A Healthy, Happy City

The City of Maple Grove works with HealthPartners to make employees healthier.

A healthier environment for their employees is something the city of Maple Grove has been working on with HealthPartners since 2009. “Our partnership with HealthPartners has been very successful, and we have collaboratively worked together to provide our employees access to a number of tools that they can use to improve their health and overall well-being,” says Ann Marie Shandley, human resources director at the city of Maple Grove.

Through this, the employees at the city are given the option to participate in healthy programs to earn points, which ultimately turn into vacation days. To receive the first vacation day, they must participate in three main activities. One of those is the Online Health Assessment provided by HealthPartners. “This provides our employees with information about their at-risk health behaviors and what they can do to address those,” Shandley says. Then, they must complete a preventative screening, which can be done by their own physician or at an on-site health screening event, which is covered 100 percent by HealthPartners. “When we do the screening, the biometric numbers include blood pressure, glucose, cholesterol, HDL, LDL ratios and triglyceride, height, weight, waist circumference and body mass index,” says Joyce Edmeier, human resources assistant. The last activity they must participate in to receive the first vacation day is a wellness program evaluation, which allows employees to describe their experience. To receive a second day off, employees must participate in the activities. An example of an activity would be a 10,000 step challenge recorded on a tracking card.

The city also works on promoting healthy eating and exercise. They offer on-site exercise programs, such as Zumba and yoga for their employees to participate in. “We did have an employee 5K where we went around the trails, right around our building,” Edmeier says. For food, they did a fresh food Friday during the month of August and have several salad lunch-ins every year. “We have had a healthy chef come in and cook healthy food for our employees,” Edmeier says.

Abigail Wright, manager of well-being engagement at HealthPartners, feels that this type of opportunity is very important. “Many people spend a lot of their waking hours at work, so they have a unique opportunity to be able to create a culture and environment that helps their employees to make healthy choices,” she says. “And so, it’s a great opportunity to engage employees in a setting where they’re spending a lot of their time.” This is especially important for preventative care; catching health issues before an individual has any symptoms. “This cannot only save employers like the city of Maple Grove money in the long run, but it can also have a huge impact on the health and well-being of their employees and ultimately has the opportunity to save their lives at times.”     

It seems to be really helping employees in the long run, with 71 percent of the employees who participated in the program saying that they see an improvement in their health,” Wright says.

The city of Maple Grove and HealthPartners encourage their workers to be healthy and enjoy life. “There really is no better deal than this program, because you can get healthy and earn vacation time and it’s an all win and no lose deal,” Shandley says.