IVGID GM’s Corner: Healthier workforce means a healthier district bottom line | SierraSun.com

IVGID GM’s Corner: Healthier workforce means a healthier district bottom line

Steve Pinkerton

Plenty of studies have shown that a healthy employee is a more productive employee — not to mention a more cost-effective employee for the District.

In 2007, the Board of Trustees endorsed the IVGID Employee Health and Wellness Initiative. This long term effort to sustain a healthier workforce has paid dividends at the front counter, back office and for the bottom line of the District and the community.

While rising employee health costs are a scourge across the country, IVGID’s health-conscious workforce has seen fewer punitive health care cost increases. Health care costs are approximately 15% of our personnel budget and 5% of our overall budget.

Having a healthier workforce means a better claims report from our insurer and less likelihood of a significant annual increase in our premiums. The last two years, we had no increases in our premium due to our low claims experience. Given that industry experts were predicting a 15% increase for us — that brought us in $272,000 under budget this year.

A healthier workforce also means fewer lost days to sick leave usage and more employees able to work at their maximum productivity on a regular basis. This translates into the need for fewer employees needed to cover shifts for ill employees.

Combine that with more productive employees, and you have cost savings from being able to function with a leaner workforce. With a total employee labor costs of $11 million — even a small savings is a large number.

So you can see that there is plenty of financial incentive for us to invest funds into healthier employees.

Speaking of leaner, our workforce is literally getting leaner — including yours truly!

IVGID now hosts a Weight Watchers Group at noon every Thursday in the Board Room. Our 20-plus member group has collectively dropped 360 pounds since we started up in early November. I’m responsible for a little over 10 percent of that drop — and will need to be taking a new photo for this column!

This group is open to the general public. We’d love to see more of our local citizenry attend. I can tell you the weight loss hasn’t been just cosmetic for me. All of my vitals are greatly improved and I feel great!

Another initiative that is open to the public is our 2016 Fitness Challenge: The Battle of the Bulge. Participants sign up for teams/platoons, pay a modest entry fee and with the encouragement of their platoon leader, attempt to burn off an extra 1,000 calories a week for eight weeks.

Participants are encouraged to attend special classes on health and wellness, along with fitness activities and individual workouts designed to burn those calories. Optional assistance is also available to provide nutrition education and support.

All participants will be entered into a raffle for a Grand Prize, receive a commemorative T-shirt and invitation to celebrate the final results.

The Battle began on February 9th. We have 171 participants, including 63 employees. Our teams have already burned off more than 1 million calories with four weeks to go. By the way, a special thanks to Prominence Health Care for donating $1400 towards this program.

The District’s Health and Wellness initiative also includes many other programs for IVGID staff and the public. In addition to our ongoing group fitness classes (37 per week), water fitness classes (14 per week), personal training options and ongoing dance classes, community members can expect to see Hot Yoga, Five Peaks in Five Weeks (summer hiking series), Introduction to Yoga (for first time yogis), Gong Immersion Sessions (for centering and balancing the body), and Yoga for Health workshops.

We will also be adding Arts and Culture programs, proven to reduce stress, including Plein Air (outdoor) art workshops and music classes.

You can go to our website and learn more about all the programs available to the public.

For IVGID employees, we also have an annual health and benefits fair where staff can interact with local health care providers and receive flu shots and test cholesterol levels, BMI and other health factors. We continue to see high employee attendance at the fairs which shows the growing interest in being a healthy workforce. Last year we had 115 people in attendance and a total of 97 participating in the flu shots and health screenings.

It all adds up to a healthier workforce, a healthier community and better bottom line to our budget.

And it is the right thing to do as well!

Visit bit.ly/1RP3Svm and bit.ly/1Lr9dwq to access the Battle of the Bulge and the District’s Fitness Health & Wellness pages.

“GM’s Corner” is a recurring column from Incline Village General Improvement Distinct General Manager Steve Pinkerton, who will discuss issues and offer updates regarding various district matters. He may be reached for comment at steve_pinkerton@ivgid.org.

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