Following the inspiring momentum of the second annual Healthy Workplaces Extra Mile Awards, we took some time to speak with one of our nominees. BlueShore Financial is one of British Columbia’s largest credit unions. With over 340 employees across 12 branches and a head office, they understand the challenges of implementing accessible and inclusive workplace wellness initiatives. We had the pleasure of speaking with Marni Johnson, Senior Vice President of Human Resources and Communications, to hear BlueShore’s wellness story. Explore our interview with Marni to find out how workplace wellness programs enhance quality of life and help employees enjoy their work!

What advice would you give to a business to convince them of the benefits of workplace health and wellness?

Marni: It simply makes good business sense to take care of your people. They are your most valuable assets. An investment in workplace wellness shows employees that they’re valued and promotes team spirit and engagement. Since a large percentage of business healthcare costs are due to preventable conditions, taking a proactive approach to workplace health and wellness also reduces long term costs.

How would you define your organizational culture with regards to workplace health and wellness?

Marni: At BlueShore Financial we view our relationship with employees as a partnership. We do everything we can to facilitate their health and wellness. We emphasize the importance of only coming to work when healthy and encourage employees who aren’t well to stay home by offering unlimited sick days. We host weekly soccer games, paying for the rental of a local field, and invite employees to play outdoors. The CEO of BlueShore participates in the staff soccer games too!

We also regularly sponsor health and wellness related events in our communities, such as 10k runs and half marathons in Vancouver, Whistler, Squamish and other regions. We promote employee wellness at the same time by encouraging staff to participate in these initiatives by covering the registration fee.

To accommodate the health and wellness of diverse employee demographics, last year we started offering an annual stipend for wellness purchases. More than half of our staff took advantage of this initiative, buying running shoes, yoga classes, and everything in between. We give a great deal to our employees and the value of our investment is demonstrated through their energy, productivity, and commitment!

BlueShore Financial promotes a flexible work environment. How does this contribute to employee health and wellness?

Marni: A flexible work environment helps employees balance their work and personal interests. As in most workplaces, opportunities to work flexible hours differ depending on the role, but many of our employees are able to leave work early to go see their child’s school play, work out at a time that suits them, or take time to meet with an elder care resource. We know that making flexible work arrangements possible contributes to the physical and mental health of employees and their families.

What is your favourite workplace wellness initiative at BlueShore?

Marni: My favourite wellness initiative is our physical activity photo challenge. Every summer we ask employees to send in photos of their outdoor physical activity adventures and we post the photos on our employee intranet. The challenge is low cost and inclusive. You don’t have to be an athlete to participate, and you get to learn about your colleagues’ interests. I find it inspiring to see whole branches or departments of BlueShore doing the Grouse Grind together or tackling the Tough Mudder.

If you could give one piece of advice to another company around workplace health and wellness, what would it be?

Marni: Workplace health and wellness doesn’t have to cost a lot. There are two key ingredients: imagination and wellness champions. Find people who are passionate about health and wellness so that they approach initiatives with enthusiasm!

Improving the well-being of employees, clients, and communities is part of the core purpose of BlueShore Financial. Their workplace wellness initiatives are embraced by employees and supported by senior management. They see the value of investing in employee health, and encourage other businesses to take a proactive approach to workplace wellness. We appreciate BlueShore Financial sharing their insights into workplace health and wellness!