The second annual Healthy Workplaces Extra Mile Awards celebrated BC businesses that champion workplace health and wellness! We connected with the winner of Top Senior Management Support, Westin Bear Mountain Golf Resort and Spa, to understand the benefits and challenges of implementing workplace wellness. The success of Westin’s workplace wellness program is a credit to their senior management team’s enthusiasm and commitment. We had the pleasure of discussing workplace wellness with Jennifer Burgin, Westin’s Human Resources Manager. Her anecdotes testified to the life-changing effects of workplace wellness programs. Read Westin’s wellness story to learn about how senior management support empowers employees!

What is the most rewarding organizational outcome of promoting workplace health and wellness?

Jennifer: Everything about workplace health and wellness is rewarding. With such a large resort and so many different departments we have groups of employees that never meet or don’t see each other often. Organizing events like group hikes, runs, or yoga brings people together and allows them to pursue a common goal. The camaraderie and team spirit that these events create lasts for months.

What advice would you give to businesses around workplace health and wellness?

Jennifer: Start small. It’s easy to get ahead of yourself and think that you need a massive plan to implement workplace health and wellness, but you can start with a single event. A step challenge is a good first choice because it doesn’t require too much planning. Once people see the benefits of workplace wellness they’re driven to see what else can be done. Get feedback from your employees and include them in the process of planning wellness initiatives. Welcome staff suggestions for wellness activities. If someone steps up and says they want to organize an initiative, let them take ownership of their idea.

Describe your organizational culture with regards to workplace health and wellness.

Jennifer: Workplace health and wellness starts at the top. Since I started working at Westin, the senior management team has shown a keen interest in workplace wellness so we have support in developing and promoting initiatives. We also have a social committee that plans health and wellness events. They’ve organized volleyball and golf tournaments. They also incorporate health and wellness into social events. For instance, they added an Amazing Race theme to our summer barbeque and staff look forward to racing around the mountain with their colleagues every year.

Describe the personal significance of your workplace health and wellness program. Is there a particular initiative that resonated with you?

Jennifer: Westin’s commitment to creating a smoke-free workplace was very exciting for me because I have personally lost someone to lung cancer. In addition to implementing a smoke-free policy, we have a partnership with the QuitNow program and we’ve held group and individual meetings to support people through the journey of smoking cessation. Knowing that I might have helped save someone from developing a smoking related illness by promoting this program means a great deal.

Westin Bear Mountain Golf Resort and Spa enacts the philosophy of workplace health and wellness in daily routines, social events, and workplace policies. With the support of senior management, employees are encouraged to get involved with wellness. Their workplace wellness initiatives have brought together people from different departments and demographics, supporting healthy living and creating lasting friendships and memories! We are very grateful to Westin Bear Mountain Golf Resort and Spa for sharing their perspective on workplace health and wellness!