The Human Resources Department recently initiated a wellness program for the city’s staff and employees. The theme of the program is “Make Wellness Count-Commit 2B Fit.”
According to Human Resources Director Catherine Wilson the concept of developing this program came from the desire of the city to encourage, initiate and educate its staff and employees to sustain healthy lifestyles choices.
The initiative began in 2012 when the department sponsored a Health Fair, which featured several health related vendors. Organizer, Sally Volk, Benefits/Worker’s Comp Coordinator, said the health fair was a great way to start the wellness program, because it provided the employees with resources to begin thinking about their own health issues.
Since that time, the department has begun several other health related initiatives for the employees, such as, Lunch and Learns, exercise classes, and basketball teams. “So far, our employees have really embraced the opportunity to participate in these activities. Not only are they learning how to eat properly and exercising, they are having fun,” Wilson said.
In November, the department also began a Zero Weight Gain challenge in which 40 employees took part. Through January 2, 28 employees had collectively lost approximately 115 lbs.
Currently, approximately 50 employees are participating in a weight loss challenge. The challenge began in January and will run through April. The challenge is based on percentage of weight loss. To add even more incentive, the winner of the challenge will receive 2 days off of work, the 2nd place finisher will receive 1 day off and the 3rd place finisher will receive a ½ day off.
To assist the participants in the weight loss challenge Volk sends out weekly healthy eating tips and directs them to websites where they can learn even more about healthy eating.
Wilson added that for tobacco users that are wanting to stop, they can participate in a smoking cessation program and receive products at a discount.
“We are striving to empower our employees to take their health status into their own hands and learn to live a healthier lifestyle. By offering the educational and exercise programs, we think it can make a positive difference in the lives of those who participate,” Wilson said.
Wilson noted that the wellness program is receiving not only great reviews from employees, but, also support from the city’s management. “Fortunately, our city management is totally in favor of this program and some are even participating themselves.”
For the future, Wilson said the city is considering creating an incentive plan for employee’s preventive care efforts.
Friday, February 8, 2013
by Kay Hunt