The University of Wisconsin Oshkosh has earned another GOLD rating, and, this time, it is nod to the efforts and concentration of employees on everyday health and wellness efforts ranging from “Walking Wednesdays” to the “Healthy Titans” initiative.
The Wellness Council of Wisconsin has awarded 1,700-employee UW Oshkosh “Well Workplace GOLD” status, a designation that puts the state’s third-largest higher education institution into the ranks of “America’s Healthiest Companies.”
“Earning this status meant a lot of hard work and effort by employees who not only are making the commitment to stay active and make healthy decisions but also going the extra mile to document our efforts and share our story,” said Vice Chancellor of Finance and Administration Tom Sonnleitner. “From our human resources teams to colleagues in our business offices to the employees who, one by one, are sharing their lunch hours walking our fieldhouse track on cold days or enrolling in our homegrown Healthy Titans program, this award and honor is the result of a team effort.”
The University is now among a select few higher education institutions to date to achieve the GOLD designation, a status held by many Wisconsin companies and hundreds of other organizations throughout the United States.
The Well Workplace Awards initiative is driven by a rigorous set of criteria outlined in WELCOA’s seven benchmarks to a result-oriented Well Workplace. Since its inception in 1991, over 1,000 organizations, ranging from educational institutions to non-profit and profit sectors have joined the list of “America’s Healthiest Companies” by receiving the Well Workplace Award.
“UW Oshkosh’s achievement of Well Workplace establishes the organization’s commitment to creating a supportive environment for its employees,” said Wellness Council of Wisconsin Executive Director Jessica Raddemann. “This award serves as a constant reminder of the fundamentals of workplace wellness in achieving the organization’s highest priority – its employees’ health and well-being”
“In a time when the health of our nation’s workers is not what it should be and health care costs consistently reflect this trend, the Well Workplace initiative provides employers with a powerful approach to stemming the tide of increasing costs and systematically working toward improving the health and well-being of (their) most valuable asset-their employees,” said Dr. David Hunnicutt, President of the Wellness Council of America (WELCOA).
The Well Workplace designation remains in effect for UW Oshkosh for 36 months.
The behind-the-scenes work and collaboration to piece together UW Oshkosh’s application for the award required collaboration across the organization.
Jamie Schwister, UW Oshkosh’s business analyst manager, helped gather and frame the incredible array of accomplishments required to qualify as a Well Workplace, from the invigoration of the institution’s employee wellness committee over the last year to results gained from greater involvement in campuswide, employee health-risk assessments (HRAs).
Schwister said she and partners – including colleagues from departments as diverse as human resources to Kinesiology in the College of Letters and Science – worked on documenting alcohol and tobacco polices, seatbelt and other safety practices and a new operating plan that outlines several campus goals, including greater, voluntary participation in UW Oshkosh HRAs and an overall reduction in employees body-mass-index (BMI) numbers.
“It was a lot of work, but the more involved we got into building our case for Well Workplace status, the more we realized all of the incredibly meaningful things that we – employee-by-employee – are doing to improve our individual and organizational health, wellbeing and efficiency,” Schwister said.
“We’re really proud of this accomplishment,” said Tim Danielson, UW Oshkosh director of Human Resources. “This is an affirmation that it takes the individual work and cooperation of each employee in an organization our size to really make a difference when it comes to our overall health and wellness. The honor is really another testament to the one-for-all and all-for-one attitude and dedication our UW Oshkosh employees embrace.”
The Wellness Council of Wisconsin was founded in 1985 by nine employers from the Wisconsin business community. With more than 5,000 member organizations located throughout North America, WELCOA is highly recognized and regarded for their innovative and result-oriented approach to worksite wellness.