Achieving wellness in the workplace in Rice County
More than 8,000 employees across Rice County are on the move, making better food choices and reducing tobacco use. The secret behind their health kick? Rice County’s Statewide Health Improvement Program worksite project, Healthy Rice County: Achieving Wellness in the Workplace.
Comprehensive workplace wellness has been shown to not only improve employee health but also business profits, lowering healthcare costs and increasing employee productivity with an impressive return on investment of 3:1 to 6:1.
The program has thus far helped more than 20 worksites in Faribault, Northfield and surrounding areas to learn about ways to offer healthier foods and encourage employees to increase activity and reduce tobacco use.
“Interest in the program began when Rice County Public Health sent a press release to media outlets about the new SHIP initiative,” says Natalie Ginter, Rice County SHIP coordinator. “Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota led the recruitment process by mailing invitation letters and making follow-up phone calls to top leaders and human resources staff of more than 80 Rice County organizations.”
One example of how this works is State Bank of Faribault, which has seen a rapid culture shift following its wellness initiatives. It offered employees an incentive of reduced health care premiums for taking certain steps to improve their health. Nearly all employees became engaged. The incentive criteria were participation in biometric screenings (for cholesterol, triglycerides and blood sugar) and a health assessment, setting a personal health goal, and attendance at two talks within a four-part series about healthy living. The employer also encourages physical activity through walking and exercise balls and offers information on healthy nutrition.