We have done so in the past by running 5K’s supporting community members and donating blood for the Children’s Hospital Colorado and the American Red Cross. We also support the American Heart Association and participate in their yearly Heart Walk.
(HL): What tip/advice would you give to a business that is considering starting a workplace wellness program?
(WCG): Get the ball rolling by opening discussions with your employees. Keep in mind that your employees all have different interests, so ask questions and find out what they like to do and what they would like to accomplish. Making sure you offer an array of activities that fit others needs is essential. Most importantly, motivate! Whether it’s a weight loss challenge or a 5K run, keep the excitement going from the beginning to the end.