Kent State Strikes Gold Again for Healthy Worksite

On the heels of being honored by the American Heart Association for its highest workplace wellness award, the Healthy Business Council of Ohio (HBCO) has awarded Kent State University the 2019 Healthy Worksite Gold Level Award for its healthy worksite practices.

The Healthy Worksite Award recognizes Ohio employers who demonstrate a commitment to employee wellness through comprehensive worksite health promotion and wellness programs. Applicants are scored on the extent their wellness programs facilitate and encourage employee health, enhance productivity and ensure a healthy work environment.

“We’re thrilled to be recognized by the Ohio Department of Health and Healthy Business Council of Ohio with its highest achievement healthy worksite award,” said Kim Hauge, director of employee wellness at Kent State. “It’s important for employers to understand that they have an opportunity to support the health and well-being of their workforce. At Kent State, we make it a priority to provide an evidence-based, comprehensive wellness program that looks beyond the physical aspects of well-being.

“The administration has provided us with the resources so that we can support our faculty and staff with a holistic approach to personal well-being,” she continued. “Unique attributes of our program include its voluntary nature. For instance, employees can choose to engage or not, it is not punitive in any way. Employees choose to work on aspects of well-being that are meaningful to them, recognizing that each person is unique and so is their journey toward well-being.”

Kent State offers financial wellness workshops and resources to work on financial wellness; yoga, strength training, spin classes and walk and talks to work on physical and mental well-being; meditation, mindfulness and resilience training along with a rich employee assistance program to support mental and emotional well-being; onsite biometric screenings and flu shots for preventive care; and a host of programming offers to work on essential lifestyle changes to enhance cardiovascular health, such as smoking cessation, weight management, cholesterol and blood pressure control, and more.

“We also look at policies and practices that may be serving as barriers to work/life balance and well-being and promote those changes,” Hauge said. “Most recently, we have been instrumental in creating a smoke-free and tobacco-free workplace and a flexible work arrangement policy. And lastly, we strive to build connection between our employees through a strong employee wellness ambassador program. Being a multi-site employer with employees working 24/7 to take care of our student population and facilities is a challenge. Our employee wellness ambassadors are essential to extending our reach and connectedness.”

All applications for the Healthy Worksite Awards were reviewed and evaluated using objective criteria. Three levels of high achievement were awarded in 2019 – Gold, Silver and Bronze. Other applicants, who meet basic criteria, received a Recognition award.

“This year’s application was more comprehensive than past years as we worked to better align our assessment with the CDC Worksite Health Scorecard so worksites could more effectively become competitive with national trends in workplace well-being programming,” said Annie Laurie Cadmus, the Healthy Worksite Awards co-chair. “Worksites who are recognized this year should be especially proud of their accomplishments knowing they have provided their employees with nationally competitive and well-rounded programming that supports healthy lifestyles.”

Hauge will receive the award on behalf of Kent State at the awards ceremony being held at 12:30 p.m. on Jan. 23 at the Nationwide Hotel and Conference Center in Columbus, Ohio, as part of the Health Action Council 2020 Annual Columbus Symposium. The symposium features national experts on health reform, health care systems and health benefits. The public is invited to register for this event at the Health Action Council website.

For more information about services and programs offered by Kent State’s Division of Human Resources, visit www.kent.edu/hr.

# # #

Media Contacts:
Kim Hauge, khauge@kent.edu, 330-672-7505
Emily Vincent, evincen2@kent.edu, 330-672-8595

POSTED: Friday, January 17, 2020 - 11:39am
UPDATED: Friday, January 17, 2020 - 11:41am