The Office of Legislative Counsel Wellness (OLC) program was developed to create and promote a culture of health and wellness in the workplace. With over 29 years of service to the State of California, Steve Abrams has been chosen as our Workplace Wellness Coordinator to lead our workplace wellness efforts. Our wellness program involves educating our 600 State of California employees about health issues, creating an environment and program that supports healthy behaviors, and helping our employees to make health-related objectives part of their everyday lives. The following information lays a foundation for organizing our wellness program activities.
The purpose of OLC Wellness is to develop and manage a successful program for the general wellness, health, and safety of employees of the OLC. Steve is responsible for the overall creation and success of the program through communication, outreach materials, developing planned wellness activities, by frequently engaging in formal and informal discussions with staff, management, and others, researching and analyzing Wellness Programs in other departments and organizations to determine potential wellness activities applicable to the OLC, and assessing the wellness needs of the OLC by identifying potential health or wellness risks of existing conditions and programs, and recommend solutions to management while ensuring business needs are met. Steve works with Human Resources, Facilities, and other employees at all levels, for adherence to, and guidance of, OLC policies, procedures, and practices.
Scope, Objectives and Program Objectives
Some of the factors that can be reviewed to determine whether the program is being properly administered and successful are:
• Has the program helped to improve the health habits OLC employees? (Survey/Feedback)
• Is there a high level of awareness of the program? (Survey/Attendance/Feedback)
• Have large numbers of employees participated in the programs? (Attendance Sheets)
• Has the program achieved high employee satisfaction? (Survey/Evaluations)
Scope, Objectives and Program Objectives
• Propose comprehensive wellness activities and programs of benefit to staff of the OLC.
• Research and develop short and long-term wellness goals for the OLC, including a yearly Wellness Plan.
• Work with OLC management on developing wellness initiatives.
• Track, monitor, and report relative success of wellness program and initiatives to Classification and Pay Manager.
• Write communications regarding wellness related news or issues in the downtown area, prepare small health related articles for the OLC newsletter, ensure the health newsletter is delivered and distributed to all OLC employees monthly.
• Assess current health and safety program, policies, practices, and procedures for compliance with legal requirements and best practices and make recommendations.
1. Development of a Project Plan that includes a Goal, Mission Statement, and project scope with deliverables,
2. Assess best practices from other state agencies, and HMO’s in order to research and leverage programs and policies of benefit to the OLC.
3. Development of a delivery plan that includes a comprehensive yearly wellness, planned wellness activities, written policies, and the development of wellness programs that benefit staff of the OLC,
4. Research and develop long-term wellness goals for the OLC,
5. Creation of an assessment to track, monitor, and report relative success of wellness program,
6. Coordinate the employee-based licensed emergency medical responder program, including maintaining a list of OLC employee emergency medical responder volunteers, soliciting volunteers to be responders, coordinating training for volunteers in concert with Training Office, and conducting meetings with responders to explain responsibilities,
7. Maintain and update emergency response plans and procedures, coordinate emergency evacuation program, maintain a list of floor monitors for 1100 J Street and 925 L Street, conduct yearly meetings or as needed for floor monitors to ensure responsibilities are known, solicit new v volunteers yearly for floor monitors in each building.
9. Write communications regarding health and safety related news or issues in the downtown area to OLC employees, and prepare small health related articles for the OLC newsletter and ensure the related health newsletters are delivered and distributed to all OLC employees,
12. Provide consultation to supervisors, managers, and employees regarding health and safety questions and wellness initiatives,
14. Develop and implement health and safety educational programs or activities to improve awareness of safety and protection procedures,
15. Attend classes and forums related to health and safety to ensure OLC stays in compliance with laws and regulations,
16. Assess current health and safety program, policies, practices, and procedures for compliance with legal requirements and best practices and make recommendations for changes based on assessment,
17. Update forms and policies as needed, prepare reports for executive management, attend meetings, seminars, forums, training, workgroups, demonstrations, or other events as necessary in the performance of duties.
18. Create partnerships with other wellness organizations
Business Objectives/Customer Benefits
The creation and effective implementation of a wellness program will:
1. Provide a wellness program that will attract and retain talent;
2. Formalize the capture and transformation of individual knowledge into organization knowledge;
3. Provide a work environment that encourages and promotes healthy lifestyle choices leading to optimal health and well-being;
4. Empower employees to improve their health and fitness to achieve a better quality of life, while reducing health care costs which results in a more productive workforce;
5. Provide planned wellness activities and health related opportunities to the staff of OLC
Effective Program Administration
The evaluation of program effectiveness focuses on how well the program is being marketed and implemented and the reactions of participating employees to the various program components. Some of the factors that can be reviewed to determine whether the program is being properly administered are:
1. Did the program reach and help to improve the health habits of those employees at greatest need?
2. Was there a high level of awareness of the program?
3. Did large numbers of employees participate in the program?
4. Did the program achieve high employee satisfaction?
Evaluating the employees' awareness is one of the fundamental steps in evaluating our wellness program. An employee survey can be administered to address the employees' knowledge of the existence of the program, the kinds of activities included in the program, the methods for enrolling or participating in the programs, etc. The responses to this survey will help determine whether the program is adequately communicated and understood by our employees. This survey can also be used to solicit feedback regarding the reasons why employees have not elected to participate in the program. A question could be included in the survey which asks the employee to check the reasons for non-participation.
Another key indicator of the program's success is the level of employee participation. Has the program been successful in attracting and keeping participants? This will be measured by tracking the number of employees who participate in the various brown bag seminars, attend the health education classes, attend the health fairs, participate in the health screenings or exercise classes, etc. Some of the methods that can be used to track participation data include sign-in or attendance sheets and self-reporting participation logs.
A final measure of program effectiveness is the participants' satisfaction with the program content, the instructors, the materials, the facilities, etc. Employees' satisfaction with the program can have a major impact upon their perception of the quality of the program. It can also play a key role in the employees' decision to continue participating in the program. Administering employee satisfaction surveys can provide information on what elements of the program the employees like and dislike and can identify areas where you may need to fine tune or modify the program. Using an evaluation form which participants can complete after attending a brown bag seminar or health education class is another way of eliciting information regarding their satisfaction.
Accomplishment of Program Objectives
The evaluation of program outcomes focuses on the effects of the various interventions introduced to your employee population. Was the program able to accomplish the desired results? In order to have a successful program, the effects should be tied to specific program objectives. Objectives could include:
• Improving employees' health habits
• Increasing the employees' level of physical activity
• Reducing workers' compensation costs
• Reducing absenteeism and turnover
• Improving productivity
Multiple measures should be used to assess the accomplishment of the program objectives. A Health Risk Assessment (HRA) can be used to collect baseline data on the employees' health habits and personal characteristics prior to implementation of the program. In order to assess whether health improvements have occurred, a follow-up health risk assessment should be administered after an appropriate time interval. A comparison of the baseline data and data collected during the follow-up HRA should indicate whether the interventions have made an impact on the employee population. Ideally, there should be an improvement (e.g., improvement in overall cholesterol levels or blood pressure scores) in the health risks factors identified in from the initial HRA and administration of a second HRA.
Reviewing employee absenteeism data can also serve as an evaluation measurement. In order to use this data, we will need to identify what types of absenteeism are attributable to health and lifestyle factors. For example, are we only going to track absenteeism for illnesses and injuries rather than for vacations, leaves of absence, jury duty, etc.? We also need to be aware that other factors besides the employees' health can impact absenteeism rates and skew the data. These other factors may include: employees' morale and job satisfaction, outbreaks of flu and other illnesses at work and in the general community, age and health of the employees' children, etc. Tracking utilization of disability and workers' compensation benefits and costs is also a way to evaluate whether the health promotion program is successful. During the design phase of our program, a review of your department's workers' compensation data may identify specific problems or high-cost areas such as back injuries or repetitive strain injuries. If these specific disabilities are targeted by the interventions implemented in our program, then over time changes should most likely occur in your workers' compensation experience in these targeted areas. For example, the implementation of a healthy back and exercise program should result in a reduction in the incidence of back problems.
Establishment of Evaluation Timetable
The need to develop a realistic timetable is crucial for reporting results to departmental management. It is critical that management be provided with periodic reports of results in order to monitor program performance. Management needs to be aware that some program objectives can be accomplished quickly while others will take a considerably longer time period. Establishing a realistic timetable for management will communicate this information and also lessen their expectations for immediate results and goal accomplishment.
Typically, a twelve-month period is a reasonable time frame for reporting back to management regarding the program's accomplishments. Also, anticipated outcomes that are expected to occur in the near future can be addressed. Usually, in the first year of program implementation, results can be reported to management in the areas of program awareness, employee participation, and employee satisfaction. In the second year, reductions in absenteeism should have become evident. In years three-five, any improvements in health care costs and workers' compensation costs should become evident.
The fiscal resources that are available will play an important part in the design and implementation of our work site health promotion program and these resources may dictate the number and types of program activities that will be feasible to implement.
Community resources are usually available to assist our program at no or low cost. For example, it may be necessary for OLC to utilize existing community-based and non-profit organizations for pamphlets, posters, guest speakers, health fairs, and health screenings. We may also want to explore partnership opportunities or rotating responsibility for conducting wellness-related activities. For example, a health fair could be conducted by our department and then the next year another department could conduct the fair.
When planning an employee health promotion program we will need to take into consideration the work environment of our employees. Some of our employees may be in different locations (such as headquarters or field offices). Does our department have conference rooms that we could schedule for a health promotion activity? Are the conference rooms large enough for the turnout we are expecting? For example, if one of the work sites does not have showers, we may not want to make a suggestion to do aerobics for a noon-time exercise. For program success, it will help to adapt a program to the surroundings. Keep in mind available community resources such as health clubs which may offer discounts, the local YMCA, or businesses that will provide fitness programs on-site.
Employee Interest Surveys
An employee interest survey is an effective way to get information from our employees. An interest survey asks what our employees want from a wellness program. An interest survey gives employees a feeling of ownership and involvement in the decision making process. The survey should only request information that the health promotion program can accommodate in the future. Survey results can provide us with vital information that can help us make healthy changes in the work place.
As a 8 year colon cancer survivor my advocacy projects include:
• Keynote speaker at the 2016 Folsom Relay for Life
• American Heart Association Workplace Wellness Gold award 2016
• Received in 2015 the City of Elk Grove Mayor’s Volunteer of the Year Award
• Selected as a 2015 Peer Reviewer for the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program (CDMRP)
• Keynote speaker for the Colon Cancer Alliance 2015 Sacramento Undy Run.
• Steve’s story was featured in Everyday Health Magazine
• Was chosen as a featured speaker for the 2015 Colon Cancer Alliance National Conference
• A past nominee for the Great Comebacks Western Region Award
• An active participant in the Digital Storytelling Project through the CA Colorectal Cancer Program
• Selected by the Colon Cancer Alliance (CCA) to share his story of inspiration on their website, and he works for the buddy program of the CCA giving support to those newly diagnosed
• Has been featured in the Sacramento Bee newspaper and appeared on KXTV Channel 10, along with the American Cancer Society, to discuss colon cancer awareness issues.
I am a certified Worksite Health and Wellness Coordinator through Fitfour I have taken the steps to fully invest myself into educating myself about what it takes to create a comprehensive worksite wellness program. I have always been a lifelong promotor of wellness and fitness. I worked as a nutritionist and at several health clubs while attending, and playing football for, Sacramento State University. After college I competed in the California Peace Officer Olympics in bodybuilding taking the second place medal. I have also competed and finished the Eppies Great Race Iron Man Traithlon. Last year the Office of Legislative Counsel was awarded the American Heart Association Gold medal award for Workplace Wellness.
Major Innovation within our wellness programs include over 150,000 miles walked in our walking club, 2 successful Biggest Loser Contets, over 3,000 poeple attending more than 200 wellness workshops.
The next five years hols so much promise. As HMO's help to deliver information on holistics methods of care, I look forward to educating our employees about the benefits of proper nutrition and exercise and how both can lead to a more healthier and productive lifestyle.