Coeur Alaska, which includes the Kensington Mine among its worksites, created an employee wellness program in May. The program provides a wide range of personal health needs, recognizes employees for their participation and is changing the culture by improving the quality of life for Coeur employees and their families, said Linda "Lindy" Carroll, who was hired to be the Coeur Alaska Wellness Coordinator. She works on an employee wellness team with Vice President Tom Henderson and Human Resources Manager Meg Day.
"Because employees spend so much time at work, it is important that businesses join forces with employees to reduce the dangerous trends in personal health," Henderson said. "Coeur's belief is that if your employees are your most valuable asset, then treat them as a valuable asset. Coeur demonstrates this value by helping employees help themselves by offering wellness programs that lead to healthier lifestyles."
The wellness program includes a personal wellness survey, nutrition classes at work, Weight Watchers at work, supplements toward the cost of health club memberships, physical activity and weight loss challenges, smoking cessation and incentives for participation. More than half of Coeur's workforce now participates in the program. Carroll said Coeur expects the indirect long-term benefits of the program will more than offset any associated costs because the employees will be healthier and more motivated. Implementing a program that ensures a safe and healthy environment for Coeur employees is the main focus.
"The wellness program has given me the physical and mental strength to maintain a healthier lifestyle," Coeur Alaska Surface General Foreman Jerry Harmon said. "I've felt better and younger since I began taking part in the program. I feel like the company cares about my well-being."
The Juneau Employee Wellness Coalition is a community-wide organization promoting workplace wellness and the group is open to all Juneau workplaces interested in designing and implementing effective employee wellness plans. The coalition was created as a follow-up to the Working Well in Alaska employee wellness training seminar held last October in Juneau, and is co-sponsored by the SEARHC Steps to a Healthier SE Alaska program and Premera Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alaska.
The Juneau Employee Wellness Coalition hosts its next monthly brown-bag lunch meeting from noon to 1 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 17, at Clinic Conference Room A at the SEARHC Ethel Lund Medical Center, 3245 Hospital Dr. Call Carol White of Premera Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alaska at 523-3407 (main Juneau contact) for more information about the Juneau Employee Wellness Coalition, or contact SEARHC Steps to a Healthier SE Alaska Program Community and Workplace Wellness Coordinator Gretchen Clarke in Sitka at 966-8629.