Dickinson receives national recognition for employee wellness program
October 13, 2011
Dickinson offers employees and their families a variety of wellness programs, covering physical, emotional and intellectual health, nutrition education and preventative health screenings. Variety, convenient scheduling, incentives to participate and measurable outcomes helped the college earn national recognition by the Wellness Council of America.
Dickinson College recently achieved a national Well Workplace designation by the Wellness Council of America (WELCOA) for its employee wellness program, Holistic Health. With a near-perfect 176 out of 180 possible points, Dickinson earned the gold-level designation for developing comprehensive, results-oriented programs that are a strategic and integral part of the institution.
WELCOA, considered one of the most respected resources for workplace wellness guidance and best practices, uses seven benchmarks to assess workplace wellness programs including employee input and organizational support, operational planning, appropriate interventions, supportive environments and outcomes evaluation.
Based on the needs and interests of the employee community, Dickinson offers wellness programming in five categories: physical, emotional and intellectual wellness as well as nutrition education and preventative health screens. Yoga, Tai Chi, Pilates, ballroom dancing, Weight Watchers and biometric screening are a few of the many programs offered each year.
“Our dedicated staff along with the campus wellness committee comprised of faculty, administrators, and staff has worked very hard to build a comprehensive program that promotes all levels of health and wellness,” said Steve Riccio, director of staff development, Human Resource Services. “Our programs also are offered at convenient times to accommodate various employee schedules, including those who work 2nd and 3rd shifts.”
While there is a participation fee for some programs, Dickinson reimburses 100 percent of the cost for employees who attend 75 percent or more scheduled program sessions.
According to Riccio, program variety, convenient scheduling and financial incentives that reward high levels of engagement help increase awareness and participation. Dickinson boasts of a 70 percent employee wellness participation rate.
“It’s working,” said Riccio. “Our metrics indicate behavior change, better weight management, increased physical strength and overall health improvements. Several employees were even alerted by health professionals to potential life-threatening conditions after their screening results came back.”
Beyond the intrinsic and financial rewards, the wellness program also impacts Dickinson’s bottom line. The college’s health care renewal rate has gone from annual increases in the double digits to a 2.3 percent average increase over the past four years.
Dickinson also recently began reimbursing family members who participate in wellness programs. “Healthy living must go beyond the workplace and be a part of our everyday lives,” said Riccio.