Variety the spice of life for Niagara Casino’s winning wellness program

Taking a varied and thorough approach to employee health helped Niagara Casinos take home the award for best health and wellness program for an employer with more than 1,000 employees at Benefits Canada‘s 2018 Workplace Benefits Awards in Toronto on Oct. 11.

The variety of wellness offerings and activities included kickboxing, paddle boarding, bath bomb workshops, an onsite personal trainer at its wellness centre, paint nights and an axe-throwing event. Taking part in these activities helped employees focus on healthy lifestyles in their lives outside of work, according to the award entry.

Read: CAA honoured for wellness programs that include remote workers

“We look at it as a holistic picture and we try to engage our employees,” says Lindsay Daw, disability services manager at Niagara Casinos. “It’s all pieces of overall mental well-being, health, physical well-being. We just really try and keep it fun and innovative, but in line with our strategy. So all of these things have a meaning and reason why we’re doing them.”

The organization also used multiple channels for communicating its wellness programming, including signage, digital screens at all work sites, posters, safety talks, an internal wellness website, social media, display cases, internal email, a wellness committee, workshops and newsletters.

To highlight employee diversity, Niagara Casinos formed employee resource groups for women, Aboriginal people, persons with disabilities, visible minorities and LGBTQ+ employees. This strategy led to the organization’s win in the best diversity program at the 2018 Workplace Benefits Awards.

Read: Niagara Casinos wins award for far-reaching diversity initiatives

The organization also offers resiliency training for workers in high-stress jobs, paid bereavement leave, personal leave, parental leave top-up benefits and phased-in retirement, which allows retiring employees to reduce their schedules as they approach retirement.

It also established a fund to help employees who have an unforeseen financial hardship, as well as one for employees on an approved family medical leave.

Overall, employees’ view of wellness and safety has been higher than the average in Niagara Casino’s industry, according to internal surveys. Employee engagement has also increased, with a 50 per cent rise in wellness centre registration centre since it opened.

“It’s a great recognition for all of the work that individuals on the team do that bring it collectively together,” says Carey Uyeda, compensation and benefits manager at Niagara Casinos. “So that recognizes, individually, their hard work and, departmentally, because we might be the ones who roll out the program, but without the support of our supervisors, our managers, our executive team and even the other associates who support it, we wouldn’t be able to accomplish what we do.”

Read the full list of 2018 Workplace Benefits Awards winners here. And stay tuned in the coming days to learn more about each of the winners.

Read: Town of Richmond Hill awarded for strategic health approach