Best Western International is building a legacy of providing engaging employee wellness programs that create a long-lasting culture of wellness. Inspired and guided by the American Heart Association’s recommendation to take 10,000 steps a day to combat stress and prevent heart disease and type 2 diabetes, Best Western ensures employees have the support and tools they need to be healthy — in and out of the office.
More than 200 employees recently completed a “10,000 Steps a Day Challenge,” in which participants earned a Fitbit when they reached 150,000 steps. The program was a hit, as it was easy for employees to participate and track their efforts. Best Western worked with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona to create a customized wellness portal on the BCBSAZ website, and employees could check out a Fitbit and sync it to the portal to automatically track their data. Employees could then log into the portal at any time to see how many steps and points they had earned.
The transformation among employees was tangible and manifested in much more than just steps. Tactics included taking a walk with others at lunch instead of eating at their desk, parking farther away from the building to enjoy a brisk walk in, and taking the stairs instead of the elevator. Watercooler talk now centers on celebrating health milestones reached. Now, the company is starting formal walking groups — a “10-minute walk at 10 a.m.” — to continue helping employees get their healthy steps in each day.
The success of a company’s wellness programs is influenced not only by the buy-in among employees but also by the commitment of the company’s leadership. Best Western leadership is proud to support and participate in meaningful employee wellness programs, and know that employee health is a cornerstone of happy and fulfilling work. “Best Western is committed to the overall health and well-being of our employees,” says David Kong, president and CEO of Best Western Hotels & Resorts. “We were pleased to see such strong employee participation in our wellness program and are committed to continuing to provide these opportunities in the future.”
In fact, in 2017, Best Western is offering six optional 30-day challenges (e.g., Cut the Added Sugar, Halt Hidden Salt, Half Your Plate, Eat Real Foods, and 7 hours of zzz) to activate employees in the many facets of healthy living. In addition, Best Western will offer onsite health seminars on the same challenge topics, allowing employees to become familiar with the challenge, ask questions, and become informed on why that health aspect is so important.
As part of Best Western’s holistic wellness program, the company also offers free biometric screenings, flu screenings and mammography screenings, all onsite. If employees prefer, Best Western also offers biometric screening at no cost at participating Sonora Quest laboratories.
Based on the success of this FitBit wellness program, BCBSAZ and Best Western are working together to identify future opportunities that fit within the company’s wellness strategy in the year ahead.
Myrna Collins is a health promotion executive with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona.