The City of Centennial is proud of its reputation for innovation and unique way of doing business. As a contract city with a small core staff of just 60 employees, we work closely as a team to serve a community of more than 107,000 in the south metro Denver area.
Health Links (HL): Why is the health and wellness of your employees important to you?
City of Centennial (CC): The City believes healthy employees are more engaged and morale is boosted when wellness opportunities are offered through the workplace. To support this, the City created a cross-departmental Wellness Committee in 2015. The Centennial Wellness Program strives to promote well-being through resources, events, and learning opportunities, fostering a positive culture and increased quality of life for City employees.
(HL): What does your workplace wellness program look like?
(CC): Even in its first year, the City has had a robust program in place. Centennial has an on-site fitness center, annual fitness reimbursement program, chair massages, lunch and learns, retirement planning, flu shot clinic, flexible work schedules, and a team wellness challenge that engaged the majority of our employees. The team challenge included many areas of wellness, such as: personal budgeting, reading a book, hiking a “14-er”, doing a random act of kindness for a coworker, getting a massage, participating in a fitness class, donating to a food or clothing drive, and bringing lunch to work for a week.
(HL): How will you/do you know your program is successful?
(CC): Success of the program is measured by employee participation. A survey is conducted near the end of the year to gain feedback about the program and learn what staff would like to see in future programs. In 2015, more than 82 percent of employees said they learned that wellness includes the physical, social, financial, emotional, and mental well-being of a person. The theme for 2016 program is “Make it Personal”. Staff will have an opportunity to take an online health risk assessment and the Committee will provide activities and resources to help employees personalize their wellness in ten identified areas.
(HL): What obstacles did you have to overcome to get your program started? How did you overcome them?
(CC): We have a very busy work environment, and employees find it difficult to commit to repeated or ongoing wellness activities. Our kick-off was National Walking Day to start up “Walking Wednesdays”. We had good participation at the first walking session, and then our numbers declined the following weeks. This also occurred when we offered free yoga in the park in June. We had an excellent turnout during the first week, and then we saw participation go down. So we plan to make future adjustments, such as more one-time events rather than ongoing activities. To learn more about what staff wanted, we offered a variety of activities and measured participation to gauge interest to find the right balance for the program to be successful.
(HL): Do you incorporate safety along with your wellness program? If so, what does this look like?
(CC): Our safety program is currently separate from the Wellness program. However, the City does offer CPR/AED training, lunch and learns with the South Metro Fire Department, work station ergonomics evaluations, required Non-Discrimination and Harassment Prevention training, active shooter trainings, and has an employee who manages the City’s Emergency Preparedness program.
(HL): Does your wellness program help give back to your community?
(CC): Yes, our Administrative Services Department volunteered for Project C.U.R.E., packing medical supplies in the spring. Employees also joined efforts with our Youth Commission in a food drive for Project Share. With the help of staff, contractors, and the citizens of Centennial, almost 500 items were donated to help feed 114 families for the holiday season.
(HL): What tip/advice would you give to a business that is considering starting a workplace wellness program?
(CC): Forming a cross-departmental Wellness Committee is integral to having a successful program by creating multiple champions for the program throughout the organization. Executive level buy-in is vital to the success of a program. When the Committee presented this program to the City’s Executive Team, we received immediate and enthusiastic support.