By Mountain Family Health Centers
Mountain Family Health Centers works hard to be a Certified Healthy Workplace™ Leader, as recognized by the organization Health Links. Health Links recently featured Mountain Family Health Centers as a success story. We appreciate the hard work that Health Links does to help create a culture of health, safety, and well-being for employees.
Success Stories: Mountain Family Health Centers / Glenwood Springs, CO
Certified Healthy Workplace™ Leader
Health Links (HL): What does being a healthy workplace mean to your organization?
Mountain Family Health Centers (MFHC): Mountain Family Health Centers is a Community Health Center that is passionate about serving our community in regards to medical, dental, and behavioral health care, regardless of ability to pay. We deliver the highest quality health care that allows our patients to live healthy lives and to assist our community in being a healthier, more productive place. With our organization’s mission in mind, we try to mirror that and give our employees and their families the opportunity to achieve total well-being.
If our employees and their families are able to utilize our wellness tools, they are on their way to being their best selves. If and when this happens, we have accomplished our goal. Our organization is made up of so many different types of people from all walks of life. By offering a diverse wellness plan, we can reach everyone.
Holding the title of Certified Healthy Workplace™ Leader allows us to show and speak to the great work we are all doing.
HL: How does your organization create a culture of health, safety, and well-being for employees?
MFHC: We like the phrase “pot calling the kettle black.” We want our employees want to practice what they preach. Why would our patients listen to what we suggest if we don’t try to do those same things?
Mountain Family also has a supportive leadership team that recognizes the need for total well-being. Our leadership values this so much that we include the following in our Quadruple Aim of Service Excellence: “Create and maintain an Index of Well-being.”
I believe our biggest
driving factor is our wellness program. It starts with our Wellness Plan.
Mountain Family offers up to 20 hours of paid time off each year for completing
various activities such as wellness checks, eye exams, coaching children’s
soccer teams, gym memberships, volunteering in the community, smoking
cessation, and so much more. We reward our employees for making efforts to live
healthier lives, serve their community, and engage with their families. We not
only reward employees with paid time off but, but we offer the opportunity to
complete these activities during work.
Our organization has a wellness champions committee that puts together walking
groups during breaks, healthy cooking tips lunch and learns, and sponsors our
clinic gardens. We allow them to lead the charge and do what they feel
passionate about. I truly believe that to achieve success, you have to allow
others to drive that work.
HL: What changes have
you seen among your employees, their families, or the surrounding community as
a result of your program(s)?
MFHC: We launched our Wellness Program in 2015. Prior to this, employees did
not receive discounted gym memberships, additional time off, rewards for having
great workplace safety scores, or opportunities to include their families in
the workplace. I would say we were a 1990’s style company on the verge of
making a splash in the new age workplace. Our organization saw where the future
of Community Health Centers was going and chose to lead instead of follow.
Immediately, our leadership got on board and made a roar. They fully supported
the plan and made their stance vocal through company newsletters, community
partners, and in all-staff meetings. They made it apparent that they truly care
about the health and well-being of our employees and their families.
This took our total well-being initiative from 10% to 95% participation in the
first year. By year two, we had 98% and as of 2018, we had everyone in the
organization participate at least once throughout the year! This was amazing.
People were passionate about earning their extra time off to use it for what
they loved and needed.
Our employees soon requested they get acknowledged for outcomes-based data
rather than just participation. We had employees asking for tools to quit
smoking and education on how to have more ergonomic workspaces. They truly
wanted more out of their organization and that was refreshing. These are people
who already do so much, but wanted to do better.
This rapidly growing success was soon noticed by our fellow community partners
in the Valley Well Workplace Partnership. This group asked Mountain Family to
join the cause of helping make Garfield, Pitkin, and Eagle counties the
healthiest in the state. This was a huge honor. We were able to share our
successes and challenges with the team and help start several of our local
businesses on the path to a healthy workplace. We participated in a health and
wellness symposium that gave resources to our small business that would allow
them to have a wellness program of their own. We expressed that wellness plans
aren’t a one size fits all. This was relieving to so many of our small
employers that just felt that a healthy workplace was out of reach for them. We
never thought that our small program would reach so many.
HL: How has Health Links helped your organization?
MFHC: For starters, we honestly fell into a relationship with Health Links. One
of our nurses in our Edwards location heard about a presentation Health Links
was giving at CMC. We were not invited, but we crashed the party anyway. I took
our whole wellness team with me (seven employees). What a surprise that was for
After the presentation, we were fired up. Health Links was going to be a tool
that we could use to create a well-rounded program. We didn’t realize that we
not only wanted our employees to be healthy in body, mind, and soul, but safe
in the workplace as well. Workplace safety wasn’t even on our radar when we
realized what a healthy workplace was.
Health Links set us up with an advisor, Amanda Wagner. Amanda was our fearless
leader. She helped us complete an assessment that would start us off. The
results were hard to accept at first. We had so much we wanted to achieve and
so far to go. Through the use of our assessment, coaching sessions, and
webinars, we were able to measure where we were and how we were going to
achieve our goals.
Lastly, Health Links has kept the fire going for us. Like most employers, we
are a little bit competitive. We want to win and we want to be recognized for
our great work. Starting in our second year, Health Links made us aware that
there were workplace well-being and safety awards that were up for grabs. We
were all over that. We came very close several years in a row. We could taste
the recognition. This made us want to keep evolving our programs and strive for
bigger and better things.
I don’t believe that our program would be the same without the help of Health
HL: What tips or pieces of advice would you give to a workplace looking to
create a healthier, safer, and happier environment?
MFHC: Total well-being does not have a key ingredient. Each organization has
different needs, means, and buy-in. You have to know your audience and listen
to what they need.
The greatest advice I was ever given was to name some champions and allow them
to help drive the program. A healthy workplace isn’t achieved through one
person. We have wellness champions at each site that report to the group each
month on the events they created, the culture of the clinic, and what they want
to do next. I don’t have the weight of that responsibility on my shoulders. I
facilitate the committee, but I allow them to run it.
You truly have to want a healthier, safer, and happier environment. If the only
driving factors are money, a sign on your front door, or bragging rights, that
isn’t enough. This has to be about the whole organization. Yes, you want your
workforce to be more present and productive. Yes, you want your community to
have a positive outlook on your company. Yes, you want employees to be happy.
Are you willing to combine all of those things and think about how this will
impact your employees, their families, and the community? I urge you to truly
think about those questions.
Once you have decided to make the change, expect that it may take some time.
Know that you will have make progress, but have setbacks. Don’t get discouraged
if you lose momentum. You can always try again.