Recently, I had the pleasure of attending the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association’s (NRECA) INTERACT conference held in Austin, TX. There I participated in a panel discussion with Carla Green, Benefits & Payroll Administrator from GreyStone Power Cooperation, about “Evolving a Culture of Well-Being.” GreyStone is part of the NRECA cooperative which has been a WebMD Health Services client for 13 years (since 2006).
Mike Perko, NRECA Chief Wellness Advisor, moderated our discussion. We talked about how organizations can integrate well-being into their culture by creating a supportive environment, leveraging leadership buy-in, using wellness champions, and consistently communicating.
Here are 5 takeaways from the discussion:
1. Today’s employees are tomorrow’s retirees.
GreyStone shared that retirees are one of their largest health cost drivers. As a result, the co-op is focusing on how employees think and act about their well-being today in the hopes that these behaviors will carry over into retirement.
2. “Employees need to care as much, if not more, about their health as we do.” – Carla Green
While GreyStone has worked hard to make sure that employees’ well-being is integrated into the co-op’s mission, vision, and goals they also stress to employees how their health affects their long-term quality of life.
3. Leading by example matters.
GreyStone confirmed that when leadership is actively engaged in well-being activities, participation and engagement rates are higher. Carla shared that the organization recently held a successful “Who’s the Boss” Fitbit step challenge wherein employees tried to outstep the President/CEO. I shared some best practices from other WebMD Health Services clients as well, including three times higher engagement for a client that had leadership support versus one that didn’t.
4. Make it easy to be healthy.
GreyStone eliminates some of the barriers to healthy living. The company provides fresh fruit to employees through a local farmer’s market, encourages the use of an outdoor walking trail on the premises, and makes weight loss programs easily accessible.
5. Communication is key to participation.
In our experience, organizations who have the most successful well-being programs engage employees with multi-channel communications (think emails, monitor ads, flyers, table tents and posters). At GreyStone, there is a constant drumbeat of communication with employees, encouraging them participate in WebMD Challenges, in addition to creating their own challenges. Looking to revamp your communications plan? Our e-book, Well-Being Program Communications, can help guide you through some important best practices
We saw great excitement in the room and throughout the conference. NRECA is making well-being a business priority to improve the lives of their members and infuse a workplace culture with energy, commitment and support. To sum it up, attendees learned that when there is leadership support and involvement, onsite support with wellness champions, and consistent strategic communications, you can really maximize results and drive well-being success.