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April 9, 2013

FITNESS SOURCE: Healthy employees, healthy business

Prioritizing employee health can be a boon for businesses

> SOUTHERN INDIANA — As CEO of Clark Memorial Hospital, Padgett is ultimately responsible for the well-being of thousands of patients annually. To make sure that the people he serves get the care they need, he needs to make sure his staff of doctors, nurses, specialists, administrators and assistants are up to the task. And that doesn’t just mean making sure they have the best tools and training to do the job. In the health care business, wellness has a trickle-down effect. Clark Memorial puts a priority on the health of its staff, promoting both physical and emotional well-being.

Clark Memorial’s wellness center is open to its employees at a discounted rate, which can become free with a certain level of participation. The center includes personal trainers, nutritional education, chronic disease management and even free Zumba. 

“All of those things together enable us to have more energy, more focus more positive attitude in everything that we do, both here at work and at home,” says Padgett. 

In a hospital setting, workplace wellness seems to be a no-brainer of a priority. After all, healthy employees are also more resistant to contracting disease, and who’s more exposed to disease than an ER nurse? But anyplace work is being done, workplace wellness should be a priority, says Chuck Gillespie, the executive director of the Indiana Wellness Council. 

“If you think about it, a healthier employee is a safer employee, especially if you’re in a manufacturing environment,” Gillespie says. “Chances are, if that person is fitter, their chances of injury become substantially less. At the same time, if they do injure themselves, because they are fitter, their chances of returning from the injury is quicker and shorter.” 

And that’s just the beginning. 

“The ultimate benefit for an employer is to reduce turnover and increase team member satisfaction and team member engagement,” Padgett says. “A more engaged work force is really more of a productive work force, which provides for better quality and better service. So anytime you can lower turnover, that also lowers your costs because you’re not hiring and training new folks. It just keeps a more stable work force to provide a better product.”

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