Wellness has long been central to employee life at Lakeside Process Controls Ltd. in Mississauga, Ont. That long-standing commitment led to the company’s win for best health and wellness program for an employer with fewer than 1,000 staff at Benefits Canada’s 2017 Workplace Benefits Awards in Toronto last week.

Every year, Lakeside Process Controls develops a series of wellness events based on a certain theme. For 2017, that theme is return on investment. “Each activity run has an associated ROI that includes physical health, mental health, time, money, new skills or helping others,” wrote Stephanie Enright, director of talent management and administration, in the organization’s awards submission.

Read: Lakeside Process Controls focuses on positive change in annual wellness program

The three pillars of this year’s program are mental health, healthy eating and active living. Initiatives include on-site fitness classes, crockpot Mondays in which employees make healthy dinners together, company-sponsored races and sporting events, and de-stressing activities like paint nights, sculpting classes and surprise treats served by management.

But the biggest new program this year has focused on random acts of kindness, says Enright. In May, employees chose cards from a bulletin board with a suggested kind act — buying coffee for a coworker or learning something new about them — performed it, signed it and dropped it off with the human resources team.

“We believe there’s a connection between having that positive mind frame and being more resilient,” says Enright. “So we focus a lot of our program outcomes around driving happiness. That’s our ROI — how do we translate everything we do in order to be happier? And that drives energy [and] your ability to focus.”

Read: Employers take creative approach to wellness programs on ‘shoestring’ budgets

By scheduling a variety of wellness activities during both lunch hours and after work, Lakeside Process Controls has achieved “consistently high” participation rates, notes Enright. This year, 83 per cent of non-participants have gotten involved in at least two events.

The company’s wellness offerings also have a direct impact on its bottom line. In the past year, it saw a 10 per cent decrease on its drug claims, even though more members were added to the plan, along with an expensive brand-name medication. Furthermore, in its renewal process, its insurer reduced premiums by $140,000 because of employees’ overall health. And, in the last nine years, Lakeside Process Controls has only had two to three short-term disability claims each year, and not a single long-term disability claim.

“The metrics are great — they’re telling a really good story about the success of our program,” says Enright, noting it’s a healthy, happy workforce is just as important as the financial savings. “You can tell people are productive. We use wellness as a common language. It’s something that anybody can talk to anybody about in the organization. The fact that those things are happening — they drive business results just as much as saving $100,000 on your benefits claims.”

A full list of the 2017 Workplace Benefits Awards’ winners is available here. More winners will be featured in BenefitsCanada.com throughout the week.

Copyright © 2018 Transcontinental Media G.P. Originally published on benefitscanada.com

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