UVM Wins Workplace Wellness Award for Second Year in Row
- By Jeffrey R. Wakefield
For the second year in a row, the University of Vermont has won a Workplace Wellness Award from the Vermont Department of Health.
The award recognizes Vermont organizations demonstrating an established wellness strategy that promotes healthy environments and supports the well-being of their employees.
“It’s an honor to be included among a group of Vermont organizations who’ve made it a priority to promote employee wellness,” said Wanda Heading-Grant, vice president of UVM’s Division of Human Resources, Diversity and Multicultural Affairs.
“We’ve always offered a wide range of wellness programing at UVM,” she said. "But in the last two years we’ve put strong emphasis on increasing employee awareness of these many options and making them easy to access. Both last year's and this year's award are affirmation that we’re on the right track.”
Last year the university was honored for launching its wellness program by establishing a Wellness Council and creating a centralized inventory of the many disparate wellness initiatives that exist across campus.
The award this year recognizes the steps the university has taken to increase employee awareness of the UVM’s wellness programming and to facilitate enrollment in the various initiatives and events.
Over the past year, UVM developed and launched a comprehensive Employee Wellness website, hired a dedicated wellness staff person within the Human Resources, Diversity and Multicultural Affairs office, Lauren Cartwright, and put in place a Wellness Ambassadors program. The over 70 staff and faculty ambassadors are charged with keeping their departments informed of new and existing wellness initiatives.
The new website organizes the university’s offerings into seven types of wellness programs: emotional, environmental, financial, intellectual, physical, social and spiritual.
The website lists UVM programming in each category and itemizes community partners where services are available to UVM employees at a discount.
“Making wellness a priority is a true win-win for UVM,” said Heading-Grant. “Research shows that employees who participate in wellness programs are happier, healthier and more productive. That’s a benefit to both the employee and the university.”
Workplace Wellness Awards are given in a variety of categories based on an organization’s size. Last year, UVM was one of 10 winners among organizations with 1,000 or more employees.
This year’s awards will be presented on March 21 at the annual Worksite Wellness Conference to be held at the DoubleTree by Hilton hotel in Burlington.