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Fueling the success of a wellbeing program that serves more than 14,000 employees at a leading energy company is a top priority for Janelle Petak, HealthFitness contract manager.
Petak and her team of six on-site program managers care for the safety and health for all employees—from utility lineman to corporate office staff to engineers at nuclear plants—in more than 100 locations across Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas.
The company’s wellbeing program ENSHAPE is in its thirteenth year, but this is Petak’s first year at the company—and she is tireless in her efforts to power up the program to meet the unique health and wellness needs of employees and their families.
She credits strong wellness programming, an on-site champion network, visible leadership support and her on-site team for driving the success of the company’s wellbeing program. “
We have great engagement and participation, and strive to keep the programs fresh,” she says.
Petak is happy to report that the company has experienced health improvements in several areas—especially stress. “Moving the needle on stress was a big win for us,” Petak says. “Our team focused on creating on-site relaxation programs that included massage chairs and guided meditations.”
Better on-site program managers
Petak is extremely proud of her team of program managers, but especially during screening season, when the company hosts 135 screening events and the team goes on the road, traveling from event to event. “Each day is different for our program managers,” she says. “One day we are leading a screening at a nuclear plant, and the next day we are leading a stress management seminar for leadership.”
The team motivates each other during their weekly meeting where everyone shares a “glow,” which is an example of what went well; and a “grow,” which is a challenge or growth opportunity. “Our team is like a family and we appreciate what we each bring to the job,” she says.
Building a wellness champion network
To help ensure the wellness program is successful at each location, Petak and her team built a network of wellness champions, who, in addition to their day jobs, help create awareness and increase engagement of the program. They identified individuals throughout the company’s locations who are passionate about wellness and are already taking action with their health. “We look for people who believe in wellbeing and inspire their peers,” she says. “We wouldn’t be able to run our programs without our champions.”
As a group, wellness champions serve as the eyes and ears of the wellbeing program, sharing what works, what doesn’t work and what can be improved. “Their input is invaluable to the success of the program,” she says.
Igniting leadership support
A great source for fueling ongoing success of the company’s wellbeing program includes backing from company leadership. “We’ve learned that visible support and participation from our company leadership—at all levels of the company—sets the tone for employees and communicates that it’s acceptable to take part in a step challenge or on-site screening,” Petak says.
Helping families make better choices
Petak and her team are taking wellness one step further by adding spouses and families to the mix to support healthy habits in the home. “So much of Southern culture centers on food,” she says. “If employees learn to make healthy choices at work they are more likely to bring healthy habits home and share with their families,” she says. “We want everyone to make better choices when grocery shopping, preparing meals and more.”
Powering wellbeing everywhere
Petak is proud that she has worked in wellness for her entire career. “My first job in wellness was working as a health education coordinator in low income schools,” she says. “Many of the lessons I learned as an educator are still applicable in the corporate world.”
Petak then took a university job where she created professional development opportunities for graduate students. “I noticed many health challenges in my department so I volunteered to introduce employee wellness,” she says. “I hosted monthly health topics and created simple wellness challenges. I did this for a few years before returning to school and earning a Master’s degree in Public Health (MPH) from Emory University.”
Although her current position is Petak’s first job in corporate wellness, the rewards are greater than she could have imagined. “Seeing employees change their health habits for the better is very gratifying,” she says. “I consider it an honor when an employee invites me into their personal wellness journey.”
Petak encourages everyone to promote wellbeing in their job—even if health and wellness is not in their job title. “Wellbeing is everywhere for everyone,” she says. “Wellness is not meant only for the person at your company who does health promotion. Wellbeing is a value and it’s available for everyone as we try to do better each day.”
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