According to the results of the 2013 Great Place to Work Institute survey results Devon Canada Corporation and AOL Canada both ranked among the 15 Best Workplaces in Canada, in large part because of their use of health and wellness programs to build workplace cultures where employees feel cared for and valued for their contributions.
“When we were reviewing the submissions for the 2013 awards, the employee wellness programs at Devon Canada and AOL Canada stood out,” says Jen Wetherow, director of Great Place to Work Institute Canada. “Both organizations are doing innovative things in this area and creating great places for their employees to work.”
Devon Canada has adopted a data-driven approach to employee health. Staff members participate in a voluntary program that begins with biometric screening to collect baseline data on blood pressure, weight, glucose levels and other information. After completing an in-depth health assessment questionnaire, employees better understand their risk of diabetes, heart attack, stroke and other diseases that can often be prevented through lifestyle changes.
“Once we have this snapshot of employee health, we offer tailored programs to help people make improvements,” says Kip Koso, senior manager of wellness at Devon. For example, a health coach consults with individual employees to develop customized action plans for weight loss, sleep management, stress prevention and optimal sports nutrition.
An on-site wellness centre at the Calgary office encourages employees to stay active, and staff at field offices are reimbursed for a portion of their gym membership costs.
“We offer these programs because we care about our employees and want them to be as healthy as possible,” says Mr. Koso. “We’ve found that wellness programs help us attract and retain employees, and in a competitive market, this is important for our business. It’s part of our holistic approach and ensuring that our employees know Devon cares about them.”
At AOL Canada, employees are offered incentives to embrace an active lifestyle, and supporting programs keep the momentum going.
In the summer of 2011, AOL Canada launched a unique partnership with Virgin HealthMiles that rewards employees for being active. Each participating employees are given a pedometer that measures their activity levels and lets them record healthy choices such as increasing water consumption or getting more sleep. Employees record their HealthMiles online, and every three months, money is deposited directly in each employee’s bank account based on the number of HealthMiles collected. Director of human resources Marieta Mendoza says the average participating employee payout is $125 each quarter.
Other perks include twice-weekly yoga instruction, regular visits from a nutritionist, a monthly visit from a registered massage therapist and free memberships at a local gym.
“Our employees’ well-being is our priority,” says Ms. Mendoza. “At AOL, we’ve created a culture of where employees know they’re part of a larger family. We believe that if you take care of your employees, they will take care of you. And when employees are happy, vibrant and healthy, they will make an effort to go above and beyond what is expected in their jobs.”
NOT ON THE LIST?
If your workplace isn’t on this year’s list but you think it should be, we encourage you to participate in the 2014 list of Best Workplaces in Canada. We are now accepting nominations at www.greatplacetowork.ca.