The Board of Water Works provides safe, reliable water to the City of Pueblo and realizes the value of healthy, happy employees. Now in their wellness program’s fourth year, the Board of Water Works of Pueblo has built quite the repertoire of activities and services, including an on-site health fairs, quarterly wellness challenges, free flu vaccinations, and wellness awards, such as the highly coveted “Wellness Warrior.” With its many prizes and program offerings, this Pueblo employer keeps worksite wellness fun, inclusive, and on-budget.
Why is the health and wellness of your employees important to you?
The health and wellness of our employees is important, because a healthy employee is a happy employee. We encourage a healthy lifestyle, so that employees can reduce or eliminate medications and plan for a long and active retirement in the future.
Tell us about your worksite wellness program/activities.
Our WWW (Water Works Wellness) program consists of an annual health fair, quarterly wellness challenges, an annual tracking program to log physical activities, serving healthy snacks in meetings, encouraging annual health and dental check-ups, and providing health and wellness information and tips via emails and digital bulletin boards. Each year we partner with Parkview Hospital Mobile Nurses, Pinnacol Assurance (workers’ compensation provider), and Anthem Blue Cross (medical provider) in offering on-site health fairs for employees. The Water Works pays for flu vaccinations, lipid profiles, PSA, and bone density screenings. Employees earn points by participating in the various wellness activities. Employees who participate in quarterly wellness challenges are eligible for gift cards. At the end of the year, the points for all WWW events are tallied, and employees may be eligible for a wellness award. The employee with the most points is the highly coveted “Wellness Warrior.”
How do you measure the success of your program?
We are in our fourth year of the program and the number of participants has increased each year. We have an impressive 68 percent participation. It is becoming more socially acceptable and comfortable for employees to participate.
What obstacles did you have to overcome to get your program started? How did you overcome them?
We asked employees to “sign up” and track all their physical activities. Employees did not like having to track all their physical activities and submit their points at the end of the year. To solve this, we established focus groups to gain feedback and implement changes. Employees no longer need to “sign up” to participate in the beginning of the year and are not required to track their physical activities. Those that want to track their physical activities can do so for extra points. Employees participate only in the WWW challenges they want. We came up with some fun challenges and rewards leading to our success, although, creating new challenges and communication is still a concern having three different locations and shift workers.
What tip/advice would you give to a business that is considering starting a worksite wellness program?
Gather a committee or a focus group to help with designing the program that best fits your organization. Don’t worry about not having a big budget. Employees will participate for the fun, camaraderie, or for their own personal health reasons. Our employees thrive on the friendly competition. Any prize awarded is a bonus for them.
Keep going! Not every challenge, prize, or event may work. Your wellness program will continuously evolve, allowing you to tweak as you go and learn what works for your organization. Everyone may not participate in the beginning, but eventually they will want to join in the fun and share in the success others are having.