Building a Successful Worksite Wellness Program From Zero

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Building a Successful Worksite Wellness Program: From Zero to 77 in 3 Years Urda,

Building a Successful Worksite Wellness Program: From Zero to 77 in 3 Years Urda, J. , Lynn, J. S. , Winters, C. Slippery Rock University, Slippery Rock, PA. Abstract Organization: Slippery Rock University (SRU) has approximately 950 faculty, staff, and administrators. In 3 years, SRU went from having no coordinated wellness program to being recognized as the 77 th Healthiest Employer in the United States. Summary of the Primary Program: A group of wellness champions was assembled to create a vision and lead programming. Administrative support was garnered an interest/needs analysis was performed. Based on the results, educational and participatory initiatives were implemented. In collaboration with the health insurer, online educational programs were also offered. Explanation of the Evaluation Plan: An examination of the percentage of employee participation in the online programs was conducted. Also, the number of employees who actively participated in on-site initiatives were determined. Summary of Program Evaluation Plan Step 1: Leadership was established among “wellness champions” who are passionate to create and enact the vision and mission of the wellness program within the organization. These individuals were charged to identify key players and implement coordinated opportunities, empowering employees to engage in sustainable wellness programs. Step 2: Support was established from organization leaders. At SRU, meetings were scheduled with the University’s President, Provost, Board of Trustees, and Cabinet to build a culture to facilitate support, sustainability, and funding of the proposed wellness initiatives as part of the University’s strategic plan. Step 3: Resources were identified. SRU partnered with its health insurer to offer educational, participatory, and web-based programming to all employees. Over the past 3 years, SRU went from a series of disjointed efforts to a coordinated worksite wellness program. The President’s Commission on Wellness was formed, which initiated and implemented many initiatives to educate, but more importantly provide opportunities for all employees to facilitate their own wellness related behaviors. Quantitative participation rates were tracked for on-line offerings and on-site initiatives. In the last year: • 85% participation in online offerings • 506 faculty, staff, and administrators participated in at least 1 on-site initiative • • • Summary of the Program Impact: SRU began the 3 -year period with no coordinated wellness program. By the end of the period, initiatives were offered on every weekday and included; yoga, Tai Chi, Zumba, meditation, spinning, walking, swimming, table tennis, stress less class, weight management class, personal training etc. Eighty-five percent of employees participated in online offerings and 506 employees participated in at least one on-site initiative last year. Interventions have been offered that generate awareness for and participation in all dimensions of wellness. An HRA and wellness profile was offered yearly to be completed by employees. Employee interest/need was reported in aggregate. A President’s Commission on Wellness was formed coordinating the efforts of many wellness champions and people of influence across many academic disciplines to plan educational and participatory initiatives. An awareness campaign was implemented to educate on various wellness components and opportunities available, and all employees were encouraged to consider their own wellness vision and related behavior choices. An underlying theme of “fun” was established. Step 4: Diverse wellness program offerings were implemented every day. Various sessions were held before, during, and after work hours for all employees and spouses/partners. • • Organization The implementation and growth of SRU’s coordinated wellness programming was examined over the past three years. Over a 3 -year period, SRU evolved from offering little to no coordinated wellness programming to offering a variety of interventions that generate awareness in every dimension of wellness. Further, high rates of employee participation, upper-level management support, and reduced insurance premiums for participation in programs that monitor and promote health were recognized. • SRU received recognition as one of the Healthiest Employers of Western Pennsylvania. SRU was one of 42 companies in the Pittsburgh region to earn this designation. In the category of businesses employing 500 – 1499 people, SRU was ranked second place. • SRU was awarded the 77 th rank of the 2014 Healthiest 100 Workplaces in America. • • • Rock Personal Training: Exercise Science professionals partnered with the Recreation Center so any member could sign-up for 12 -weeks of individualized personal training, 2 days/week for one hour. This program serviced approximately 150 students/faculty/staff per year. Feedback is overwhelmingly positive and there is a waiting list to join. Referral System: Exercise Science professionals partnered with the Health and Counseling Centers. Patients were asked about their physical activity as a vital sign. Those that needed to increase physical activity were referred to a qualified exercise professional who engaged in motivational interviewing and behavior change, and met with the client for 6 weeks of individualized exercise sessions 2 days/ week for one hour. Approximately 40 participants have completed the program. Flash Mobs: Zumba (over 200 participants), Frisbee (over 100 participants), and tag (over 75 participants) groups were created 3 -4 times yearly, whereby a giant mob suddenly materialized on campus to begin a fun physical activity while inviting other students, faculty, and staff to join. Free Sessions: on a daily basis, faculty and staff could choose zumba, yoga, Tai Chi, meditation, table tennis, swimming (with instruction if needed), spinning, pedometer walking groups, stand up paddling, cross country skiing, jogging, group fitness classes, day of play, and more. Didactic/ Education Sessions: Informational sessions on stress and weight management classes were offered. Approximately 30 faculty and staff participated. Random Rewards: Employees observed making healthy choices were randomly given tshirts and other rewards with a positive message regarding wellness attached. Approximately 200 rewards have been distributed Health fairs: Bi-annual health fairs were implemented for all faculty and staff. Various health screenings and informational booths of a variety of health and wellness topics were offered. Health fairs had approximately 400 visitors. Walk the Rock: Faculty and Staff wore pedometers and logged their steps toward daily goals. Educational and motivational e-mails were sent to participants weekly. Additionally, qualitative participant feedback was reviewed for major or recurring themes. Participants’ feedback was overwhelmingly positive. • “Walk the Rock at work holds me accountable and I enjoy exercising with my colleagues. When I have to walk to another office, I take the longest way. I used to drive to the bank and post office, now I walk down at lunch” • “Although I can still improve, the stress and meditation classes have really helped me to feel better. I incorporate many of the strategies everyday to manage my stress levels and my health” • “After the Rock Personal Training Program, I am happy with my weight loss and confident I can maintain my exercise program” Program Impact Within 3 years of implementing a worksite wellness program: • SRU was ranked 2 nd place of Healthiest Employers of Western Pennsylvania • SRU was awarded the 77 th rank of the 2014 Healthiest 100 Workplaces in America The President’s Commission on Wellness is a funded, standing committee dedicated to continuing meaningful wellness programs, and creating at least 1 new initiative each year. • SRU was successful in creating a template for organizations to implement worksite wellness programs that promote initiatives to create awareness, education, and opportunity to engage in every dimension of wellness.