University to receive employee wellness award

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DECK: Employee wellness program recognized with Workplace Award

Marquette’s faculty and staff are receiving more than just health benefits for their participation in the university’s employee wellness program.

The Well Workplace Award, sponsored by the Wellness Councils of America, will be presented to Marquette at the annual Well City Milwaukee celebration on April 13 at the Pfister Hotel.

Thirty-four other Wisconsin organizations also received this award.

The award was based on incorporating WELCOA’s Well Workplace Model. The model highlights CEO support, collection of data to drive health efforts, a plan to appropriately intervene while maintaining a supportive environment and careful evaluation of outcomes.

The employee wellness program features voluntary activities for employees, such as quit smoking kits and wellness coaching. The 23-member Health & Wellness Committee administers the program.

Amanda Weis, the committee’s vice chair, was hired last January to act as the Employee Wellness Coordinator.

Before Marquette, Weis worked with employee wellness programs at companies such as StayWell and Chrysler. Weis said she thinks employee wellness is vital for the workplace, and it directly affects the well-being of the business as a whole.

“The work site is a great place to encourage a healthy lifestyle because they all spend so much of their time here,” Weis said. “I think it’s the right thing to do for a company, to encourage a healthy environment.”

Weis said approximately 180 Marquette employees participate in the program, although their levels of participation vary

Francis Jacoby, a professor in the College of Engineering, said he only participated in a few employee wellness events, such as blood pressure checks and health evaluations.

“I feel that I know what I need to do for my health without a program,” Jacoby said, “I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad idea, but because it is voluntary, I just don’t participate as much.”

Becky Michelsen, health educator for the Center of Health Education and Promotion, said her experience with the fitness challenge was enjoyable. She said entering the challenge with someone else in her office gave her support during the program.

But Michelsen said she thought general communication about the program could be improved. Although she is aware of the wellness program Web site, Michelsen said most of her information came from her direct supervisor.

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