By providing employees with fun programs such as "Biggest Loser", lunch N' learns and staff sports, its no wonder Douglas County School District had 1,800 participants this past year! They continually come up with new and innovative ways to promote, motivate and support employee health and safety, making their impact on employee well being sustainable.
Health Links (HL): Why is the health and wellness of your employees important to you?
Douglas County School District (DCSD): It is great to hear the success stories and see our employees having fun in DCSD wellness activities. For example, the DCSD Transportation Department put together a Biggest Loser challenge and collectively lost 260 pounds in one location (100 employees). It is really exciting and motivating to see those kinds of healthy and fun things happening. Other opportunities, such as staff sports, are motivating to employees, students and their families as wellness has a trickle-down effect in organizations.
(HL): How will you/do you know your program is successful?
(DCSD): We base our success on the number of employees who participate each year. Our online portal tracks who is engaged. This past year, we had 1,800 participants. We also find our success in individual stories and the Super Champs who experience challenges together. We hear conversations about the challenges and stories in our hallways. The verbal and written feedback we receive and the personal feel-good stories we hear helps us track the success of our program.
(HL): What obstacles did you have to overcome to get your program started? How did you overcome them?
IDCSD): One of the biggest obstacles we face is that we have so many different sites. This sometimes makes it difficult to communicate with our staff. We rely heavily on what we call our “Super Champs” in each building and department to help spread the word and drive our communication. Information is also readily available via our online portal.
(HL): Do you incorporate safety along with your wellness program? If so, what does this look like?
(DCSD): Safety is most certainly incorporated into the program because it is part of the DCSD Strategic Plan. We work closely with Risk Management regarding worker’s compensation claims and leaves of absence to see where programs and activities may need to be adjusted. We perform ergonomic assessments and provide lunch and learn sessions to address particular wellness topics. For example, we are creating a new program in partnership with the DCSD Transportation Department. There are new rules and regulations set by the State of Colorado that drivers must follow in order to keep their licenses. In support of this, we have created a pilot program to provide our 400 drivers with classes and information to address their specific needs. We want to support our drivers as they work through the changes.
(HL): What tip/advice would you give to a business that is considering starting a workplace wellness program?
(DCSD): It doesn’t require a lot of money to get things done. There are enough people who are passionate about health and wellness in their own lives who want to pass it on to others, so finding those key people is extremely important.
Create a strong and engaging committee, as no one person can do it alone. Being able to have a group of diverse people from different avenues is incredibly helpful. Everyone has great ideas, so it is so beneficial to come together and create goals based off of input from as many participants as possible.