Success Stories

Jefferson County / Jefferson County, CO

Certified Healthy Workplace™ Leader

Well-Being Starts at the Top, With the Ears. Jefferson County is Listening to Employees.


With 580,000 residents and 3,000 employees, Jefferson County has only one mission—to promote the safety, health, and well-being of the Jefferson County community and the stewardship of its resources.

How does this government organization strive to meet its lofty goal? It starts with listening.

Jefferson County has been a Health Links® Certified Healthy Workplace™ since 2018. In 2022, it received the Health Links Family-Friendly Workplace Award and continues to make meaningful efforts to prioritize Total Worker Health®. In the condensed Q&A, we spoke with Tina Wise, GCBA, director of total rewards and human resources, and Erika Mathews, wellness coordinator, on how Jefferson County works to improve employee lives.


- Q&A -


What is the value in being a healthy workplace?

Tina: It helps build morale, it helps with engagement, and it helps support employees. One of the things that we often hear from employees during stay or exit interviews is that the best thing about the county is the wellness program. They appreciate all the different elements we focus on like career, community, financial, physical, and social well-being. We listen to their needs, and they tell us that they feel like their voice is heard.


What is involved in the well-being programs you offer employees?

Tina: We hit on our elements of career, community, financial, physical, and social. For career, we do development and training internally and offer external resources. We partner with companies for tuition reimbursement discounts and offer career fairs. We have a lot of mentoring going on which kind of falls into community too. For physical wellness, we have a lot of on-site fitness centers throughout the county and partnered with United Healthcare on the One Pass Select gym pass. We have walking maps around different facilities. And then socially, we offer employee appreciation events and get folks together as much as we can.


How does leadership demonstrate commitment to employee health, safety and well-being?

Erika: I personally have been asked to speak about our activities at leadership meetings and that's a really good way for the wellness program to get in front of these managers and supervisors to educate them on what we offer. A lot of times, when we have new managers, they don't know about the wellness program, so I always appreciate when leadership reaches out to me directly to say, “we want you to come promote this program to our meeting.”

Tina: We've had a lot of employee turnover the last couple of years in supervisors and so we're trying to offer training to explain what their role is in supporting employees. We've worked with Kaiser Permanente to create a psychologically safe and healthy workforce training that we just started rolling out. We're hopeful that will start to help build back up our culture. Eventually we will host a class for employees to also learn how to be on the receiving end of this training. We are working to offer resources and tools for them to be able to have these conversations.


What are some of the highlighted ways that you support employees as caregivers?

Tina: We have pilot programs where people can bring their newborns to work until they're able to walk. We're trying to work within the community to get some subsidies or discounts for daycare expenses. We have paid time off for different things that are needed for family life.

Erika: I think the flexible work schedule is by far the greatest benefit to parents. Whether that's flexing your time or working from home, working a hybrid schedule, I think that really is something that everyone benefits from, not just parents.


Have other well-being programs stood out as the most impactful to employees or their families?

Erika: One offering that we get a lot of positive feedback on consistently is our 4-week challenges we do in partnership with Kaiser Permanente. Household members are eligible to participate in them and they range in health topics from different pillars of well-being. Participants are eligible for prizes for participating as part of our medical plan premium incentive program.


What are some of the biggest changes you’ve seen in your programs since partnering with Health Links?

Tina: It has been helpful to receive acknowledgement as being a Certified Healthy Workplace. Leadership is always looking for return on investment (ROI) and we always try to get in front of them and talk about it with the public. These are citizens tax dollars—our citizens want to know why we are spending money on employee health.

Erika: Completing the Health Links annual assessment helps us notice patterns and identify areas that we can improve in. And meeting with our advisor is always helpful to talk about ways that we can improve in what we're already doing.


What advice would each of you give to another organization like yours looking to create a healthier, safer place for employees?

Tina: For us, it's been working well to get to know people and find out what their needs and wants are. Dig in and try to uncover what your values are and what you can offer your own people, regardless of what other cities and counties are doing.


How do employees share feedback?

Tina: Our people aren't shy about telling you what they want. In any given day, they will call and email us, totally unsolicited. We do regular surveys soliciting feedback on our different programs. We listen to employees, we're very open to feedback and adjusting things. We try not to over-survey people, so our surveys are few and far between, but they're meaningful.


What are you excited about for your company culture in the future?

Tina: It's our ongoing mission to make sure people know that they can talk to anyone they want to. If they don't feel like they're being heard, they can bring that up. The new training will be exciting, and I think go a long way because employees are going to see that they recommended this, and we are doing it.

Erika: I really do think that the leadership trainings that we have been working on are going to be a big step in the culture moving forward and being more open and accepting and having those communication skills to improve the culture.


Health Links Annual Event 2023

Trail mixer

Smoothie bike health event

Director's meeting hike