Health Links (HL): Why is the health and safety of your employees important to you?
Gunnison County (GC): To support our employees to best serve the needs of our community we need to support health, wellness, and safety of our employees. We want our work environment to be a place that represents a culture of health; through the wellness program, we can help create positive culture change. Health is multi-dimensional and we strive to support all areas and needs of our employees’ well-being.
HL: What does your workplace health and safety program look like? Do you offer both components to employees?
GC: The wellness and safety programs are run separately. The wellness program encourages employees’ personal and professional productivity, and physical, mental, and social well-being by fostering a culturally sensitive worksite environment and programs that support anyone’s desire to make healthy lifestyle choices.
GC: How will you/do you know your program is successful?
PCG: We track success through employee participation and feedback. Additionally, through wellness committee attendance and participation.
HL: What obstacles did you have to overcome to get your program started? How did you overcome them?
GC: Continuity of wellness program coordination has been a challenge. A funded wellness coordinator has supported consistency in program development and implementation. Funding to administer the program has been and continues to be an obstacle. We have applied for different funding opportunities, including Health Links Kick-Start funds. We work to offer programs and implement policies that are low or no cost and partner with local community members.
HL: Does your health and safety program help give back to your community?
GC: The wellness committee is working to invite other organizations to join our wellness initiates and programs so their employees can have access to health and safety resources.
HL: What tips/advice would you give to a business that is considering starting a workplace health and safety program?
GC: Have management support and buy-in, this is essential to the success of your program. Administer a simple wellness survey to learn what employee’s needs, interests, and wants are regarding a health and safety program. Include other employees in the planning and implantation of your program, maybe through a small committee.
Look for creative ideas that can be implemented at a low or no cost. Policies and environmental changes that support health and wellness such as a tobacco-free policy, breastfeeding friendly environment, family-friendly policies, or healthy meeting guidelines are often no-cost changes. Partner with local community members or organizations to offer free or low-cost programs or presentations