By Kristen Miller
DASSEL, MN Employees of Crest Healthcare Supply are walking their way to better health through the company-created program “Every Step Counts.”
The manufacturing company headquartered in Dassel, which specializes in an array of products used in hospitals and long-term care facilities, initiated this program in conjunction with National Employee Wellness Month this past June.
Members of the Crest Employee Involvement Committee developed the program “Every Step Counts” to promote activity both in and outside of the workplace. The six-person committee is made up of Nancy Swenson, Heidi Arndt, Shannon Jaworsky, Kristi Stanwick, Michael Sturgeon, and Brianne Mahlstedt, and focuses on activities to build camaraderie among the employees and add a little fun to the workplace.
Initially, the committee sent out a survey to each of Crest’s 60 employees to get feedback on what they wanted to focus on, whether it be increased activity, better nutrition in the workplace, or a quit-smoking program.
The majority of the survey responses asked for more movement and better nutrition, according to Crest Employee Involvement Committee member Kristi Stanwick, who has been chairing the “Every Step Counts” program.
With so much buzz surrounding Blue Cross Blue Shield’s “Move” initiative, Stanwick and the committee decided to begin by getting workers motivated to walk more and increase activity.
More than three-quarters of its 60 employees are involved in the “Every Step Counts” program by tracking their steps each week with a pedometer provided by Crest.
Each month, the steps will be tallied and prizes awarded to the top three employees who took the most steps.
The program will go for three months with a different set of employees awarded each month. All winners will then be eligible for the grand prize, to be awarded in September.
For the month of June, the company has walked six million steps, according to Stanwick, who said the recommended goal is 10,000 steps a day.
“It’s nice to see a lot of people are averaging that,” she said, adding she is happily surprised to see people in six figures at the end of June.
“It gives us a good picture of how much time people are moving,” Stanwick said, noting that it also depends on whether someone has a desk job or works in the warehouse.
Through this incentive program, Stanwick hopes employees are encouraged to go outside for a walk during their break rather than sit and surf the Internet or other stationary activities.
The committee plans to implement another program in the fall that will likely focus on better nutrition and weight loss, Stanwick said.
Not only is this a positive program for the individual, it’s also a benefit to the employer.
According to the Partnership for Prevention, healthy employees have increased productivity, lower absenteeism, lower healthcare costs, and can also reduce employee turnover because healthy employees are more likely to be satisfied with their jobs.
The June winners were: first place, Marge Rusch, with 564,280 steps; second place, Stephanie Malstrom, with 520,580 steps; and Stephanie Kielty in third place with 473,471 steps.