Teamwork, responsibility, excellence, loyalty, service and pride: These words are hallmarks of nearly every mission statement. They reflect an organization’s values, priorities and commitments. Nowadays, many companies are taking strides to incorporate wellness and create healthier, happier employees.

With obesity and chronic illness skyrocketing in the U.S., forward-thinking businesses are looking to curb poor health habits and rising healthcare costs. In response, employer wellness programs have become an integral piece of growing a healthier workplace culture. Great customer service, superior products and competitive prices are meaningless without healthy and happy workers to carry out a company’s mission.

Industry leaders realize employees are their biggest asset and understand that creating a wellness culture is simply a way to care and support the backbone of the organization. Employers committed to a wellness culture care for employees and their families in several ways. They are, most importantly, sincerely interested in an employee’s health and happiness. These leaders also show concern by crafting an environment that easily allows employees to thrive.

For example, Wellpower, Centra’s employee wellness program, features programs and tools to help employees take charge of their health and improve their quality of life through healthy habits. The program includes subsidized discounts with the YMCA and Weight Watcher affiliates across the state as well as access to the Employee Assistance Program for personal and professional counseling at no cost to the employee. As part of the program, nicotine replacement therapy and tobacco cessation classes are free to all employees, and employees are encouraged to participate in the annual community-wide Live Healthy Lynchburg Strive for Five Challenge and 100-Mile Challenge. These campaigns include prizes for participants and subsidies for race events. In addition, preventative screenings and wellness exams are offered to medical plan participants as well as additional resources for employees with complicated, high-cost medical conditions.

Programs like this take wellness one step further by targeting the workplace environment as part of the company-wide initiative. For example, working with nutrition services, Wellpower introduced a salad punch card and stoplight food labeling system in the cafes and influenced vending machine managers to provide at least 35 percent healthy options. The Wellpower initiative also led the way in renovating an onsite fitness facility at Lynchburg General Hospital last fall and reopening in partnership with the YMCA of Central Virginia to serve Centra employees. More recently, the program has begun to focus on financial wellness and mental health using technology solutions to meet employees where they are to incorporate mindfulness and stress reduction.

Wellness is more than a choice—it’s the will to make healthy decisions each day, and companies are catching on and implementing supporting programs.

To learn more about the programs implemented by Centra, contact Corrin McCloskey at (434) 200-4089. For information on HealthWorks, an employer wellness resource in our region, contact Drew Sherwood at (434) 509-4971. HealthWorks offers a variety of customizable wellness, occupational medicine and work recovery solutions including onsite collaborative clinics.

By Corrin McCloskey
Employee Wellness Coordinator, Centra Human Resources