Supporting Employee Health & Wellness
Since the Heart of New Ulm began, worksites throughout the New Ulm area have embraced the work of the project to help support employee health and wellness. Today, more than 40 of the area’s largest 100 employers have active wellness programming — an increase from only five in 2009. Employers have encouraged their employees to participate in health screenings, offered worksite wellness programs, created policies such as healthier vending options, established tobacco-free worksites, promoted community programs and more.
The Worksite Wellness Action Team (WWAT) plans, schedules and conducts quarterly networking and training sessions for New Ulm area worksite wellness leaders. It also plans and conducts other programs for worksites and the community such as community health challenges, the Poker Walk, scavenger hunts and the annual Holiday Trimmings program.
WWAT Priorities and Recent Accomplishments
Workplace Wellness Trainings
Since 2019, hosted quarterly Worksite Wellness networking and training events averaging 30 participants from 42 different employers.
Resiliency Program for Local Worksites
Offered The People Project program in 2020 and 2021 to worksites to help employees build resiliency through fun, evidence-based mental well-being strategies that result in better connected, happier people.
Poker Walk Events
Offered a Poker Walk in Spring 2019 with 25 participating businesses that attracted 175 walkers throughout five weeks; 2021 event happening in June.
Holiday Trimmings Program
Offered the Holiday Trimmings Program every year since 2019 to help people improve their well-being during the busy holiday season. In 2020, there were 222 participants; of those, 98 said it was their first year participating. Participants worked for 43 different employers, while 39 participants noted they were retired, self-employed or didn’t identify an employer.
Community Scavenger Hunts to Promote Walking and Bicycling
Offered community scavenger hunts since 2019 for people to walk or bike around town and learn more about the community; offered in New Ulm, Sleepy Eye and Springfield in 2021.
Success Story: MRCI Nursing Room
MRCI - New Ulm created a private space for employees who are breastfeeding mothers to express milk. The room is also available to all employees as a quiet space they can use during their personal breaks throughout the day.
According to the Office on Women’s Health, more than 80% of new mothers in the United States begin breastfeeding, and 6 in every 10 new mothers are in the workforce.
“It is our goal at MRCI to reduce barriers to breastfeeding for nursing mothers returning to work,” stated Melissa Hudson, New Ulm Branch Manager. “The created space is private, safe, clean and in close proximity to a sink for washing hands and cleaning breast pump parts.”
Additional Resources and Information
The People Project
In February 2022, the Heart of New Ulm’s Worksite Wellness Action Team and Brown County Mental Health Action Team will once again begin offering New Ulm-area employers the opportunity to participate in The People Project, a free, unique project designed to help employees build resiliency and promote health through happiness. The project incorporates fun, evidence-based mental well-being strategies that result in better-connected, happier people.
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