HL: Why did your business decide become a Health Links Certified Healthy Business?
TOV: We decided to become a Health Links Certified Healthy Business in 2014 because we wanted to take advantage of the multitude of resources Health Links provides, to see how we measured up against our peers in the community, and to look for opportunities to improve our employee programming around health and safety.
HL: What benefits did the Certification bring to your business?
TOV: The Certification afforded our employees a sense of pride and recognition of the work that we do and the way in which we do it. It also reinforced to our management team the importance of promoting and providing a safe and healthy workplace for our employees. The Certification has opened doors and additional networking opportunities throughout our community.
HL: How has this Certification changed the way your business thinks about health promotion and safety?
TOV: It has empowered employees to take a more active role in their health while at work through input, design and participation in new programs. We now look to incorporate health and safety in all Town initiatives.
HL: How has your employee health and safety program given back to your community?:
TOV: Any cost savings we can find through our wellness and safety programs can be passed onto our community through other programs. The Town of Vail is self-insured for health insurance and we have been able to maintain an unprecedented flat cost trend over the past five years. In 2016, we paired a hydration awareness campaign with an environmental initiative to no longer use paper or plastic cups at Town of Vail facilities. To do this we removed all disposable cups and provided all employees with high-end insulated Hydro Flasks.
Health Links (HL): Why is the health and wellness of your employees important to you?
Town of Vail (TV): We feel that employees who are given the tools to lead healthy lifestyles will be happier and healthier both at work and at home. Also, we have a responsibility to our tax payers to spend their money wisely and the health and wellness of our employees affects the bottom line.
HL: Please describe your business’ workplace wellness activities/program.
TV: We have a comprehensive wellness program that focuses on our employee’s total wellbeing including physical, emotional, and financial health as well as health screenings. The program offers employees a variety of activity challenges, seminars on nutrition, safety, and financial planning as well as biometric screenings and an online health risk assessment.
HL: How will you/do you know your program is successful?
TV: After another year or so we hope to be able to compare our numbers and relate them to our health insurance costs. So far, we have had great feedback from our participants and have seen a lot of healthy behavior changes.
HL: What obstacles did you have to overcome to get your program started? How did you overcome them?
TV: Many of our employees have been with the Town for many years and don’t accept change very easily. Also, many of our employees are very healthy and didn’t feel they needed to participate. Communication was key in overcoming our obstacles and incentives helped a lot. Making the program fun and competitive helped to encourage participation as well.
HL: What tip/advice would you give to a business that is considering starting a workplace wellness program?
TV: Make sure members of upper management are onboard. Kick it off with a big challenge that you can get people excited about. Create a challenge that has individual goals and a collective goal that every one can work together to achieve. Require that spouses on the health plan can participate too.