> SOUTHERN INDIANA —
And employers are trying some pretty unusual things to engage employees. Gillespie points to Ball State University’s version of “Flat Stanley,” in which its workers were encouraged to have their pictures taken with a laminated version of the school’s mascot, Charlie the Cardinal, while out doing fitness-related activities. Other employers have encouraged activity by promising trips to exotic locations in exchange for meticulous records of steps walked each day. Just 2.2 million steps were required over the course of a year to become eligible for a drawing for a company-funded trip to Hawaii at one Indiana business recently, Gillespie says.
“I thought that was a very unique and fun program that a lot of people got very excited about, and it really kind of took off a lot more,” Gillespie says.
But gimmicks like those aren’t the silver bullet of workplace wellness, says Mike Campbell, the chief wellness officer with Neace Lukens. Campbell eschews referring to a business’s prioritization of wellness as a “program.” Instead, the focus needs to be ingrained in a company’s culture, and that means buy-in from the boss on down.
“The most important aspect of a well culture begins at the top with the CEO, president, owner [or] chairman committed personally to a life of holistic wellness role modeling, leading and personally teaching,” Campbell says.
Perhaps the most visible example of that approach can be found at Jeffersonville City Hall, where Mike Moore is championing fitness not just among the city’s employees, but throughout the community by offering free fitness classes at RiverStage during the warmer months through the Anchors Aweigh program.
For Moore, fitness is important on a deeply personal level. In 2006, Moore was diagnosed with lymphatic cancer, and doctors didn’t give him much of a chance of recovery. Instead of taking his doctors’ advice and telling his children that dad wouldn’t be around much longer, Moore battled the cancer through a regimen of chemotherapy, radiation and exercise.