The Boston Business Journal has Again Named Wellesley Among the Area's Healthiest Employers

April 13, 2016
The College's Boston Business Journal 2016 healthiest employers award.

For the second year, Wellesley College has been named among the area's Healthiest Employers by the Boston Business Journal (BBJ). The BBJ hosted its 6th annual Healthiest Employers program, honoring the most outstanding health and wellness programs among companies and nonprofits in Massachusetts, late last month. Selected from hundreds of organizations, the College placed 10th overall.

The College's focus on programs such as Healthy You, made a positive impression on this year's evaluators. Healthy You, Wellesley's wellness initiative, is made up of a variety of programs and includes financial incentives. Some of the goals of the program are to increase healthy behaviors and reduce medical claims. A 2015 survey indicated that Healthy You is one of the top 3 reasons employees value working at the College.

"One of our major goals with the Healthy You program is to increase engagement across the campus community," said Marymichele Delaney, associate director of human resources for total compensation and operations. "The programs that we create for Healthy You, including the Walking Challenge, are structured to meet the needs of our broad faculty and staff community. We feel the Healthy You initiative has changed the culture on campus to one that is more health focused."

The College's third annual Walking Challenge kicked off last week and will continue through May 12. Employee feedback, collected via survey, helped lead to some changes in this year's Challenge. Though still called a Walking Challenge, "steps" for running, biking, zumba, and other activities are also being tracked. Additionally, employees can choose to participate as individuals or to develop much larger teams than previously allowed (up to 23 people).

In last year's Challenge, participating faculty and staff members collectively walked a distance equal to over 80,000 miles.

The Healthy You programs, like the Walking Challenge, are designed to target weight, stress and blood pressure, three major risk factors for employees health. Following several successful years of this program, the College "raised the bar" to look at wellness holistically and created the Whole You initiative, a 12-month calendar of programs, segmented by life stages, by topic, and delivered in a variety of ways. The program’s four areas are: Healthy You, Prosperous You, Develop and Reward You, and Engage You.

According to data shared with the BBJ, the numbers are positive: in 2015, 245 people had biometrics conducted; 230 took a health risk assessment; 198 watched on-line educational videos; and 437 participated in the Walking Challenge. Additionally, the College paid $44,000 in incentives. "These numbers speak to strong engagement and our organizational culture of health," the College reported to the BBJ.