A Culture of Wellness

March 16, 2011 at 8:18 am Leave a comment

As a national nonprofit organization, headquartered in Austin, Texas, Southwest Key Programs is comprised of a 1,000-person workforce which closely represents the people we serve—nearly 91% minority. The belief that as an organization we must reflect the values we promote requires that we offer diversity as a norm in the communities we work in across the country.  But not only will you notice a culture of diversity at Southwest Key, you will experience a culture of “wellness”.

In 2010, Southwest Key’s CEO, Dr. Juan Sanchez, made the decision to invest in an employee wellness program and to make employee health a top priority.  To encourage ownership of the program, the name, logo and slogan were designed by employees and each wellness initiative begins with an idea from within the organization.

In striving to create a culture of wellness among the Southwest Key Familia, the program offers a variety of opportunities for employees to participate. Along with various contests and challenges, the Wellness Program also provides, at no cost, an Employee Assistance Program, annual health screenings, a fitness center reimbursement program, and financial assistance for smoking cessation. The program provides all employees, their families and retirees with unlimited face-to-face counseling, work-life services that assist employees with child care, elder care, academic services, personal Wellness Coaching, and unlimited access to an online portal that offers resources ranging from home mortgage calculators to diabetes education.

Southwest Key employees embrace this initiative with enthusiasm, resulting in stunning participation rates. Nearly 85% of employees took part in biometric screenings, over 300 individuals were involved in a company-wide weight loss contest, and more than 23 million steps were taken in our 30 day walking contest.

Fun Runs have become a regular occurrence at various Southwest Key Program sites. This past year, the Wellness Program sponsored four employee 5K walk/runs. Participants received medals and t-shirts with winners taking home Polar Heart Rate Monitors and iPod Shuffles. Not only have employees increased their physical activity, but sodas and unhealthy snacks at events and in the break rooms have been traded for healthier options such as fresh sandwiches and fruit/vegetable trays. In fact we see more water bottles then soda cans as well.

Our employees work hard every day to provide education, innovative safe shelters, and alternatives to incarceration for youth, while creating opportunities for their families to become self sufficient. In addition, Southwest Key works hard to present a culture of diversity as the norm for our communities; and through the Southwest Key Wellness Program, we present a culture of health and wellness as the norm by enabling all employees to continue to do their very best work by helping to keep them happy and healthy!

– Narissa Johnson & Jessica Dominguez
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Entry filed under: Culture, Southwest Key Programs, Wellness Program.

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