The city of Charlotte has been named the healthiest place to work for companies with more than 5,000 employees by the Charlotte Business Journal. The announcement marks the third consecutive year the city has been on the list, but the first time it has claimed the top spot in its size class.
“The recognition is fantastic, but the fact that our Wellness Works strategic initiatives continue to bear fruit in the lives of our employees and their families is the ultimate reward,” said Sheila Simpson, Director of Human Resources. “That’s what ‘helping people thrive’ means in action.”
What’s great about Wellness Works
The Wellness Works program is the engine of the city’s success by helping employees be healthy throughout the year. Nan Mann, the administrator of the City’s Benefits Wellness Plan, manages the Wellness Works program and constantly evolves the program to meet the needs of employees.
“I think too often, so many people think of wellness as eating more fruits and vegetables, exercising, getting eight hours of sleep, etc., but it’s so much more than that,” Mann said. “Our lives are often non-linear and have many twists and turns along the way. The state of our well-being can have a direct impact on how we respond to those twists.”
A key goal is the general well-being of employees and their families.
“We don’t just focus on the employees, but on their families. Work and personal life are integrated. If employees are having difficult times at home, it can have a negative impact on their work and vice versa.” Mann said. “We strive to provide the tools and resources to help employees perform at their best, not only in the workplace, but also at home.”
These resources, accessible to all City employees, include:
Marathon health clinics.
The wellness center of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Government Center.
Services offered through the Employee Assistance Program (EAP), such as advice, legal and financial resources, and e-learning.
Life coaching is also available to help employees become better and create plans to achieve their life goals.
Additionally, behavioral health and physical therapy have recently been added to benefit programs to give employees and their families access to more care. Clinics are one-stop-shops where employees have access to primary and acute care, medications, health and life coaching, behavioral health, physiotherapy, and chronic disease management for conditions such as diabetes and hypertension.
Clinical Care Navigators are also available to assist employees in dire straits and connect them with community resources such as housing, food and child care.
Well-being during a pandemic
Across the country, many households have lost income and some have faced isolation or tragic loss. To meet these wellness needs, the city began offering new resources to help employees during an unprecedented time.
Wellness Works program coordinators created a financial health challenge focused on building up emergency savings and smart ways to use tax returns or stimulus checks. The coordinators also created a new financial resource guide and provided resources for child care and food assistance. In addition, the city’s MetLife Legal plan has extended the free review and consultation of attorney documents for all employees until July 31, 2020.
Recognizing the increase in mental health needs, the city has expanded mental health services. This included:
Increase the benefit of the EAP from six sessions per subject, per year to 10 per issue for 2020.
Run bereavement support groups and loneliness programs.
Creation of mental health navigation guides for employees and supervisors.
As COVID-19 restrictions and precautions begin to ease, Mann hopes to resume events in person in 2022.
“I would like to create events where employees can come together, engage and put the fun back into well-being again. Back when we ran the Wellness Works Fitness Challenge, it was great to see people from all departments taking a deep breath, having fun and it was a great form of stress management. Many employees missed the social interaction. “
To learn more about working with the City of Charlotte, visit the City’s Human Resources page or browse job postings on the