design thinkers

Healthy Habits Earn SLAM Healthy Workplace Employer

Since 1994, I’ve added Health Promotion Coordinator to my responsibilities as a member of the Interior Design Studio, a role that has enabled me to transform a passion for health and well-being into a volunteer position, leading the SLAM Wellness program. There’s nothing more rewarding and exhilarating than receiving public recognition and seeing results achieved by the hard work and efforts of participating employees.

Back in 2007, I submitted our firm to a rigorous wellness evaluation by WELCOA, Wellness Councils of America and SLAM was awarded the Bronze level award, demonstrating that we excel in the seven benchmark checklist items: leadership support, wellness team, programmatic data collection, operating plan, appropriate programming, supportive environment, and evaluating outcomes.

Today, SLAM’s Wellness Program has evolved into a comprehensive initiative that includes wellness seminars, activities, insurance incentives, ergonomic evaluations, screenings, and dissemination of healthy life-style information.  We have grown to five offices—Glastonbury, Atlanta, Boston, Los Angeles, and New York City—and we have added a Wellness Portal to ensure all employees can take full advantage of the wellness program offerings.  Health Screenings are held at each office, and videos of wellness seminars are posted in the portal for those who missed the live presentation.  We have also ensured that spouses can take advantage of our wellness programs, fitness subsidies and health clinics.

Encouraging physical activity and healthy behavior to manage chronic illness is changing employee lives, making them stronger and giving SLAM a competitive advantage as a national A/E/C firm.  And the results show it’s working.  Eighty-five people, in the past two consecutive years, participated in the annual Health Screenings event, providing SLAM with the following results:  48 percent of them saw an improvement in their body mass index, total cholesterol improved by 3.5 points, and 30.5 percent improved their TC/HDL ratio.

This positive news made me want to share it with the public, and it paid off.  In 2018, we entered the Hartford Business Journal’s inaugural Connecticut’s Healthiest Employers program.  When I received the finalist letter saying we would learn more at the award’s ceremony, I was pumped.   We placed second in the 151-400 division and we were proud to showcase our plaque in the SLAM lobby.

The taste of success made me ask, ‘how we would compare in a broader demographic’? Besides, one win wasn’t enough!

In January 2019, we entered the Healthy Workplace Employer Recognition program of The Business Council of Fairfield County and was recognized as a Healthy Workplace Honoree in the Platinum category.  This was huge for me because it stretched our story to Fairfield County, where several clients of the firm are located.

As soon as the Hartford Business Journal’s 2019 Connecticut’s Healthiest Employers program opened for entries, I submitted SLAM for a second year, and we came in third place in the 1,000 or fewer employee’s category.  This was special, as it was against bigger companies with larger budgets.

Looking back, SLAM’s Wellness Program began as an effort to switch donuts to bagels on casual Friday, and today it’s a part of our culture and leadership’s vision to ensure employees are given every opportunity to make healthy choices, measure their success and continuously make improvements that will lead them to healthier lifestyles both in and outside of the workplace.

Now that’s a win-win that keeps on giving!