How Washington’s governor promotes employee wellness
By: Mady Peterson
Providing well-being initiatives for an entire state can be complicated. The Washington State Health Care Authority (HCA) provides well-being benefits for more than 130,000 state employees in over 400 organizations. But it’s a welcome challenge for the HCA, who knows employee well-being is critical for engagement, productivity and effectively serving the public.
SmartHealth, the HCA’s employee well-being program, powered by Limeade, launched in 2015. Since then, employee health and well-being have measurably improved.
To drive participation and engage employees, the HCA sponsors a number of events throughout the year. This year’s highlights included SmartHealth Week — a series of events, communications and program activities designed to increase registration before the end of the program year.
With a passion for nutrition, exercise and self-care, Governor Jay Inslee reinforced his support for the 2017 SmartHealth program at the annual Governor’s Walk. Employees from across the state were invited to join a rally on the steps of the State Capitol in Olympia, Washington, followed by a guided walk around its campus. Employees in other locations were encouraged to go on group walks at the same time. All participants were awarded points in the SmartHealth program — getting them closer to claiming their $125 health care credit and other rewards.
Most importantly, it gave the Governor the opportunity to demonstrate and reinforce the importance of prioritizing well-being:
“We know you’re dedicated to your work, but we want you to be dedicated to yourself and your families as well. Your health is important to me personally. It’s also important for your ability to do your job and serve the public. So I want to thank you for your personal efforts.”
Governor Jay Inslee
In addition to the Governor, union leaders from the Washington Federation of State Employees spoke at the rally, mobilizing their members to practice well-being and spend time with their leaders.
The event was a hit. More than 1,500 employees participated across the state.
As employees logged their participation in the SmartHealth program, they also used Limeade social features to share their experience. Comments include:
“The Olympia event was great! I really appreciated Governor Inslee’s willingness to take time to talk wellness and then walk with us.”
“What a great idea! As I walked the campus I wondered who else was walking with the governor. And it got me out of the office. Bonus!”
“Got to shake the Governor’s hand! Great experience!”
“Walked 45 minutes at lunchtime with a friend in Tumwater since we don’t work at the Capitol.”
“Walked around the Shoreline Community College campus!”