City of Alpharetta receives Healthiest Employers honor – Atlanta Business Chronicle – The Business Journals

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Healthiest Employers recognizes the innovative organizations that have created robust healthy workplace programs.
Like many municipalities and governments, City of Alpharetta is made up of multiple departments.
Employees at all of them benefit from the city’s health and wellness program, which this year is ranked again on Atlanta Business Chronicle’s Healthiest Employers list in the Medium Company (100-499 employees) category.
Leslie Russell, benefits specialist for City of Alpharetta, replied to questions from the Chronicle about their program.
Why is health and wellness so important to your company? As an employer, we strive to take good care of our employees. Of course we want to offer competitive compensation and a solid benefits plan, but more importantly, what can we do to go further and enhance our employee’s quality of life?
Please tell us about some of the most popular and unique health and wellness initiatives at your company. The most unique benefit offered to the City of Alpharetta is one-on-one health coaching either telephonically or in-person. Participants set personalized short-term and long-term goals and create a custom plan for a healthier lifestyle. The City of Alpharetta employees also look forward to the City Challenge each year where multiple municipalities compete against each other for bragging rights and the coveted City Challenge traveling trophy! One employee said, “One of the greatest motivators is the City Step Challenge. It energized me and my colleagues to push ourselves outside of our comfort zones and aspire to achieve higher goals. I went from 2,000 steps per day to up to 25,000 per day and it felt great to challenge myself.”
What are some of the biggest challenges you face in keeping a healthy work environment? Even prior to Covid, the City of Alpharetta had measures in place to address employee stress with onsite health coaches, an EAP and medical plan. Our coaches have built strong relationships with many of our employees, and they lean on them in times of stress. When Covid-19 hit, our coaches continued to coach by phone or virtually. We felt like the City of Alpharetta employees benefited greatly by having a trusted coach to rely on and to provide a safe space to express their anxiety.
Can you share an anecdote or example of how a health and wellness program worked at your company? Quote from a police officer at City of Alpharetta: “Meeting with my health coach monthly lends support in motivation, goal planning and staying on track. In my busy world, it is easy to get sidetracked but having an accountability partner keeps me focused. I appreciate that the city recognizes the health challenges that public safety personnel face due to on-the-job stress.”
What are some tips and advice you have for companies looking to create or add to a health and wellness program? Don’t be afraid to invest in your employee’s wellness, as it is one of the most important assets of your company. Whether ROI is shown in the numbers or not, showing your employees that you care by providing a robust wellness program will always be a ROI. Also, consistency is key. You have to give a wellness program a few years to get established and help change the culture.
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