Campbell Company of Canada and Tri Fit Inc. were the recipients of the Strategic Partnership Award for Benefits Canada’s 2011 Workplace Health & Benefits Awards.

Campbell Company of Canada truly walks the wellness talk, says Veronica Marsden, president of Tri Fit Inc. “Creating a supportive environment for optimal employee health and well-being sends the message that wellness is a way of doing business.” Campbell Canada’s success in fostering such an environment has earned it a reputation as a best-practice organization. But in 2003, the health focus went up a few notches with the realization that, although it had reached the maximum potential for safety in the workplace, employees were still getting sick due to aging and lifestyle issues. So, Fanny Karolev, an occupational health nurse and Campbell’s manager of worklife, health and wellness, looked at employee assistance program usage, short-term and long-term disability rates, and worker demographics to create a business case to support employee wellness.

The time was right, says Karolev, explaining that a stronger employee wellness strategy aligned perfectly with the company’s new vision: “extraordinary authentic nourishment for all,” a philosophy governing all aspects of the business. Senior leadership agreed and gave Karolev a budget to proceed. She took a course at the National Quality Institute on how to implement wellness programs and began consulting with experts. Tri Fit Inc., an Oakville, Ont.-based company specializing in corporate wellness, came on as a partner to conduct a health risk assessment and biometric testing and, ultimately, to design a range of wellness programs.

Karolev was so committed to sustaining the wellness initiative that she cleaned out her office and installed free weights, a mirror and an elliptical machine for employees. “It was a tiny space, but people used it,” she says. Not long after, Campbell’s set aside 2,000 sq. ft. for an on-site fitness centre. Now, over one-third of the company’s 540 employees in Toronto are gym members, and 35% of those use it at least twice a week.

But the fitness centre is only part of the wellness offerings at Campbell Canada. For example, various programs use assessment tools, exercise, nutrition and counselling to address health issues, such as building strong muscles and bones, promoting heart health and reducing cancer risk. The LifeScale Program, a self-service tool, is available at all sites 24/7 to let employees monitor their blood pressure and keep track of their weight, BMI and body fat. Aggregate data gathered for the employee population allow Campbell’s to review trends. As well, wellness challenges help to keep employees motivated and add an element of fun.

“They’ve seen a lot of good results over the years,” says Marsden, pointing out an unprecedented shift from unhealthy to healthy weights since 2007. Osteoporosis clinics and diabetes education have encouraged healthier dietary choices in the cafeteria, and in 2011, approximately 20 employees quit smoking.

Overwhelmingly positive employee feedback is gratifying, says Karolev, adding that she is pleased when employees tell her the program gave them the courage to change their lifestyle, especially to quit smoking. “Delivering wellness not only has a positive impact on employees,” she says. “It also has a wider impact because it affects families.”

Sonya Felix is a freelance writer based in St. Catharines, Ont. sfelix@cogeco.ca

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Copyright © 2019 Transcontinental Media G.P. This article first appeared in Benefits Canada.

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