This story originally appeared in the January 2016 edition of Georgia's Cities.
Working to create healthy environments for city employees has paid off for two cities. The city of Lavonia and Margaret Shelley, accounting clerk for the city of Vienna, were the 2015 recipients of the GMA Health and Wellness Leadership Award for their work in creating healthy workplaces.
Both cities participate in GMA’s life and health insurance program, which includes wellness grants for employee wellness programs.
Shelley serves as the health and wellness coordinator for Vienna, and, in this capacity, has shown a strong commitment to health by providing resources, supporting employee wellness and “walking the walk.” The nomination for Shelley noted that “She is creative and looks for ways to incorporate everyone (including spouses as they are invited to events as well). They offer various programs and work with the community by partnering with local agencies/organizations.”
Lavonia was selected for its on-going commitment to employee wellness. The city has grown its wellness program over the past few years and has made good use of their GMA Wellness Grant funds.
Lavonia conducts an annual health fair with health screenings and Health Risk Assessments (HRAs) and uses a tier point system to encourage and track participation in wellness trainings/activities throughout the year. The nomination also noted that the city’s Wellness Champion, Cheryl Humbert, “is always coming up with creative ways to touch on all areas of wellness—not just physical health.”
Lavonia’s employees have a good record of participation, as does the mayor who also joins in the wellness activities. The results have been telling: members of the police department have lost a combined 285 pounds in the last year.
To be eligible for the award, the winner must have proven experience modeling one or more of these Health and Wellness Leadership behaviors:
- Driving Cultural Change
- Leading the Performance Chain/Accountability Process (setting clear expectations, removing barriers, providing quality training, providing feedback and communicating and implementing consequences)
- Establishing a Vision
- Engaging Lead by Example
- Possess Visible Commitment
- Allocating Resource
- Demanding Continuous Improvement
Winners are selected by the GMA Insurance Board.