Kent State Earns Top 50 Most Active Employers Honor
Faculty and staff participation in national “On the Move” challenge earns university designation
Kent State University has earned the designation of a Top 50 Most Active Company, beating out 27 organizations in the Large Business Category of the Wellness Council of America’s (WELCOA) national challenge to get employees across the country “On the Move” in 2016.
The “On the Move” competition is focused on fueling national corporate health initiatives to combat physical inactivity and initiate behavior change. Eighty-four companies representing almost 80,000 employees participated in this 12-week challenge spanning April, May and June. The challenge engaged employees with educational resources, behavior change incentives, social support and, of course, movement.
The goal for organizations that participated? A thriving place to work, more energy, more comradery and the designation as one of the Top Most Active Companies in the country. Employees tracked their activity types, duration and intensity to work toward 100 “Move points” each day. Taking in metrics like intensity and activity type, the “On the Move” algorithm allowed participating organizations to encourage employees to truly move when they wanted, how they wanted and how much they wanted to reap all of the rewards of an active lifestyle.
“Participants truly learned that they have control over their movement; what kind, when, where and how much,” says Kim Hauge, manager for university wellness and healthy campus promotions at Kent State.
Employees shared in a recent survey how the challenge had impacted them and what they learned that will help them live a healthier, more active lifestyle.
For instance, one employee wrote, “I learned new habits and how to move enough on a regular basis to avoid sitting disease. I think I’m also ready to start a more rigorous exercise program and actually stick to it.”
Another employee wrote, “Fitness affects all aspects of our lives.” And another indicated, “I really like that the challenge suggests and encourages ways to stay active during the workday. That’s a new concept to me — I always assumed I’d have to make time for exercise after work, which is so hard to fit in.”
By participating in the “On the Move” national challenge, organizations around the country took a stand for more movement and improved cultures of well-being for their employees. In fact, the challenge has been shown to cut sedentary behavior in half and revolutionize worksites for physical activity. More than 80 percent of employees who complete the challenge say they will continue to be active in the long term.
“We knew that people sitting at their desks all day was killing them and that workplace cultures were suffering along with employees,” says Ryan Picarella, president of WELCOA, when asked about the main goal of the challenge. “Traditional wellness program challenges do not zero in on culture change or connect employees with ‘whys’ for being active that matter to them, so we created something that did. ‘On the Move’ is designed to build a culture for more movement into an organization. We thought, why not start a movement where employees can move when they want, how they want and how much they want and get credit for all of it?”
Hauge says that she was very pleased with the holistic approach that WELCOA provided with this challenge.
“It was very important for us to have a program that meets employees where they’re at,” she says. “We received great feedback from our employees that they enjoyed being a part of a team challenge, appreciated the educational, assessment and ‘boost’ components of the challenge, and that it also helped with camaraderie. We know that when we are more active, it’s good for the mind, body and soul.
“We have learned a lot from engaging in this team challenge, and WELCOA has served as an invaluable partner supporting us all along the way,” Hauge adds. “Many employees expressed that they were sad to see it end as it really did build a sense of community with everyone working toward a common goal and encouraging one another along the way. I’m confident that the lifestyle changes that were acquired during the 12-week challenge will continue. I know it’s made me very cognizant and changed my outlook on where and how I find opportunities to ‘sneak in’ those extra moves!”
To see the full leaderboard, visit https://onthemovechallenge.welcoa.org/leaderboard.