January 8, 2010
Many business leaders would support the concept that a healthy, happy workforce means higher productivity and better business. But how many of these business leaders have taken that knowledge and done something about it?
One local business has put that concept into action. With the help of the Fort HealthCare’s Corporate Services Wellness at Work program made possible through Business Health, they developed a very unique and fun way of keeping their employees engaged and interested in wellness.
Digi-Star has been a fixture on Janesville Avenue in Fort Atkinson for many years. In the fall of 2008, Digi-Star renewed a company initiative to boost employee wellness. A voluntary wellness committee was established that represented all facets of the workforce and that group put their “creative hats on” and began their planning. Their objective was “to institute programs that create a healthier workforce and potentially lower health care costs for the company.” The result to date has been a wonderful example of how a small business can excite employees into the lifestyle choice of wellness.
Digi-Star is not a stranger to wellness concepts. Annually, they partner with Fort HealthCare to perform annual health risk screenings and offer to pay a majority of the course fee for those employees participating in smoking cessation classes, spouses also receive class discounts.
Digi-Star has brought in speakers on “healthy eating” and other health related topics. They also offer financial incentives for those employees choosing to join health clubs. However, the company wanted to “raise the bar” and create excitement and that is how three new programs were created.
Digi-Star manufactures electronic weighing systems for use in the agriculture industry so when the committee initiated a weight loss program, it made perfect sense to put the platform scales to use. Participants were divided into teams and each week they “weighed in” together on the large industrial scale. The employees loved this approach – no individual spotlight but weight loss as a team. The program worked like a charm and the company lost 4 percent total weight.
This past June Digi-Star relocated their operations to the east of Fort Atkinson on Hwy 106, property previously occupied by Highsmith Corporation. The wellness committee did not miss a step. They initiated two other programs have involving walking and exploring. The first challenged employees to walk from Milwaukee towards Digi-Star Europe – meeting their European colleagues somewhere in the middle. The goal for the Fort Atkinson Digi-Star group was 4,211 miles. Each employee was given a pedometer and asked to record his/her miles. A map was hung and each week the results were posted and much to the committees’ surprise, the participants logged over 7,250 miles – well beyond the goal. The second program took advantage of Digi-Star’s new thirty seven acres of property. Six vaults were hidden throughout the property and each week clues were given to help the employee explorers locate the vaults. Both of these programs created a “buzz” throughout the workplace and most importantly, got many employees up and moving, exploring the grounds and enjoying fresh-air exercise.
Nicole Anderson, Digi-Star Wellness Committee Volunteer, encourages businesses to incorporate wellness programs into their workplace. She has noticed a positive difference and believes it adds a new dimension to how employees view their place of work. She suggests that companies “start small, take time to plan and get different opinions through a committee structure.” Anderson states that “Fort HealthCare has been instrumental in guiding us through this process and looks forward to a continued ongoing partnership”. For more information on how your business can start an employee wellness program, please contact Sharon Rateike at (920) 568-5018.