Denver Public Works, through its employees, provides for the delivery of high quality, cost effective, efficient, safe services involving public infrastructure and facilities to enhance the quality of life in Denver. The 1,100 men and women of Public Works are proud to deliver the services that help to define the quality of life in Denver.
Health Links (HL): Why is the health and wellness of your employees important to you?
Denver Public Works (DPW): For Denver Public Works, the safety of our employees is top priority. As such, we consider our employees our biggest assets. We invest a great deal to ensure our employees are properly trained to be able to perform their jobs to the best of their abilities in the safest manner possible. So why not extend that thinking to include their health and wellness? By incorporating a wellness program, we’ve increased employee awareness of healthy lifestyles and the health benefits that can be experienced by those who choose to participate in our program. We’ve also found that our program increases morale and fosters a competitive spirit that enhances teamwork and the delivery our of department’s services.
HL: How will you/do you know your program is successful?
DPW: The bottom line is enrollment numbers. Our program continues to grow each year and employees are always looking for more. As such, we are always adding new and exciting educational events and activities to our wellness program. Also, we look at feedback from employees participating in the program and ask what they think might make the program better or more beneficial.
HL: What obstacles did you have to overcome to get your program started? How did you overcome them?
DPW: First, we gained the support of our Executive Management Team. We then had to scrape together a budget for costs that would be needed for the program, which also included resources to manage the program. Perseverance was how we overcame the obstacles. We also were lucky in the sense that our leadership immediately recognized the benefits of a wellness program.
HL: Do you incorporate safety along with your wellness program? If so, what does this look like?
DPW: Yes. Actually, our safety team manages our wellness program. We treat the wellness program as a part of our safety program since we believe that healthy employees are safer employees. Many of the certifications, licensures and job performance abilities our employees require revolve around their current health condition. It made sense for us to incorporate wellness directly into safety.
HL: What tip/advice would you give to a business that is considering starting a workplace wellness program?
DPW: Start small. Our first foray into wellness was a stretching program with only a handful of employees participating on a regular basis about 20 years ago. From there, you can grow it. Today, approximately 50% of our employees are participating in our wellness program which includes self-paced activities, incentives, sponsored fitness events, nutrition/health awareness classes, etc. Obtain full support from your top management, including a budget. Garner that support by showing them the endless information available touting the successes of a Wellness Program and a return on investment. And lastly, listen to your employees. You get their buy in by including them while you develop and deliver your program. They have endless ideas that you may have never thought of Include them in the process!