Two Kewaunee County companies link wellness to generosity
Can wellness be linked to generosity?
That was the question that two Algoma companies asked recently as they instituted programs to improve their employee’s health that were motivated by charitable giving.
Precision Machines partnered with Bellin Health to create the “Steps for Good,” a pilot physical fitness and charitable giving program.
When given the option, 99 percent or 60 employees signed up for the program, said Jesse Stukenberg, a nurse and wellness consultant for Bellin. First, they were given a well-being assessment that rated them from 1-5 and were allowed to nominate two of their favorite charities to receive a monetary gift at the end of the program.
The employees were then provided “Fitbit” watches, free of charge, to count their number of steps over a six-week period. They were asked to exercise more, to eat more fruits and vegetables and to lose weight. They were also asked to join one of the two charitable teams that had been selected by the employees’ vote: Kewaunee County Special Olympics or Ribbon of Hope, which aids victims of breast cancer.
During the six-week period, a cooler of healthy snacks was available in the workplace and employees practiced stress reduction techniques, such as deep breathing,” Stukenberg said.
At the end of the six-week period, the results were tabulated. As a group, the employees had taken 32,847,060 steps and lost 142 pounds. They had also increased their exercise, improved the nutritional value of their food and decreased their stress levels, she said.
Based on a formula calculated for each team, the employees earned $1,574 for the Special Olympics and $2,292 for breast cancer. The seed money for the donations had been provided by Bellini and Precision Machines.
In addition, after the program was completed, the employees’ average well-being assessment increased from 2.99 to 3.14, said Stukenberg. More than 70 percent of the employees said they planned to continue to use the FitBit and incorporate healthy eating habits and stress reduction techniques into their lifestyle, she said.
“Our gold standard is 25 percent,” said Stukenberg. “We were amazed at the number of employees who said they were going to continue using what they had learned.”
At WS Packaging, company nurse Jodi Enderson has started a program challenging employees to lose some weight. Between now and the end of December, any employee can sign up and set a realistic goal to loose a certain number of pounds, said Enderson. .
Titled “You CAN Make A Difference,” for every pound lost, an employee contributes a can of food for the Kewaunee County Food Pantry. In addition, the company will contribute a dollar to the pantry for every lost pound..
More than 40 employees have signed up for the program, Enderson said.
“We are letting people set their own goals – it is employee-driven,” said Enderson. “We are linking self-care to a charitable cause.”
She said that the number of cans are piling up.
This article originally appeared on Green Bay Press Gazette: Two Kewaunee County companies link wellness to generosity