Best practices and success stories

What are other Alberta employers doing to promote wellness in their workplaces? Find out here as we showcase workplace wellness best practices and success stories.

If you're an Alberta employer who would be willing to contribute to this page by sharing your best practices and successes in the area of workplace wellness, please contact us.

Alberta Blue Cross

The Alberta Blue Cross approach to wellness is based on three pillars: supporting individual health, fostering a healthy workplace, and promoting healthy communities. Alberta Blue Cross practices a holistic approach to fostering a healthy workplace, providing an environment that encourages employees to achieve effective life and health balance based on a philosophy that considers not only physical health but also psychological, environmental and social factors.

This includes encouraging healthy eating during the workday, promoting physical activity; focusing on the health of employees at its semi-annual staff assembly; providing employees with annual free flu shots and access to online health risk assessment tools; hosting information sessions on topics such as mental health, diabetes, stress and hypertension; focusing on ergonomics and a healthy work setting; taking precautions in the interest of pandemic preparedness; focusing on employee safety and security; participating in events such as Alberta Winter Walk Day and supporting a healthy work-life balance.

To keep wellness top-of-mind among its employees, the organization also undertakes initiatives to specifically promote workplace wellness. This includes its Step Up To Health and Wellness Challenge initiatives, which saw high levels of employee participation.

Examples

Alberta Oil Tool

Alberta Oil Tool is committed to improving the physical, mental and social wellbeing of Alberta Oil Tool employees by raising awareness, providing information in a fun and rewarding way and implementing programs that promote healthy lifestyle choices.

In 2011, Alberta Oil Tool went tobacco free on the workplace properties. In January 2012, Alberta Oil Tool was presented with the Blue Ribbon Award from the Tobacco Reduction Network for the efforts to reduce tobacco usage within the workplace.

Alberta Oil Tool also hosts an annual Wellness Fair, bringing in vendors within the community who provide information to the employees and their families to assist in making healthier lifestyle choices.

Alberta Oil Tool summary report

Alberta School Employee Benefit Plan

ASEBP, a winner of the Premier's Award for Healthy Workplaces in 2012, introduced a Healthy Workplace Initiative to build upon the strengths that set it apart as an employer of choice, all while tackling health roadblocks for both individuals and the workplace. The initiative identified three main areas for improvement: a revitalization of the organization's best practices, the creation of a fitness committee, and a shift from a social committee to a more balanced spirit committee approach (expanded to address community involvement and workplace atmosphere). These areas have all been addressed in the years since the Healthy Workplace Initiative first launched.

ASEBP also developed its own workplace health model after receiving input from employees during a two-day event known as the "Days of Learning". Employees were asked what they thought was important in regard to health, and then the suggestions were grouped into categories to create the health model.

Today, ASEBP continues to deliver health and wellness initiatives that address every facet health–emotional, physical and nutritional. Employees are actively involved in planning social events such as a fall golf tournament and an annual family barbeque, and vote on the charities that will be supported through the "Casual for a Cause" program each year. Special relief efforts are even organized by employee volunteers as needed, such as bake sales and silent auctions. Time is taken each quarter during Life Event Celebrations to recognize important milestones in employees' personal and work lives, such as marriages, promotions and educational achievements. ASEBP is also an early adopter of the psychological health standards for Canadian workplaces.

ASEBP's Human Resources department ensures that ergonomic assessments are available to each employee to allow for optimal workstation health. The Fitness for Health Committee works to provide a variety of fitness programs that support all levels of fitness and work schedules, and the uptake on these is a testament to their success–approximately one quarter of employees took advantage of the programs this past summer alone. And, the new Cookbook Committee has encouraged employees to submit their favourite recipes for a printed piece that will be the centre of a special cookbook launch potluck this winter.

Learn more about ASEBP by clicking here or by visiting their website, www.asebp.ab.ca. You can also read "All About ASEBP" and their balanced approach to creating a healthy workplace here.

NewATB

At ATB our Wellness lives under the People First banner. The goal for People First is to Inspire, Connect and Be better. People First takes a holistic approach to creating a culture of wellness at ATB, focusing on the key areas of leadership, education, and resources. People First supports one of our key strategic objectives of being The Place to Work.

Commitment to team member wellness comes from the highest executive levels with the ATB Wellness Leadership Committee. People First offers enterprise-wide initiatives that focus on specific wellness topics throughout the year, and ATB leaders are empowered to support and create both formal and informal wellness programs for themselves and their team members. All team members can look to the People First online portal for information and resources, and to build the personal network that will help them reach and achieve their lifestyle goals. Physical, mental and spiritual wellness are all components of the People First wellness platform.

ATB/People First has developed various healthy workplace programs to address workplace health issues, based on the results of the annual Health and Wellness Survey that checks in with all team members on there awareness, understanding and usage of wellness resources.

Based on the results from the surveys and team member suggestions submitted throughout the year, the Wellness Project Team, Mental Health Action Team and the Wellness Ambassadors Committee work to develop programs specific to ATB's needs.

ATB creates awareness regarding programs via:

  • E-posters and monthly Fitness Centre Calendars
  • Targeted campaigns like the ’12 Days of Wellness’ or ’30 x 30 Challenge’
  • Newsletters
  • Lunch & Learn seminars on various topics (nutrition, meditation, women’s health, retirement planning, laughter yoga, etc.)

ATB's programs build skills including:

  • Exercise technique/form information through our People First platform and two worksite fitness centres at Calgary Campus and ATB Place
  • Enterprise training and awareness around mental health using campaigns like the Not Myself @ Work campaign and National Depression Screening Day
  • Stress management tools through lunch & learns and our Lifespeak video library
  • Nutrition counselling available through our Employee and Family assistance program

ATB fosters a supportive environment for team members to include health and wellness into their workday.

  • Workplace 2.0 allows team members to work from home or office to work around family schedules or commuting
  • People First Interactive website allows team members to complete a variety of wellness challenges and enter contests to win Everyday Hero Points.
  • Our Helping Hands program gives team members the chance to ‘give back’ to their community through local area program

Inspire, Connect and Be better. Together, we will make a culture of wellness a reality at ATB.

NewBP Canada

BP Canada is committed to a culture of wellness. As part of BP’s continued investment in its people, an innovative and integrated flexible benefits and wellness program was launched in 2012. The program, called Elements for Life, fully captures the value the company places in its employees.

Program Highlights: BP Canada’s benefit plan and wellness program was strategically structured and branded around the four key elements of health: physical, emotional, financial and social health. Employees can participate in different flexible plan options and wellness activities. As employees participate in the various activities, they accumulate points and are rewarded for program participation using online tools to manage and monitor progress. An annual wellness calendar of activities includes a health fair, biometric screenings, contests and activity challenges.




Criterion Catalysts & Technologies Canada, Inc.

Criterion Catalysts & Technologies Canada has clear objectives and practices as part of its healthy workplace initiative. Some examples include:

  • A Health Challenge that improves personal health by encouraging employees to make healthier lifestyle choices and reduce absenteeism.
  • Ergonomic assessments that decrease the occurrence of musculoskeletal injuries throughout the workplace and aid in correcting issues that may arise.
  • A No Harm to People initiative that focuses on decreasing the occurrence of worksite occupational illness related to health issues through training programs and on-going exposure monitoring programs.

Many of the organization's senior managers sit on the Health and Safety Committee. The committee has seen an improvement in employee health since its inception.

Workforce diversity has been improved through employee training opportunities, including such programs as the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People and Dale Carnegie courses. Annual individual development plans also help employees gain new skills and education. These programs help to reduce employee stress and encourage a healthy work-life balance. Other notable programs include a smoking cessation program, and extensive measures to create a clean work environment.

The workplace illness policy encourages employees to stay home and rest if they are sick. Hand sanitizers are also supplied throughout the worksite and are issued to employees to take home during the flu season. These efforts aid in the prevention of sickness throughout the workplace.

Edmonton Police Service (EPS)

The EPS Chief's Health and Safety Policy Statement makes a commitment to protecting the health and safety of all members, responsibilities and accountabilities of health and safety performance, and setting an example and providing leadership in promoting a healthy work environment.

EPS has several key priorities that strongly support a healthy workplace and promote employee wellness, including:

  • Conducting a Wellness Health Fair to promote healthy, active lifestyles for all EPS employees.
  • Seasonal flu clinics are offered at different EPS locations in the fall with the EPS covering the costs of the vaccinations.
  • Health nurse consults are available to members on varying topics including diet, nutrition, blood pressure clinics, and other health related matters.
  • Reviewing the existing EPS Employee Rewards and Recognition Program.
  • Implementing an annual, mandatory Wellness Evaluation Program for specialized section teams to assess their work's impact on psychological and emotional health and wellness.

EPS also offers a number of employee and organizational wellness branch programs. Some examples include psychological, chaplain, cafeteria, fitness, employee assistance and disability management services.

There are many excellent examples of programs and initiatives presently in place at EPS that came about as a positive response to member feedback and evaluation. Here are three examples:

  1. On Site Canteen: This canteen was closed due to a number of concerns over food prices and nutritional quality. A Canteen Governing Committee identified a new vendor and reopened as Culina Cantina to much support and appreciation from employees.
  2. Mandatory Wellness Evaluation (MWE) Program: Concerns were raised based on the belief that there are specialized areas within the EPS that may pose potential risk to the psychological and/or emotional health and wellness of members assigned to work in them. The periodic evaluation of these members assessed their psychological health as well as their continued appropriate functioning within their specialized area. The MWE program was then designed and planned over the next year and is operating successfully today.
  3. Five-year Fitness Program Plan: This plan includes recommendations to continue to offer free fitness classes to all employees, to retain the mandatory fitness requirement and to introduce new means to encourage fitness, proper nutrition and a healthy lifestyle.
  4. Two full time staff in the Fitness and Active Lifestyle Unit are available for individual consultations and fitness plan development.

Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital (GRH)

One of the key guiding principles at the GRH is being a workplace of choice! The GRH fosters a comprehensive wellness program that promotes a healthy work environment under the leadership of a site Work on Wellness (WOW) committee which consists of all levels of management and front line staff. The committee develops and facilitates annual workplace wellness goals and objectives and empowers employees to take responsibility for their own wellness.

The wellness program at GRH covers five areas that make up a healthy workplace. Here are a few examples for what has been accomplished to date in each area:

Physical

  • Renovation of GRH Staff Fitness Centre including fundraising to support the purchase of new equipment to enhance the site's Fitness Centre.
  • Coordination of additional bike racks and increase staff lockers.
  • Coordination of walk/run groups/fundraisers.
  • Organization of Creating Healthy Eating Environment presentations to raise awareness and assist staff who are working on specific objectives to enhance their healthy choices.
  • Access to onsite annual Flu vaccinations for staff.

Intellectual

  • Raised awareness of development and mentoring programs available via AHS, HR or AHS Staff Development office.
  • Highlighted tools and resources available at GRH via the intranet site.
  • Organized wellness TED Talk viewing sessions for managers.

Spiritual

  • Organization of weekly Yoga classes.
  • Coordination of Mindfulness Meditation classes.
  • Creation of a culture of wellness (for example, by having departmental wellness challenges).
  • Development of site-specific healthy workplace guidelines.
  • Working with the United Way campaign to encourage philanthropy.

Emotional

  • Organization of six Wear your Jeans to Work weeks over the past year.
  • Contributions to support an all-day nursing retreat for two inpatient units.
  • Piloting of CREW (Civility, Respect and Engagement in the Workplace) initiative on two inpatient units.
  • Coordination of staff donations to Edmonton Food Bank and Youth Emergency Shelter.

Social

  • Annual Canada Day all staff barbeque,
  • Annual all staff Pancake Breakfast for K Days,
  • GRH WOW Annual Golf Tournament
  • Special events such as Wheelchair basketball tournament to raise awareness.

Click here to read a full Work on Wellness document provided by GRH

City of Grande Prairie

The City of Grande Prairie develops guidelines and programs that allow employees to make work and life "work" for them. Some examples include:

  • Three to four wellness programs a month (for example, kayak and golf lessons, and a biggest loser challenge),
  • various committees including the Workplace Learning Committee and Environmental Sustainability Committee,
  • Social Club events,
  • flex-time,
  • employee personal services,
  • fitness facilities,
  • a healthy lunch program, and
  • a Safety Advisory Team.

The City of Grande Prairie conducted a health and wellness survey to promote better wellness activities in the workplace. With the survey results from employees, wellness programs were created that reach all age groups, genders and interests. A wellness e-mail address was added that allows employees to send in suggestions on new programs and provide feedback on old ones. Furthermore, an internal wellness web site allows health testimonials to be shared with the rest of the city.

Ergonomic assessments, blood pressure and cholesterol monitoring are available to every employee. Recognition and appreciation are important factors to wellness in the workplace. The City of Grande Prairie offers an outstanding achievement in workplace health safety and wellness award. There is also a health and wellness appreciation and awareness barbecue. Furthermore, there is an annual health and safety retreat.

The Wellness Committee regularly measures the impact of events. It uses surveys on a regular basis and has an internal web site that tracks past wellness events. A feedback form is submitted to participants, after most events, that measures sentiment and looks for ways to improve programs where required.

Red Deer Primary Care Network (RDPCN)

The philosophy of the Red Deer Primary Care Network encompasses leadership in workplace wellness. Gandhi’s adage “You must be the Change you wish to see in the world” is used as a strategic challenge for workplace wellness as well as patient care. The PCN has also cleverly adapted the Balance Wheel, an effective tool used in individual and group patient care, into a workplace wellness tool. Staff can easily visualize, identify and engage in the various elements of workplace wellness available to support them. The workplace wellness wheel offers a good variety of supports in each of mind, body and spirit.

Staff members are involved in planning workplace wellness yearly plans, show leadership in various aspects such as office activity recesses and provide input into the engagement and effectiveness of the program through surveys such as the Staff Survey and the Off Your Butt Survey. The continuous quality improvement philosophy of the Red Deer PCN keeps the programs fresh and the positive and the fun atmosphere associated with the various activities keeps staff engagement high.

Workplace wellness balance wheel

SAIT Polytechnic

SAIT's dedication in providing time and resources to improve workplace wellness are evident: The Code of Ethics (Ethics FIRST stands for Fairness, Integrity, Respect, Safety, and Transparency), health-focused strategic plan, and appointment of a Health and Wellness Optimization Committee serve as examples.

Employees of SAIT Polytechnic have many opportunities to keep active during the work day. Some highlights include: Campus centre gyms, arenas, a swimming pool, a bowling alley, outdoor playing fields, organized intramurals, and organized fitness classes.

To keep employees healthy, SAIT has an on-site medical clinic staffed by five nurses and with regular doctors' clinics as well as chiropractic and massage therapy services.

Healthy workplace assessments have been completed including an annual employee survey, the Alberta Health Services Workplace Health Improvement Project Assessment, and an online survey assessing the satisfaction, needs and interests of health and wellness initiatives offered at SAIT.

Biometrics screenings, over four years, covering total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, BMI, body fat, waist circumference, blood pressure, and blood sugar have also been completed. Needs, interests and medical data were aggregated for analysis and led to active living action plans.

SAIT also considers mental health an important factor in its wellness approach. For example, the Employee and Family Assistance Program offers guidance and advice to employees and their families on personal or work-related issues.

Triple M Housing

Triple M Housing is a privately owned, modular and manufactured housing company in Lethbridge. Triple M supports the belief that a company is only as strong as its workers, and are proud that many of their employees have been with them since the business started. Triple M supports the health of their employees and shows this by creating a policy to reflect management's intentions for the health of their employees. The closing remarks of this policy states, "Our goal is a healthy, injury free workplace for all employees. This can be attained and maintained by working together."

In 2012, Triple M joined the Workplace Health Improvement Project as a Pilot Employer. Previous to joining the pilot, they had no formal health strategies in place and did not address or provide specific programming related to the health of employees. After assessing the health of their organization and determining priorities, they indicated that they would like to address the following areas:

  • Develop an employee health survey
  • Provide educational materials for their staff (i.e. health screening resources)
  • Provide funding to support wellness programs
  • Develop a tracking tool to monitor and evaluate progress towards health outcomes

Triple M needed internal and external support when planning their workplace health program. They already had the support of their EFAP, a health benefits program, and staff time to coordinate activities. An objective of participating in the Workplace Health Improvement Project was to expand these supports and encourage the creation of more workplace health activities in their organization.

During the pilot year, Triple M was very successful in getting their workplace program off the ground and accomplished many things:

  • Developed integrated and dedicated support for the workplace health program
  • Refinement of workplace health policies (I.e. drug and alcohol policy)
  • Expanded the focus of their Joint Health and Safety Committee to include health and wellness
  • Increased communication to employees (I.e. monthly newsletters, health and safety committee, health and wellness information center)
  • Conducted an Employee Interest Survey and Health Fair
  • Allocation of funds to the Health and Wellness Program
  • Building internal and external partnerships
  • Creation of an Evaluation Strategy
  • Application to the Premier's Healthy Workplace Award

Since the completion of the pilot project, Triple M has moved forward with planning and implementing many activities from their action plan and will continue to improve in the years to come.

  • Participated in a Healthy Vending Survey and are now working with their supplier to provide healthier food options in the cafeteria vending machines
  • Partnership with the U of L Nursing practicum students (healthy eating was the theme of the work completed by the students at Triple M)
  • Follow-up interest survey (with increased participation from the original survey)
  • Hired a full time LPN Health nurse to increase the support needed for the workplace health program

For a more detailed description of Triple M's experience in the Workplace Health Improvement Project, view their detailed Summary Report.

University of Lethbridge

(Text selected from Living Well at the U of L–click the link below to read the full document)

In 2008, U of L hired a Wellness Coordinator to focus on the development, implementation and delivery of prevention and early intervention programs and services. As a result, a Wellness Vision and Mission statement have been written and activities have been implemented to address and provide target programming related to the health of employees, which include:

  • Vascular and related diseases screening program
  • Fitness facility and policy
  • Lunch and learns
  • Physical activity challenge
  • Stretch and strengthen program
  • Annual Life Balance Fair with health screenings, influenza immunizations and other interactive health and wellness activities
  • Formation of a Wellness Committee

In 2012, the U of L joined the Workplace Health Improvement Project as a Pilot Employer. U of L was particularly interested in having support to strengthen its business plan and prioritize their next steps for health promotion activities and programs. In particular, U of L required support from the Workplace Health team to develop and implement a comprehensive employee health and wellness survey.

The University of Lethbridge has continued to improve its wellness programming and initiatives through annual program reviews. The next 12 months will focus on development of these goals:

  1. Review and improve overall Worksite Wellness Program Policy.
  2. Improve accessibility to nutrition information and services on campus.
  3. Ensure employees are orientated to health and wellness policies as part of Human Resources and Wellness Orientations.
  4. Schedule weekly appearances in various departments–traveling 'wellness' cart with information on available wellness services.
  5. Investigation of electronic wellness portal.

Click here to read the full document

NewWorkers' Compensation Board

The Workers’ Compensation Board - Alberta (WCB - Alberta) believes the health, safety and well-being of its employees is critical to the organization’s success. Wellness is the foundation of all WCB – Alberta activities and together with our employees, contractors and visitors we promote best in class health, safety and environmental standards that create a healthy environment for all.

Our Corporate Wellness Statement is endorsed by our President & CEO and each leader in the organization is responsible for ensuring employees are working in a safe and healthy environment. WCB - Alberta provides wellness initiatives aimed to support all employees towards achievement of corporate objectives and positions WCB - Alberta as a best practice employer in the Alberta marketplace.

  • A Health, Safety & Wellness Advisory Committee made up of 21 cross-functional representatives from across the organization including representation from our Executive team.
  • An extensive safety program which includes: hazard assessment, workplace safety evaluations, incident investigation and reporting, safety orientation, safe work procedure training, Corporate Security, an internal domestic violence resource network, and emergency response plans.
  • Flexible work options to balance home and work life.
  • 24 hour access to an Employee and Family Assistance Program.
  • Health protection including medical, dental, vision and travel coverage.
  • Cafeterias with healthy food choices including daily “Lite Side” options.
  • On-site fitness facilities, fitness classes and Fitness Consultant.
  • Discounts on annual fitness passes through City of Edmonton Recreation Facility Discount Program; MacEwan University Sport and Wellness centre, YMCA, and SNAP Fitness Studio.
  • Company organized fitness challenges and walking and running clubs.
  • Annual participation in Edmonton and Calgary Corporate Challenge events.
  • Fitness Tracking Database where employees can track their personal workout activities.
  • Smoking cessation reimbursement program and a Weight Watchers at Work program.
  • Quarterly health related lunch-&-learn sessions.
  • On-site quiet rooms, massage therapy, physical therapy and ergonomic assessments.
  • Annual on-site flu shot clinics.
  • Income protection through employer-paid sick leave and long-term disability plans.
  • Financial protection for families through life and accident insurance.
  • Ongoing communication to employees of key aspects of our programs including links to external resources.

WCB - Alberta is proud to have been recognized for our health, safety and wellness program:

  • 2008 Premier's Award for Healthy Workplaces - Award of Merit (Large Workplace).
  • 2009 Alberta Venture’s Best Workplaces Awards - Alberta’s Best Workplace for Health & Safety.
  • 2010 Alberta Venture’s Best Workplaces Awards – Honourable Mention Alberta’s Best Workplace for Benefits.
  • 2011 Premier’s Award for Healthy Workplaces - Award of Distinction (Large Workplace).
  • 2014 Alberta Venture’s Best Workplaces Awards - Alberta’s Best Workplace for Health & Safety.
  • 2014 Premier’s Award for Healthy Workplaces - Award of Distinction (Large Workplace).

To find out more information about our organization please visit www.wcb.ab.ca

 

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