Creating a climate and culture of wellness
Beacon Promotions stretching break
During their three-month Get Fit Challenge in 2010, 56 employees participated (70 percent of all employees at the time) and collectively lost more than 100 pounds and 90 inches. In 2013-2014, 73 percent of all employees are participating in HONU’s LOSE IT to WIN IT challenge. The impressive program participation results from all-company emails and meetings, leaders talking about programs at department meetings, and often personally walking around to talk to people and encourage them to participate.
“We’re fortunate to have a great leadership team who believes in health and wellness and knows the ROI on these programs is well worth the time and energy,” Weidman stressed. “Just the awareness that we have these programs gets people excited. It’s truly a credit to our employees that they want to participate for their own health and it creates positivity. We have healthier workers who come to work better-rested, with a better attitude.”
A supportive team environment and accountability are also key factors driving employee engagement and success in programs. As part of the Get Fit Challenge, Beacon hired a dietitian and offered individual counseling for interested employees. The dietitian met with employees every two weeks to review their food journals, weigh them and take measurements.
“That was really impactful on a lot of people,” said Weidman. “It was a fun, team-oriented competition and I received lots of feedback that meeting with the dietitian held people accountable. I think a lot of us really need that accountability to stay on track.”
Tobacco changes, healthier vending offerings and stretch breaks
In addition to regular programs, Beacon offered a Heart of New Ulm screening in 2011, has begun to address smoking on campus and also started to explore healthier vending options. Although they haven’t gone tobacco free, smoking is now restricted to one area in the parking lot at each of their three buildings and they hope to offer an onsite smoking cessation program soon.
wellness committee met with vending company representatives in mid 2013 to talk about alternatives and a handful of new healthier items have sold reasonably well. They plan to continue tweaking their vending offerings and are considering offering fresh fruit for sale on the honor system in the breakroom soon.
Weidman said the integration of wellness topics into Safety Day has also gotten a very welcome reception and spurred positive changes, such as when Holly Glaubitz, a health educator who serves as HONU’s worksite lead, gave a presentation on reducing stress at work.
“It was a big hit; everyone really loved the message and the content. We took the stretching techniques she shared with us and about a year ago added stretch breaks at 10 and 2 every day. When the bell rings, everyone is encouraged to take five minutes to do the series of stretches that are posted on cards throughout the buildings.”
Looking to the future, Weidman knows it’s no stretch to say that Beacon will continue to invest in its wellness initiatives.
“I’m a big believer that community health outreach and specifically worksite wellness programs are vital to improving health and wellness and creating long-lasting change in individuals. As long as we’re creative in coming up with topics that resonate with people and programs that are unique and fun and challenging — but also simple enough that everyone can handle doing — I think we’ll continue to have success and get participation and see improvements in health.”
We’re fortunate to have a great leadership team who believes in health and wellness and knows the ROI on these programs is well worth the time and energy.