Anoka County’s wellness initiative needed to designate someone to tend to it vs. being held together strictly by volunteer committee. Utilization was increasing, job satisfaction was declining, and engagement was becoming increasingly more difficult. With Board approval, they assigned Karly Hall, Employee Relations Consultant: Training & Wellness, to attend part-time to the initiative and bring it into the forefront of the organization. Being that Karly was only just hired in February 2016, had other assigned duties, and no dedicated support, she produced a strong platform for wellness to be built.
During her brief tenure, Karly has rebranded the program, developed robust and all-inclusive programming (on a minimal budget), and provided an internal resource that employees can rely on for their wellness needs. In addition to her accomplishments with the wellness program, Karly has an immense appetite for her own professional growth. All of which makes her an outstanding candidate for the Top 100 professional status.
Karly J. Hall
I received my Bachelor's degree in mass communication from Minnesota State University Moorhead in 2002. Over the last five years, I’ve earned certifications as a professional coach and personal trainer and started a wellness blog. I’m in the process of earning my master’s degree in Holistic Nutrition and Natural Healing from the University of Natural Health. As the Employee Relations Consultant: Training & Wellness for Anoka County, I quickly earned three WELCOA certifications, and am beginning my fourth to become a Certified WELCOA Faculty member. I have a true passion for wellness and helping others find their path to health.
The main wellness program concern at Anoka County was engagement. There were simply not enough programs being offered to employees to educate and empower themselves to make healthier decisions. After gathering our medical insurance utilization data, I discovered our employees were also suffering from high inflammation and diabetes, which after discussion with management, we felt was a direct impact on stressful working conditions, in addition to a lack of support and education.
With County Board support, I developed a comprehensive plan to take employees “whole life” into account – mind, body, relationships, finances, etc. – and created new programs, including a volunteer club, in-house health and wellness trainings, and hands-on cooking classes. I’m also in the midst of establishing a CSA (community shared agriculture) partnership to help bring healthy food right to the office. I was able to construct a robust operations plan on a minimal budget.
I also created a group called Wellness Champions; employees across all departments that would serve as “cheerleaders” for the wellness initiatives. To provide employees with additional support, I have an open door policy where employees are free to discuss with me their personal lifestyle, health, and wellness concerns confidentially.
We’ve received tremendous response to the offerings thus far. The initial wellness trainings and Volunteer Club event had full registration, within one day, and had a full waitlist. I expect that to be the same with our 2017 programming. The fact that I’ve only been in this position since February (no one held this role previously), I’m incredibly proud of what I’ve been able to accomplish for the County’s employee wellness initiative and for the employees themselves.
Moving forward, I will be measuring results by comparing utilization stats and performance evaluations (for troubled behavior) month-over-month and on an annual basis.
As a leader in wellness for Anoka County, it is imperative that I serve as a good role model by making healthy decisions at work and after hours. I keep an upbeat attitude and an open door policy. I have helped others who otherwise felt they were going to be unhealthy for the rest of their lives – that’s an amazing feeling and the reason why I do this work!
I’ve grown as a leader in my industry, because I’ve continued to grow as an individual. I’ve placed a heavy importance on my own continuing education, my own health (in all aspects) outside of work, and maintain a positive presence online for wellness-related topics.
Wellness practitioners need to walk the talk. If you’re not willing to do what it takes to be healthy, how can you expect someone to do the same? Finally, meet others where they’re at, and come ready, willing, and excited to help them make positive changes.
Our previous program was mainly fitness focused, so I began by rebranding. The new name, 360Wellness, is one that’s all encompassing – mind (mindfulness), body, finances, relationships, etc. Employees are now learning our focus is not just their wellness at work, but also about a healthy lifestyle at home. Understanding the power that it’s all connected is the first step in understanding whole-life wellness. Mindfulness is something that’s new to Anoka County, but I believe it breeds positive action, increased engagement, and an enhanced work culture.
Our county is fiscally conservative, so I have a limited budget for wellness. I’ve had the opportunity to develop robust programming and increase engagement predominately grassroots.
Due to the short time this initiative has been live, I don’t have utilization data to analyze cost savings. However, we’ve had record high engagement with the trainings and events, and I believe that’s because the new programming has something for everyone.
It’s been a fun, challenging, and rewarding experience thus far.