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Building a Culture of Wellness to Engage Employees

Human Resources Manager, HNI

HNI is constantly searching for ways to empower our employees to take ownership of their behaviors and to get engaged in their own health care, a problem that many businesses face.  Our journey to implementwellness, healthy employees a culture of wellness began back in 2008.  Although we had a fairly healthy population, our culture didn’t always support the maintenance of that health.  

The process of building an engaging model of care began with a survey to understand employee interests and feelings on wellness-related topics.  This was as an essential step that helped gain employee buy-in to the concept of a wellness program and highlighted areas where education and communication could add value. After we had a solid understanding of how our employees felt, we kicked off our new and improved program in April 2009 with a week of fun activities that included a contest to name the program, meditation breaks, healthy breakfast and other engaging group competitions to build up momentum for the program. 

By June of 2009, we were conducting biometrics and health risk assessments with our employees to establish a base line measure of employees’ health, and more importantly, to give employees feedback on their own health, providing them with direction on what they should be focusing on personally.

In September 2009, we were ready for the central piece of our wellness initiative: the rollout of a point system to reward healthy activities.  This program was designed to fit a wide range of wellness goals and rewarded activities in exercise, nutrition and life balance.  Each employee was tasked with earning 25 points per quarter for wellness-related behaviors.  Those reaching their point goal were rewarded with financial contributions to their Healthcare Reimbursement Account or Health Savings Account.

More than a year after the complete rollout of our wellness initiative, we are happy to celebrate our ongoing accomplishments. We were amazed at how this change has impacted employee engagement. We've recieved tons of unsolicited personal success stories from our employees telling us the lifestyle changes they had made and how they attribute that success to HNI’s wellness program. We’ve been able to maintain active participation in the point system program averaging 86% through the first year. 

As we continue down the path to instill wellness as part of our culture, we are constantly considering new ideas and changes in the workplace to support the maintenance of our health.  Our goal in the next year is to be recognized as a Well Workplace by the Wellness Council of America!

Topics: Construction Transportation Manufacturing HR / Employee Benefits