Nebraska recognizes 54 Nebraska employers during a special ceremony in the governor’s office which have offered evidence-based wellness programs for their employees.
State Community and Environmental Health Deputy Director Judy Martin says business-based programs make a difference.
“Worksite wellness programs empower employees to make an investment in their own health through coaching, preventive screening, and health education along with opportunities to increase physical activity, eat healthier, reduce tobacco use, and manage stress,” Martin tells reporters during a news conference.
This is the 10th year of the awards, which recognize businesses throughout Nebraska for efforts to improve workforce health.
More than 50 businesses, located in 34 Nebraska cities, have been recognized for their efforts to improve the health of their workers.
CEO Chris Nichols with the Fillmore County Hospital in Geneva says its wellness program took off when it offered lower health insurance premiums to those who showed improvements.
“People had to take on some risks, meaning not just a participation award, but actually, we’re going to measure something of your health and we’re going to reward you based on what you do on that,” according to Nichols. “In doing so, we took it up to the next level. We got people more serious about the wellness program.”
Others use different motivations, such as the Hyatt Global Call Center in Omaha where Pricilla Rau says community provides the motivation.
“Our environment is really about fun and support and being your best,” Rau says. “We’re really a big team and we support one another and we do active shout outs and rewards and recognition constantly, showcasing some of our heroes and champions in wellness and really going out to be a community and encouraging others,”
According to the governor’s office, the application process is designed to recognize businesses that have planted and nurtured the seed for wellness within their organization. Each applicant must provide information in the areas of leadership, data collection, intervention strategies, policy/environment support, and evaluation of outcomes.
The Governor’s Wellness Award has two categories: The Sower Award recognizes workplaces with quality wellness programs; the Grower Award honors businesses and organizations demonstrating significant employee health improvement.
Nebraska employers can apply online at http://www.nebraska.gov/wellness/.