I am Beti Becker, Human Resources Director for Idaho Forest Products Group. IFG has five wood products manufacturing operations in Idaho employing 860 workers. We have been embracing wellness for eight years.
As a way to enhance our benefits program and educate employees about healthy lifestyles, eight years ago I entered into the wellness field. I spent a great deal of time reading and networking. Welcoa’s The Art & Science of Building & Sustaining a Results Oriented Wellness program gave me the confidence I needed to become a wellness leader. Although I have reached Faculty status, my quest for learning and sharing continues. At IFG, team members are treated as family and of importance to us is to provide education and the resources necessary for them to embrace and become responsible for their personal health.
“People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care” is a quote I learned through Welcoa that absolutely inspires me to reach out and inform our team members about the lifestyle changes they can make, and how we are here to guide them. Our desire is for our team members to lead healthy lifestyles so they can enjoy their own personal interests for a life time. One of the major health promotions contributing to our growing success of encouraging healthy lifestyles was the development our IFG for Life program (Individual Fitness Goals), which concentrates on improving outcome based modifiable health risks – blood pressure, cholesterol, glucose and weight. Bonus participatory health activities include being a health mentor to coworkers, writing an inspirational article about personal healthy lifestyle accomplishments for the company newsletter, spouse exam and completion of GHA, etc. With input from our wellness teams, annual biometrics, medical and pharmacy reports, we are able to assess the overall health data of our team members and then design campaigns to tackle areas in which health improvements are needed. Results of the IFG for Life program are continually validated when considering the cost of our healthcare program is below the national average. Our commitment to the health of our team members has proven to them that we truly care for their well-being, in turn inspiring them to live healthier and lead more active lives. Our wellness committees serve to help create challenging campaigns with variety to keep team members interested. The Committee’s most important contribution is communication to ensure team members understand that every step they take to improve their health is fully supported by the company . A couple memorable campaigns include ‘Pound 4 Pound’ where weight loss pounds are converted to pounds of food donated to local food banks. Another fun event is our annual bike to work campaign. Our team members frequently thank us for dedicating our time and talent to help them improve and maintain their health. These employee testaments rejuvenate us all to be empowered in our own lives. Rather than place the importance on tracking numbers, our owners are satisfied walking through any of our facilities and seeing the overall improvement in the health and vitality of our workers. That inspiration became life-changing when one of our owners ran/walked his first marathon at age 78! Our president recently challenged team members in a local race, ‘Are you faster than Scott?’ Many employees now proudly wear t-shirts declaring they are faster than Scott. Our CEO and owners fully support our wellness program and set a good example for all of us. These behavioral changes weren’t fathomable before striving for wellness and our IFG for Life program was implemented. Positive ‘can do’ attitudes are something almost every company wishes for, and we are proud to say that our team members live and breathe with a whole new zest for life. Our culture is changing, and we couldn’t be more excited.
Overseeing the Wellness Programs as HR Director, I strive to lead by example, keeping myself physically fit and at a healthy weight. I regularly use the gym and participate in our wellness programs alongside coworkers. When biometric tests are conducted, I have used myself as an example to show our team members who can be skeptical or have fears. Additionally, I partake in walking and weight loss campaigns, and have enrolled with a health coach. Our health insurance carrier- Regence Blue Shield, along with Welcoa, are both great sources of information that have assisted me in starting and maintaining the effectiveness of our wellness program. Advice - To be a successful wellness practitioner, you must absolutely believe in the benefits of wellness for yourself as well as others. Seeing our team members succeed and reach goals they have set for themselves is extremely exhilarating. Knowing you had a hand in generating their empowerment and self-assurance is life altering.
We create wellness posters highlighting team member achievements, and our team members are competitive, so it is the ‘if he can do it, so can I’ attitude which inspires. We purchased blood pressure monitors and scales that calculate biometrics. Team members may use any time, and they know their numbers and proudly inform us of goal accomplishments. Our operating locations are remote, so two operations set up mini-gyms with donated exercise equipment. Supervisors use the equipment as well, setting a good example. We observed minimal fruit and vegetables in team member sack lunches. To reinforce nutritional value, we deliver free fruits and vegetables to lunchrooms every other week and have demonstrated smoothie recipes. We partner with our health carrier on Train the Trainer wellness education for our HR Wellness Champions, and they in turn train our workers. We are pleased with resulting improved health, behavioral and cultural changes from all our innovations.
It is my belief that the largest threat to the US population is obesity, coupled with declining time management, supplemented by an over-abundance of fast/processed food. With overloaded schedules, negative behavioral traits surface resulting in a need to reward ourselves with big, unhealthy meals or treats along with extra time to laze around being inactive. As a wellness practitioner within my company, I possess the desire and skills to positively influence and educate those around me. Once wellness becomes the norm within the workplace, we can reach out to influence healthy lifestyles within our communities. To start branching out, I’m partnering with our health carrier to establish a local employer wellness network to share best practices, resolve challenges and keep wellness on the forefront of our lives and those we inspire. We will work toward spreading healthy lifestyle messages within our communities. Working together, we can accomplish great things.