Health Links (HL): Why is the health and wellness of your employees important to you?
School District of Manatee County (SCMC): The overall wellness of our employees directly and indirectly impacts student learning and success and because we are the county’s largest employer, the health of our workforce impacts the overall health and economic viability of our entire community.
HL: How will you/do you know your program is successful?
SDMC: Success is gauged by: (1) level of engagement and support at all professional levels; (2) completion of essential preventative healthcare activities; and (3) employee feedback and satisfaction.
HL: What obstacles did you have to overcome to get your program started? How did you overcome them?
SDMC: Brand recognition and communicating the new program to 53 separate schools and three major support sites is a challenge. We aim for consistent communication across several channels to reach the greatest number of employees. We are also building capacity and autonomy in our schools to address wellness in their own ways to fit their unique school cultures.
HL: Do you incorporate safety along with your wellness program? If so, what does this look like?
SDMC: One of the 7 high-impact areas of our WellYOU program is “Injury Prevention and Risk Reduction”. We incentivize participation in classes such as defensive driving and slips/trips/falls/ prevention. We started a Safe & Healthy Footwear program while offering resources that address workplace ergonomics. We also staff our fitness centers with a trainer to coach employees in proper and safe use of machines and equipment.
HL: What tip/advice would you give to a business that is considering starting a workplace wellness program?
SDMC: Do it! Take small steps. Get upper and mid-level management buy-in and support. Be inclusive and address the needs of all sectors of your population. Research best-practices and use evidence-based programs, messages and resources.