Innovative Business Health and Wellness Initiatives in 2012
By Sara Scheller, BCLC
January tends to inspire the best in people. The ringing in of the New Year coupled with the toll December took on our belt loops and wallets seems to motivate people to embrace this time as a new beginning. For me, January often results in my recommitment to eating healthy, getting my finances back under control, and dusting off my running shoes. Just making a few changes in my daily life can have huge impacts on my overall health and wellness—making 2012 my best year yet.
But individuals aren’t the only ones who embrace January as a time of renewal. The business community, along with non-profits and government, all engage in some form of reassessment at this time of the year. They evaluate and take lessons away from 2011 and try to apply what they’ve learned to their strategies for 2012.
On January 18, BCLC hosted the quarterly meeting on Health and Wellness and heard about what different organizations and companies are working on for their New Year’s resolutions. While the discussion varied, here are a few of the things that these organizations wanted to work on for 2012:
Listen to the Needs
Across the board, all of the organizations and companies we spoke with on January 18 discussed how they want to work to better listen to the needs of their key stakeholders when it comes to the area of health and wellness. For example, organizations have found from listening to their employees and their charitable organizations that skills-based volunteerism is much more helpful in achieving long-term goals than traditional, unskilled volunteerism. For instance, Maritz discussed how their volunteer efforts are benefiting their community in St. Louis, MO.
Evaluate those Needs
Once the needs are identified, it takes brainstorming and teamwork to come up with solutions. When the Indiana Chamber of Commerce, State of Kentucky, and HPCareer.Net first started collaborating, there was a lack of information available for companies on how to set up effective worksite wellness programs. Through a joint effort, they’ve started stateofwellness.org to help organizations build up their own wellness programs and to identify their own employee wellness needs.
After listening to the needs and brainstorming solutions—get into action! MGM Resorts International is initiating healthy dining rooms to offer balanced meals to their employees. PNC is offering employees an online, user-friendly wellness program providing both health and financial advice. These programs are allowing employees to take initiative in their own wellbeing and helping improve overall heath and wellness at the workplace.
Companies like Abbott are moving beyond the traditional forms of workplace wellness and using their technologies to influence the health and wellness of the global community. Their plant in Haiti which produces Nourimanba, a peanut butter-based RUTF, has been built so that it can be used to produce peanut butter in the future, creating a sustainable livelihood for members of that community. In addition, their HIV/AIDS home-based counseling and testing initiative in Eldoret, Kenya is making it easier to reach those affected by this disease.
Best of luck to all of these organizations in achieving their 2012 goals! I, for one, am excited to see what this New Year will bring in the field of health and wellness and look forward to seeing these resolutions last throughout this year as well as years to come.