GREENFIELD — Some bosses offered gift cards to employees who lost weight. Others reimbursed entry fees for activities that got their people up and moving. No matter the incentive, the goal was the same: get healthy and have fun doing it.
Those success stories were among the highlights of a celebration this week among business leaders and health care officials touting their work to make Hancock County one of the state’s healthiest places to live.
This year, Hancock County is one of two counties in the state named an Indiana Healthy Community, a designation from the Wellness Council of Indiana, an organization dedicated to increasing work-site wellness programs and community well-being in Indiana.
The award honors Hancock Regional Hospital’s work with area businesses, schools and governments to encourage healthy eating, exercise and wellness initiatives among county residents, said hospital spokeswoman Amanda Everidge.
To receive the healthy community designation, officials had to gain the support of leaders throughout the county and involve at least 20 percent of the county’s workforce, or about 4,000 people, in wellness programs.
On Wednesday, the hospital recognized six local businesses that have earned a star rating for their robust workplace wellness programs.
Business leaders are influential in the community, and when they focus on health, that effort can trickle down to their employees and families, Everidge said.
Nine businesses — Hancock Regional Hospital, Hancock Physicians Network, Greenfield Banking Co., Covance, Inskeep Ford, the City of Greenfield, the Hancock County Public Library, NineStar Connect and the Greenfield Daily Reporter — earned the star rating from AchieveWELL, a branch of the Indiana Healthy Community program.
The businesses took different routes to increase their health outreach to employees. Covance offered weekly yoga classes and treadmill workstations, while Inskeep Ford provided all employees with electronic step counters.
The city of Greenfield offers workout classes, “lunch-and-learn” events and participates in annual friendly weight-loss competitions, said Ellen Kuker, Greenfield Parks and Recreation Department superintendent.
Over the years, Kuker has witnessed a night-and-day change in the city’s approach to getting its employees to participate in healthy activities, she said.
As community leaders celebrated those businesses that have received their workplace wellness rating, Everidge also recognized several up-and-comers.
Seven other area businesses, including some of the county’s largest employers — like Tsuda USA Corp. and Keihin IPT Manufacturing, have nearly met their requirements for an AchieveWELL star rating.
The Wellness Council created the Indiana Healthy Community initiative based on research that ranked Indiana 41st out of 50 states for health four years in a row, according to the council website.
The hospital looked into a variety of community health programs and decided to try to attain the Healthy Community designation because it was the most cost-efficient way to get county businesses — which pay a small fee per employee for an assessment — involved, said hospital CEO Steve Long.
Getting 10 businesses to sign up seemed a daunting prospect at first, Long admitted. But business leaders across the county surprised him.
“I’m ecstatic to be here,” Long said on Wednesday. “Making Hancock County healthier is vital to our success as a business and as a place to live.”
AchieveWELL, a workplace wellness assessment offered by the Wellness Council of Indiana, surveys businesses about their health and wellness initiatives, then provides star ratings to those that help employees make good choices.
A business has to develop a 12- to 24-month plan offering rewards and showing participation by a diverse cross-section of employees.
All three-star criteria must be met. In addition, the company must create programs targeting chronic disease management and community involvement. The company must show two years of active wellness programming.
All four-star criteria must be met. Also, a business must show five years of continuous wellness activity; provide a written narrative showing the evolution of its initiative, prove that wellness is a part of the company culture and provide evidence of senior leader involvement.
Source: Wellness Council of Indiana, wellnessindiana.org.
The following businesses were recently recognized as AchieveWELL companies, ranked for their workplace health and wellness initiatives by the Indiana Wellness Council:
- Hancock Regional Hospital
- Hancock Physicians Network
- Greenfield Banking Co.
- Inskeep Ford
- City of Greenfield
- Hancock County Public Library
- NineStar Connect
- Greenfield Daily Reporter