Health is important wherever you go. With many people spending most of their day sitting at a desk or inside an office, workplace wellness programs have become an important part of ensuring employee health.
About two years ago, Gardner took a look at employee health and realized it wasn’t where it should be for an organization dedicated to health and healthcare. There had been a steady increase in employee injuries and illness. Healthcare costs and employee absenteeism was also on the rise. The leadership team recognized that something needed to be done. And that’s when the Employee Wellness Program was born.
The Employee Wellness Program helps ensure the health and well-being of every employee. Gardner believes that every employee should have the opportunity to be healthy in both body and mind. The program provides activities like health education, medical screenings, weight management, and more.
Gardner adopted a program called Sonic Boom Wellness, which is fun, interactive, and social-media based. It’s compelling for employees to participate in and has been a major reason for the program’s success. Sonic Boom provides employees with valuable information about changing daily health behaviors by focusing on physical activity, weight management, nutrition, and stress reduction. Employees can log the number of steps they take each day and are eligible for prizes like exercise bags, water bottles, and phone accessories if they take more than 5,000 steps in a day. It’s been really motivating for employees and many have started to compete with each other around daily steps or weight loss, fostering peer-to-peer support around health.
The program also allows employees to get biometric screenings. These screenings provide critical information on current and potential medical issues. Employees can learn about their individual risk for chronic preventable diseases like diabetes, heart disease, and hypertension. Once employees have their test results, Gardner will pay for or make available one-on-one coaching to help develop a strategy for improving health in a safe and effective manner.
Education plays a major role in the program. Each quarter, employees gather to learn about preventing injury and sickness in the workplace. “Lunch and Learns” are regularly held with experts to talk about a wide range of topic. During the holidays last year, an expert talked about surviving the holidays by making healthy food and lifestyle choices. Who doesn’t need a little help during the holidays? Reducing injuries on the job is also a focus of the program. One great example is reducing needle pricks which had become an issue for Gardner’s health care workers. By simply changing the type of needles from static to retractable and providing more training, needle pricks have been significantly reduced.
It takes time to change behaviors and behavior changes differently from person to person. Gardner is committed to employee health and wellness for the long-term. The program is reinforced regularly and a wide-range of programs and touch points are made available. From a business perspective, the goal is to reduce health care costs and absenteeism. But the primary goal is much more important – to benefit employees, and their families. In doing so, we will be a much more happy and healthy community.