Benefits by Design Part 1  

Designed to be adaptive

Benefits by Design (BBD) provides group insurance and workplace solutions that focus on keeping people in good health since 1996. For decades, they have been developing and leveraging technologies to allow businesses to create people-focused workplaces with high employee engagement. Tina Thorne, HR Generalist at BBD shared with us how the value of adaptation guides them to design and implement various physical and mental wellness programs to create a workplace that gets it right. Below is part 1 of a 2 part blog series.

Can you tell me a little bit about your role with Benefits by Design and your role within your workplace wellness program? 

My role with Benefits by Design is an HR Generalist and for the past 5 years, I have been on our Health and Wellness Committee. I have always enjoyed providing different ideas to encourage employees to participate in our workplace wellness program and have become a healthy workplace champion. 

Benefits by Design drives innovation via new products and services and supports them with technology designed to make accessing information and using health benefits easy and quick.  How does your workplace wellness “Come to the Edge” and grow by trying new things?  Can you tell us an example of trying new things within your wellness program? 

Adaptation is a key component as we grow our workplace wellness program while we constantly try new things and look for feedback.  We have been able to not only add value to our internal workplace wellness program but also to our clients’ workplaces through the development of our wellness calendar.  This wellness calendar has allowed us to focus on wellness activities on top of benefits and to add additional value that directly impacts employee’s health.

One of the new things we’ve tried recently in our workplace wellness program is Laughter Yoga and it was a huge success! We were able to invite the instructor to our office through the introduction from one of our employees. The session had a great response rate and it sent out positive vibes throughout the office as participates’ laughter could be heart spreading out from the boardroom. Thanks to our Health and Wellness budget, this session was completely free for all participants.

How have you seen your workplace wellness program grow and adapt to employee needs? 

Along the path of program adaptation, we joined our 3 separate wellness committees in each office into one national committee. As we adapt to employee needs, working as a collective group allows us to remain consistent and continue to work together from across the country.   

Feedback from our employees is also important as it gives us the direction to adapt and understand what they find valuable.  We designed a survey that consists of 4 to 5 questions with metrics of 1-5 to collect feedback on our workplace wellness program.  It gives us a great snapshot into how employees feel about our current program and what they wish to do in the future.  As we learned from previous years surveys, due to scheduling not everyone is able to participate, so we offer multiple sessions at different times to encourage more participation in our wellness activities.   

Within our wellness program we also focus on 4 pillars – social, mental, physical and financial well-being.  Our goal is to touch on each pillar during each quarter. 

Can you tell us more about your focus on mental wellness this May and using the Not Myself Today Campaign?

The Not Myself Today Campaign has been our main workplace activity every May throughout the past 5 years. Campaign Champions are recruited to help with organizing, promoting and launching this campaign which helps with the overall success of the program. We recruit through our health and wellness committee and our internal intranet and anyone can be a champion for the program.  Most importantly, ensuring managers and leaders become champions further increases awareness within their teams.

Our mental wellness monthly activities are planned out a month prior through our health and wellness committee meetings. Canadian Mental Health Association provides us with the Not Myself Today Toolkit that has every detail of the campaign execution.  It is very easy to administer! 

How do you get involved in the campaign?  

It’s easy! We register at Canadian Mental Health Association website to receive their toolkit. Additional webinars guide us through the details on how to run the campaign along with some great tips. Throughout the year, the toolkit and its 52 tips give us flexibility to further focus on mental health outside of our campaign in May.

On May 1st we officially launched the campaign by sending out an email to all employees. Interactive and informational session are hosted every week. One of the examples of an interactive sessions is employees get to wear different mood buttons that expand on the emotions they are currently feeling that day.  It’s not only just happy feeling but also they’ve adapted the buttons to reflect different moods such as zen, peachy, frustrated or grateful.