Sampson Construction received a Governor’s Wellness Award this year along with 38 other Nebraska employers.  The award recognizes businesses that dedicate leadership, resources and time to wellness efforts in the workplace.

Travis Lucas, Sampson Construction human resources director, started the company’s wellness program about 18 months ago.

“It began pretty much from ground zero,” Lucas said. He asked some employees to meet with him as a wellness team.

To help determine what types of wellness programs to offer, the team conducted a health culture audit provided by the Wellstream Personal Health Assessment (PHA) from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska (BCBSNE).

“Pretty much right off the bat we received excellent participation and engagement,” Lucas said. The company kicked off their program by designing a wellness logo and giving away wellness t-shirts. Sixty to 70 percent of the employees completed the PHA.

Sampson’s work force is predominately men in the field and women in the office.

“Our office staff is really engaged in the wellness program,” Lucas said, “but it’s sometimes difficult to engage our field staff who are on their feet all day and don’t necessarily want to go home and exercise.”

To overcome that, Sampson’s wellness program began implementing simple, two-week challenges.

The water log challenge made employees aware of the importance of staying hydrated. Even if they failed miserably and only drank half of the water they were supposed to, as long as they filled out a log and turned it in, they were more aware of the need to drink more water, Lucas said.

The company also implemented a walking challenge and “Maintain It, Don’t Gain It,” a weight management challenge.  The office staff teamed up against the field staff. The field staff came out on top because they were on their feet and walking all day.

“What’s really striking about the Wellstream PHA is the culture piece,” Lucas said. “That makes employees think, ‘my company cares about me.’ It’s about creating that environment. Employees now think of a wellness program as a benefit, and that’s something wellness coordinators can take to their leadership.”

“Health risks can take several years to see change,” added Kathy Nellor, BCBSNE’s manager of wellness services. “The culture part can take only one year to see a change.”

Sampson’s wellness team also developed a wellness checkpoints program. At each job site a body fat analyzer, a blood pressure cuff and a scale were used to get employees familiar with their own numbers. Lucas said the personal touch where someone came to each job site really helped employees become engaged in the program.

“There are some people who don’t like the feedback,” Lucas said. “The results of the PHA can be eye-opening. Our program is about awareness. Our goal is to get our employees thinking ‘maybe I should go to the doctor’ or ‘now I understand what my doctor has been telling me.”

CEDARS, another Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska client, also earned a Governor’s Wellness Award this year. Read about that.