The Wellsource Health and Wellness Program Focuses on Whole-Person Well-being
Wellsource, Inc. has ranked first place in the Portland Business Journal’s list of Healthiest Employers of Oregon, for organizations with 99 employees or fewer. Wellsource has been included in this listing since 2014, but 2022 is the first time Wellsource has earned the top distinction.
The Healthiest Employers recognition is meant to honor employers that are continually bettering the lives of their employees. This year, the award focused on top-of-mind concerns for employers today, including the challenges and opportunities of remote work, mental and emotional well-being, and employee engagement.
What does this award mean to the Wellsource staff?
Wellness is at the core of the Wellsource mission, the work our employees do every day, and the products they develop. Creating a culture around healthy and happy employees leads to developing products that help others achieve optimal health. The Wellsource team is honored to be among those recognized for our efforts.
Here are a few of the ways we’ve incorporated whole mind-and-body health and well-being into our employee programs.
Beyond basic benefits: supporting mental and emotional well-being
What makes the Wellsource benefit offering unique is the earnest focus on providing resources, support, and programs to improve total employee health and well-being. Reimbursement incentives for insurance premiums encourage meaningful engagement in wellness programs.
Wellsource is interested in the total well-being of employees, their families, and the wider community—and that means recognizing the mental, physical, and emotional support the team needs. This includes flexible time off rather than traditional sick days, group volunteer opportunities, and regular check-ins and get-togethers.
Employees are engaged in every aspect of the wellness program. Monthly wellness initiatives are shaped by a cross-departmental panel of employees who create the theme for the month of wellness programs, including resources, encouragement, and activities. This team also helps coordinate employee-led Lunch-and-Learn webinars featuring a passion topic of the presenter such as board games, mountaineering, or buying a house.
Remote employee health and engagement
When the Wellsource workforce went completely remote in March of 2020, the health and wellness program also shifted focus to find creative ways to keep employees engaged.
A big part of addressing mental and emotional wellness within employee culture focuses on fostering bonds between colleagues and building bridges that can overcome social isolation. This takes place on multiple levels, from having a cadence of regular and meaningful 1-to-1 check-ins between managers and direct reports, to offering more informal opportunities to socialize both virtually and out of doors in-person (when safe to do so).
During the pandemic, the Wellsource team established a weekly recurring “Rumpus Room” videoconference lunch, where people can socialize informally. This time is a way to recreate the informal “water cooler” conversations that used to happen in the office, allowing employees to mingle and forge personal bonds outside of work duties. The in-person events range from local hikes and neighborhood clean-ups to volunteering for a local women’s center and turning attention to serving the local community.
With a shift to working remotely, the Wellsource team has also made a point of emphasizing the ways the changing work culture can have positive impacts on mental and emotional lives and sharing “How I QuaranTEAM” during company All-Hands meetings. This helps spread the culture of health by engaging the team in sharing tips for success in working from home— from meal planning and cooking with more whole grains, to walking during meetings or joining social events virtually and in person when possible.
Metrics to benchmark success
“The most exciting thing about our program is seeing how engaged our employees are," explains Brittany U. Carter, Director of Health and Research at Wellsource and leader of the REACH program. Wellsource measures the success of the health and wellness programs by having a high employee participation rate – which has been over 90% in recent years, and for the last two years Wellsource has achieved a 100% employee participation rate. “This participation rate is confirmation to us that we’re building meaningful wellness programs that speak to the real concerns of our employees, that we’re really understanding what motivates them and what they need.”
Of course, one huge aspect of the work at Wellsource — and employee engagement — is having access to health and lifestyle information as a baseline of employee health. The health risk assessments Wellsource develops for clients in healthcare, population health, and corporate settings are also incorporated into the annual wellness day. Gathering aggregate health and lifestyle data lets us know the health habits of the employee population. Implementing wellness programs without this kind of insight can feel like throwing spaghetti against a wall and hoping it will stick.
With the help of HRA data, you can design a program for your population that is specific to the health risks that they are most vulnerable to, and you can target the areas they are most ready to change.
Helping people live healthier, longer lives must start from a place of authenticity, and the Wellsource team is committed to truly walking the talk.
Interested in more quick ways to encourage wellness? Check out our guide that will fill you in on everything you need to know to move forward with creating a culture of health.